Fire – wind – a dove. These are traditional and scripture based images of the Holy Spirit whose founding presence in the church we celebrate on this great feast of Pentecost. Perhaps it can benefit us to see if we have allowed the presence of the Spirit in our own lives to produce the fruit that these images call to mind. Fire stands for passion, passion for the good news that Christ brings to us, passion for the kingdom He came to establish. Tradition often speaks of being ‘enflamed’ with the Holy Spirit. If we are on fire for the Gospel it means that being a witness for Christ in all that we say and do is the first priority in our lives. When we act in our families, when we engage in conversations at work, when we are at play with our friends, do people see clearly that we belong to the Lord and are they inspired by us to try to live their own discipleship more fully? Wind stands for power, the divine power of God that enables us to be faithful even in difficult situations. The martyrs of the Church give testimony to this power that enabled them even to give their lives for the Lord. None of us escapes difficulties in life. We face illness, the loss of a loved one, the need to find a new job, the lure of various sorts of temptations. Do we believe that the Spirit desires to see us through such frightening and terrible times? Do we call upon the Spirit at such moments, knowing that we cannot make it by ourselves? God never forces himself upon us. I believe that many loads would be lighter if only we called upon the Spirit for assistance. The Dove is a symbol for peace, the peace that Jesus promised to us and wants for us. That divine peace is much more than an absence of conflict, important as that is for everyone. Divine peace is an experience of well being and joy, an experience that all is well with me and mine. That sort of peace is truly a gift for which we need to pray. In an anxious and harried age like our own we need to slow down and experience all the good with which we have been blessed. We need to experience the truth that we are in the hands of a loving Father who takes care of us. Only then will we find that inner peace for which we all long. We need to invite the Spirit of God to lead us to that place deep in our heart where we can be given that peace.
Pentecost is a wonderful day for us. It is God’s promise to always be close to us in our journey of life. It is Christ’s pledge to enable us to joyfully live as His disciples. And so we pray “Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful with your divine life”.