Pentecost is still far off, but somehow I can already feel its approach. You can almost hear in the far distance an approaching roar from above. In today’s Gospel, the Lord says to his disciples during his final discourse at the Last Supper:
I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
St. Seraphim of Sarov said that the entire spiritual life of the Christian can “succinctly be summarized thus: the acquisition of the Holy Spirit.” The mission of the Spirit, sent by Father and Son to re-create creation through the priestly mediation of redeemed humanity, is to make present and active in the world the limitless mercy of God that flows from the open side of dead-and-risen Christ. Intimacy with Christ begins in our intimacy with the Spirit who continues to incarnate the Word in us, Christ’s mystical Body.
Colleen Nixon once sang Cardinal Mercier’s prayer to the Holy Spirit, and since that day her voice has (blessedly) haunted my prayer. Listen to her here:
In honor of the Spirit, Treasury of All Blessings, I will leave you with the words of the “lyre of the Spirit,” St. Symeon the New Theologian. May God grant to all of us the grace of his Holy Spirit!
What is this awesome mystery that is taking place within me?
I can find no words to express it:
My poor hand is unable to capture it,
In describing the praise and glory that belong
To the One who is above all praise,
And who transcends every word…
My intellect sees what has happened,
But it cannot explain it;
It can see, and wishes to explain,
But can find no word that suffices,
For what it sees is invisible and entirely formless,
Simple, completely uncompounded,
Unbounded in its awesome greatness.
What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as One,
Received not in essence but by participation.
It is just as if you lit a flame from a live flame:
It is the entire flame you receive.
What point is there in trying to explain all of this to you,
Or trying to make you understand it all?
If you yourself have not felt it by personal experience,
You will be unable to know it.