Suddenly there came from the sky a noise…

pentecost2By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

Imagine hiding in a room with your friends, fearing for your lives. In grief. In desolation. Lost without the man you followed. “Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house. Then appeared tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. A strong, violent wind and tongues of fire resting on each one’s head.”

Imagine experiencing a fire that didn’t burn but enflamed; a wind that didn’t destroy but empowered.

What are we to make of all this?

Wind and fire have been signals of God’s appearance throughout the Old Testament. In Exodus when God meets Moses and the people “peals of thunder and lightning and a heavy cloud over the mountain” occur. The Lord descends in a cloud of smoke as the mountain trembles. (Ex: 19)

We are conscious, at a deep level, of a conversion taking place. The fire and wind are wake up calls we experience in our hearts to work for peace and justice. They are also the quiet hunches, the small still voice, the thought intrusions of the Spirit calling us to awareness of God’s presence and to the Spirit’s gifts and fruits.

The feast of Pentecost is the Church’s reminder that we have the presence of God at all times. That the Spirit is alive in us, calling us to a new level of transformation, to a new sense of becoming and belonging  to the Church, to the Body of Christ.

We experience a new awareness of Oneness! Our senses and psyches call us to “Go tell the world that Peace will be restored, the hungry will be fed, all people will have homes. Come Holy Spirit, we pray, renew the face of the earth!

The Latin hymn Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit) is the “Sequence” (the hymn before the Gospel) for Pentecost Sunday.

Together, let us pray:

Heal our wounds, our strength renew.;

On our dryness pour your dew;

Bend the stubborn heart and will;

Melt the frozen warm the chill.

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