By Father Benjamin Alforque, M.S.C., V.F.
Parochial Vicar, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside
In the Sundays of May leading to the Feast of the Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit, we shall devote our reflections on the Holy Spirit, and the role of the Holy Spirit in the History of Salvation and in our human life.
When I was in first year high school in the seminary, in 1965, I was introduced to the devotion of the Holy Spirit through a beautiful prayer which I continue to pray to this day. In my younger days, I used this prayer to pass through easy and difficult exams. In my adult life as priest, I say this prayer to prepare for my papers and homilies. I do pray this every time I sit on the presider’s chair, prior to the proclamation of the Gospel. I use this prayer in difficult and decisive moments in my life.
The prayer is familiar to you. It is entitled: COME, HOLY SPIRIT!
Invocation: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Leader: Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created.
Response: And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. O, God, who has taught the hearts of Your faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Immediately, we notice in this beautiful prayer the human invitation to the Holy Spirit to come to our human hearts so that our hearts will be fired with the Holy Spirit’s Love, not with our human way of loving. Then, the prayer continues, now asking God to send this Holy Spirit of His so that creation occurs, and the renewal of all creation takes place by His divine initiative. The concluding prayer invokes God as teacher of our hearts “by the light of the Holy Spirit”, that this Spirit is God’s gift to make us men and women of wisdom (“mind”). Yet, notwithstanding our imperfect hearts and minds, we have reasons to rejoice: we, in the totality of our being – mind, body, spirit – do receive the consolation of the Holy Spirit. And all these are possible only because of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Wonderful! But who is the Holy Spirit? And what is His role in our lives?