May 20, 2018

Friends, 

I’m not convinced that any of us (including me) truly appreciate what it means to have God’s Spirit dwelling within us. If someone asked me what the human spirit is all about, I would say it is the will to live and to overcome anything that threatens us. That spirit is innate and is also what drives us to protect others from harm. That spirit can be broken and I’m sure we have all met people who because of life’s circumstances are no longer able to care for themselves, or have lost the will to continue living. I cannot put myself in anyone else’s place. I admit I’ve been privileged to have a wonderful life and I am grateful that my spirit has been damaged, broken or destroyed over the years.

Now getting back to the Holy Spirit whose presence in the world and the Church we celebrate this weekend (Pentecost). There is no doubt that God’s Spirit has been in the world from the beginning. In fact, I describe the Holy Spirit as the presence of God in the world. The question becomes how do we recognize that Spirit and how do we celebrate the Spirit’s presence? Because we are human we usually celebrate with rituals. For example as Catholics we welcome the Holy Spirit in our lives at Baptism, we recognize the Holy Spirit’s gifts at Confirmation, and we celebrate the Holy Spirit’s presence at Pentecost.

I can’t speak for anyone else but I have to admit that I am always aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life and that assures me of God’s unconditional love for me. That Spirit challenges me to choose good, make positive decisions, have a wonderful outlook, lead by example and love life. Because I also know the Holy Spirit is present in everyone else. I am challenged to respect them, honor their choices, embrace our differences, listen to their stories and celebrate their accomplishments.

Are there people who challenge my outlook by their negative behavior? Absolutely. But in these situations I believe their lifestyle (violence, prejudice, hatred) is a significant sign that they have no idea about the Holy Spirit’s presence in their world. As a result, their lives can be very self-centered. If they were to become aware of the Holy Spirit and her ability to transform their lives, it would immediately become evident to all around them.

This can happen and does happen every day. That’s why I never give up on anyone. That, too, is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Happy Pentecost!
Enjoy life!
Fr. Coyne

P.S. Did he refer to the Holy Spirit as her?

 

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