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RECOGNIZING THE VOICE OF GOD – AND RESPONDING

Father Francis's picture
Solemnity of Pentecost

We celebrated the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven last Sunday. But after the Ascension where did Our Blessed Mother and the Apostles go? They went back to Jerusalem to prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit. In the next nine days they were rapt in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to come down upon them.

Jesus had told them the Holy Spirit would comfort and befriend them. He would recall to their minds everything Jesus had tried to teach them in the previous three years. Among His last instructions Jesus said, “And now I am sending down to you what the Father has promised. Stay in the city then, until you are clothed with the Power from on high”. (Lk. 24:49) It was important that they should prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit which would have a greater effect on their lives if they longed for this.

Since the feast of the Ascension how well have we prepared? Have we looked forward to it? If not our response to His Coming today will have less effect than if we had prayed to Him several times a day since the Ascension and longed for it. Do we not enjoy a holiday more if we have looked forward to it?

Let me tell you a story. At a military base the following notice appeared on the bulletin board, “A telegraph specialist - someone specialized in Morse Code is needed. Those interested in the job report to the Captain’s office tomorrow at 09 hours.” The next day that room was filled to capacity. There was a quiet buzz of cooped-up humanity. Then suddenly came the sound of dots and dashes from a telegraph machine somewhere and a soldier walked into the Captain’s office. He was asked what made him enter and he replied that he had heard Morse Code saying, ‘This is your Captain. If you’re reading this message, come into my office immediately.’ He was praised for listening and responding to the message – and given the job.

That story has a good message for us today. If we are not careful the noise of the world around us will mean we fail to hear - like the waiting soldiers - the "Captain" who is the Holy Spirit speaking to us.

All of us through our Baptism and Confirmation are temples of the Holy Spirit, but is He lying dormant within us? The Holy Spirit wants to make us more like Christ, but it is up to us to activate Him. Today He wants to inspire, guide and teach us, but are we listening? Or are we like the soldiers who were wrapped up in themselves and their own world and missed the message?

Today calls us to a new beginning – today is Pentecost – the day when our Blessed Lady and the first disciples were given the spectacular gift of the indwelling of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit changed the disciples from being weaklings into brave witnesses for Christ. He fired them to bring people to Christ. It is no less spectacular for us – we have been given the same gift and we are called to LISTEN, to hear, to know the message and to RESPOND in obedience to what we hear.

A day should never go by without us praying to the Holy Spirit in our morning and evening prayers. We could start the day by saying, “Give me the strength Holy Spirit, to do the work of this day, and grant that at its close I may be worthy of Your trust in me." At night we could say, “Holy Spirit, how did we get on?” Note the reference to you and I! We should be constantly thanking the Holy Spirit for any good we do for we cannot even take the first small step towards Heaven without His Help, as Saint Paul says, “You cannot say the name of Jesus without the help of the Holy Spirit”.

Today, how important it is that we should spend some time in quiet prayer, thinking and loving the Holy Spirit for He is the God of Love. If we want to know how to love, the Holy Spirit is the one to teach us. Such quiet reflection is time well spent and not a waste of time.

Heavenly Father, and Jesus Your Son, we thank you for the gift of Your Holy Spirit. May we listen to His still small voice within us and to respond to what we hear.

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