“The Holy Spirit came to remain with the Church forever. This is the promise of Jesus Himself. He dwells in the Church permanently and unfailingly, performing in it without ceasing, His action of life-giving and sanctification. He establishes the Church infallibly in the truth. It is He Who makes the Church blossom forth with a marvelous supernatural fruitfulness…” (Blessed Marmion[i])
Every parish has many gifts from the Holy Spirit that aren’t always visible to the natural sight but quite visible to the heart. Another parish may have its gifts manifest differently, more visibly. Unfortunately, sometimes people turn their back to the gifts given in their own parish and wish for those given to others. From afar, their own parish would be seen as a bright light attractive to the one seeking the Lord. Yet as we sit in that very light of our own parish, we don’t see the light Gifted to us because we are gazing elsewhere at the light given to others. The light in every parish is of one and the same Spirit. When we dispose ourselves to that light, we become lamps set “on a stand so that those who enter can see the light” (Luke 8:16).
I pray not only for them but for those who believe in Me through their word so that they may all be one as you, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us. (John 17:20-21)
In this prayer, Jesus was beginning to establish the Church. We see the one Spirit runs through us all. It’s no surprise then that the week before Pentecost, God through His Spouse the Holy Catholic Church speaks to us from John’s Gospel chapter 17: the Last Discourse.
Keep them in Your name that you have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are. (John 17:11)
And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may be brought to perfection as one. (John 17:22-23)
As the Spirit is the Love between the Father and the Son, Jesus ends with:
The Love with which you Loved Me may be in them and I in them. (v. 26)
He’s not talking metaphorically about a psychological brotherhood or familial unity. He is talking about His Spirit actually being in us literally and by that, bringing us into the Trinity literally. And transforming us.
It’s a basic equation: You in Me (God in Jesus) + I in them (Jesus in us) = God in us.
We experienced the beginning of this with the Ascension:
“Heaven is not a place beyond the stars, but something much greater, something that requires far more audacity to assert: Heaven means that man now has a place in God. The basis for this assertion is the interpenetration of humanity and divinity in the crucified and exalted man Jesus. Christ, the man who is in God and eternally one with God, is at the same time God’s abiding openness to all human beings.
Thus Jesus himself is what we call “heaven”; heaven is not a place but a person, the person of him in whom God and man are forever and inseparably one. And we go to heaven and enter into heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into him. In this sense, “ascension into heaven” can be something that takes place in our everyday lives…
For the disciples, the “ascension” was not what we usually misinterpret it as being: the temporary absence of Christ from the world. It meant rather his new, definitive, and irrevocable presence by participation in God’s royal power.” (Pope Benedict XVI[ii])
And now the promised advocate comes. We have the joy of celebrating Pentecost this coming Sunday. The Sanctifier comes to complete Jesus’ work. It’s all about those 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit infused into our soul that He will grow in us if we simply let Him: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety & fear of the Lord. They are the crux of the spiritual life.
During this time, when the Heavens open and the Love of God descends upon us, let us offer up into prayer especially for Pope Francis, all clergy and religious, and the worldwide Church.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful
and enkindle in them the fire of Your Love.