Caitlan Rangel notices the Holy Spirit’s role in the feast of the Presentation and sees the Spirit’s same creative pattern in our lives.
When I think of how the Holy Spirit has worked in my life, the word “creative” is the first that comes to mind. The Spirit is a creative force, moving forth from the mouth of God to make something new and bring life to barren places. The Holy Spirit works in us, leading us to participate in God’s plan. The Spirit works outside of us, weaving God’s plan of goodness around us and for us in ways that are bafflingly beautiful and mysterious.
The gospel reading for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Luke 2:22-40) mentions the Holy Spirit three times in a span of consecutive three lines. The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon (Luke 2:25). The Holy Spirit revealed God’s plan to Simeon (Luke 2:26). The Holy Spirit leads Simeon into the Temple to Jesus (Luke 2:27).
It can be easy to make Scripture a story of “us and them.” We are here now and they were there then—thousands of years ago. I’m typing in my home while my children watch a movie and Simeon was in the Temple with Jesus.
But, when we do this, we forget that the Spirit of God is eternal and always creating. We forget that the Spirit who St. Luke mentions three times in three lines in reference to Simeon is the same Spirit who works with, in, and through us now. Different times, same Spirit on the move.
So, where can we see the Holy Spirit’s pattern in Simeon’s life at play in our lives? Where can we recognize that the Holy Spirit is upon us? That the Spirit reveals God’s plans to us? That the Spirit leads us?
As a 16-year-old, I was not excited for my Confirmation. I wasn’t against it, I just didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
When I walked up and the Bishop marked my head with chrism and said, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” you better believe I was shocked when I felt something like a fire well up inside of me.
Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles on Pentecost and we receive that same Spirit now. We receive the Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2-3; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10). We belong to a family of many others whom the Holy Spirit has been upon and dwelt within. Different times, same Spirit.
Reveals to Us
Maybe we don’t think of ourselves as people God reveals things to. No flashy visions or thundering voices from heaven happening over here.
But God does give us glimpses of His plan, often just enough for us to see the next step on our journey. The Holy Spirit can speak to us in words of a trusted spiritual advisor or friend. The Holy Spirit can illuminate God’s desires for us through the words of a blog post or book. The Holy Spirit can reveal God’s will for us in the absolutely ordinary moments of our lives—tending to a whiny child, bringing our spouse a cup of coffee, making sacrifices to provide for our family. Obedience to our vocation in the present moment allows for a real flourishing of the life of the Spirit in us because it reveals and grows God’s sacrificial love in us.
The Holy Spirit leads us into the presence of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit helps us to pray—to listen to the voice of God—and then gives us the grace to actually live lives oriented toward growing in virtue and holiness.
Every time we make space to pray, the Spirit leads us into the presence of Jesus. Every time we come to church to be near the tabernacle or to come to adoration, the Holy Spirit leads us into the presence of Jesus. When we discipline our children to love and teach, forgive our spouses quickly, help our neighbors in tangible ways, the Holy Spirit leads us into the presence of Jesus.
When we have the eyes to see and hearts to receive the truth that the same Holy Spirit of the Presentation is with us now, we can become a Presentation People—people who recognize that the Spirit is upon us, revealing God’s plan to us, and leading us. And then, with Simeon, we can embrace and bless God for his goodness in our lives.
About the Author
Caitlan Rangel is a wife and homeschooling mama of four. After years of struggling with disordered eating, motherhood has been one of God’s greatest instruments of healing. Caitlan creates habits to raise a family with a healthy and holy approach to food. Read her Rest & Rise newsletter to receive bites of nourishment for parenting, restoring health, and living with God. Follow Caitlan on Instagram @caitlan_rangel.