Blessed Pentecost to all! Thank God that in many places for the first time in months churches will be open again for public celebration of the Eucharist on this day: I believe in Providence, not coincidence! Our hearts need Holy Communion and a renewal of the gifts of the Holy Spirit now! Our Church and our world need a new Pentecost now.
Liturgical celebration is living memory: What we celebrate is renewed, made present to us. We participate in it. Pope Francis recently said, “Christianity is the religion that continually celebrates God’s ‘manifestation’, that is, his epiphany … God who does not remain hidden, but rather offers his friendship to mankind.” (Catechesis, May 13, 2020). This year we need Pentecost! Yet every year when we come to Pentecost I, and perhaps you, too, approach with a seemingly elusive longing: Lord, just how do I receive your Spirit? How I so much long for you … We really need you now!
How to be renewed in the Spirit? I offer a suggestion.
As the disciples were gathered in the upper room with Our Lady, there was a rush of wind … then tongues of fire appeared (Acts 2). As young Bernadette Soubirous was gathering firewood on a damp winter day by a cave on the edge of the village of Lourdes, she heard a rush of wind (though the trees did not move!). She saw a brilliant yet soothing light in a cleft of the rock, from which an unimaginably beautiful young woman emerged. Bernadette was terrified, but when the young lady led her to make the sign of the Cross and they prayed the Rosary together, all fear disappeared and an relationship began.
A few months ago I returned to America after 3 blessed years of service at Lourdes. How many hours I have spent in the Grotto simply putting myself in the place where Bernadette saw our Holy Mother, to let her look at me too – and to draw me into her relationship with her Son. OUR LADY WANTS TO SHARE WITH YOU THAT MOMENT, HER EXPERIENCE: “THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL COME UPON YOU AND THE POWER OF THE MOST HIGH WILL OVERSHADOW YOU” (Luke 1:35).
You don’t need to go to Lourdes, though! If you do get the chance sometime, don’t miss it! But for now: go to a Lourdes grotto near your home, or sit in your church near the Blessed Sacrament and the Mary altar. Find a quiet corner of your home. The webpage of the Lourdes Sanctuary has a 24 hour webcam!
Do whatever helps you to be still on the outside and on the inside for as much time as you can to put yourself in that place where this beautiful Mother can look at you and you can open your heart to an experience of the Holy Spirit as she shared with the disciples that day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.
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Come Holy Spirit!
Copyright 2020 Fr. James Phalan, C.S.C.
About the Author
Father James Phalan, C.S.C. is a Catholic priest, member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, and the National Director of Family Rosary. He served as a missionary for many years as part of the Family Rosary team, travelling the globe to help people come to Jesus through Mary. Now he is happy to be serving back at home in the USA!