Posts Tagged 'Holy Spirit'

Thou Rushing Winds That Are So Strong

How many different names we have for the Holy Spirit: the Advocate, the Holy Ghost, the Breath of God, the Paraclete. These name but a few, and as we celebrated Pentecost this past weekend, I sat with the image of the Holy Spirit and tried to pinpoint just exactly how it is that I understand this Third Person of the Trinity. I sat praying yesterday morning in our small chapel during a Eucharistic Holy Hour, and since the windows happened to be open, the wind chimes outside occasionally offered their gentle reminders of a light summer breeze gracing the morning. It occurred to me that those wind chimes and the song they sing are the perfect illustration of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.

When I pray to God, speaking my heart and listening for the beating of his, it is sometimes easy to wonder if I’m just talking to myself or if my imagination isn’t creating the “insights” I would like to attribute to the Divine Being. Those temptations of doubt and skepticism can easily lead to discouragement, distrust, even depression. But then, the gentle sound of those chimes wafts through the air, reminding me that “the wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going,” and just so it is with the movements of the Holy Spirit. (John 3:8) There may be no explanation, no predictability, no scientific rendering of the pulses of that wind, but those chimes wait in readiness to “catch it” when it comes through and ring out their conviction that “Yes, he is here! Yes, he is real!” And although he may be gone by the time I notice his presence, I can never doubt that his presence is real…for music of that presence continues to echo through my ears, even long after the last note has sounded.

“You are dirt.”

“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Taken out of context, the traditional formula said on Ash Wednesday can sound ridiculous.

We spend countless hours seeking to improve our self image, which is why we shower children with praise, hoping to provide them with a positive self-esteem. Then with one striking blow, the Church undoes all that work. Or do we?

A gentle reminder about humanity’s origin may be the greatest gift of the Lenten season. The Church takes you right back to the beginning. Man is made out of the dust of the earth, and he is nothing until God breathes his spirit into his nostrils (Gen 2:7). You are nothing without God’s Spirit. That is not a put down. It is liberating. You are a jar of clay (2 Cor. 4:7). It is not about you, but what you hold. Like a clay oil lamp, allow yourself to be filled with the Spirit and be set on fire. Then your light will shine for all to see (Mt 5:16). What is it they will see? The light; not the lamp. In a world that puts a lot of pressure on how you look and what you do, the Church reminds you that it is not about you, but what you hold. See, it is good to be dirt.

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