Watching her kids play at the beach, Ivonne J. Hernandez reflects on how we often resist the Holy Spirit’s invitation to go to deeper waters.
When Jesus comes into us, He brings with Him all the fruits and flowers of Paradise. What are they? I do not know; we do not see them, but we smell their fragrance. He brings us His glorified merits and the sword that vanquished Satan; His weapons that we may use them, and His merits that we may add our own to them by making them fructify. The Eucharist is the ladder not of Jacob but of Jesus, Who continually ascends to Heaven and descends therefrom for our sake. He is unceasingly coming towards us. (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
St Peter Julian tells us that through the Eucharist, Jesus is continually bringing us all the “fruits and flowers of Paradise.” What are these, if not the Holy Spirit Himself? Jesus said He had to ascend to the Father so that the Father could send the Spirit to us, and “when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth” (John 16:13).
I’ve been staying at the beach for the last few days, and, as I watch the waves crash with their beautiful symphony of sounds at the shore, I see in the distance, in the deep, a calmness that seems constant and unmovable. On the surface, it appears that the beach is much more interesting than the deep waters, which seem either dull or dangerous.
I look down at the kids playing on the waves with their surfboards. They gather their boards and swim to the back, waiting to catch the next wave, as they laugh with glee when they feel the power of the wave pushing them back to the shore. They do this repeatedly until they are utterly exhausted and come out of the water to rest.
We can do this in our spiritual lives. We can keep ourselves completely engaged in the shallow waters where the spirit of the world and the Spirit of God collide. Here the anxieties and worries of life have great force and can knock us off our feet. If we spend enough time there, maybe we get good at riding the waves and fool ourselves, thinking that these temporary highs are all there is.
We end up flat with our faces on the sand and wonder how much longer we can endure this. The spiritual life seems too hard. We sometimes look at the distance and see the peaceful waters as “deep calls to deep in the roar of your torrents, and all your waves and breakers sweep over me” (Psalm 42:8). We want to respond, but we are afraid. What if I get tired of swimming and drown? What if I drift and never find a resting place?
This must be how the apostles felt on the morning of Pentecost. Even after they had experienced the Risen Christ, they were afraid. They gathered with Mary and prayed behind locked doors, waiting for the Promise of the Father. After the Holy Spirit was manifested at Pentecost, the apostles lost all their fear and had everything they needed to fulfill their mission.
It is the same for us today. When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus brings His Spirit down with Him to abide in the depths of our hearts. It is here where “deep calls to deep,” where “the one who searches hearts knows what the intention of the Spirit is because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will” (Romans 8:27). If we allow it, the Spirit of Truth will guide us into those deep tranquil waters, where we can be transformed and have no more fear.
Let us then prepare for each Eucharistic encounter in the same way the apostles prepared for Pentecost, by devoting “themselves with one accord to prayer, together … with Mary … all in one place together” (Acts 1:14, 2:1). Let us be awake and ready, for “the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).
Sequence for Pentecost
Veni, Sancte Spiritus
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Copyright 2021 Ivonne J. Hernandez
Images (from top): Sebastian Voortman (2016), Pexels; Copyright 2020 Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved.
This article was published first on Elisheba Blog - ELISHEBA HOUSE
About the Author
Ivonne J. Hernandez is a Catholic wife, mother, writer, and speaker. She pursued a career in Computer Engineering before becoming a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to her three boys. She is a Lay Associate of the Blessed Sacrament, president of Elisheba House (non-profit Catholic media apostolate), and author of The Rosary: Eucharistic Meditations. For more information visit ElishebaHouse.com. Follow Ivonne on Facebook and Instagram.