Lindsey Weishar; ‘Come, Holy Spirit!’ — make room, be attuned to presence in us, others

The Holy Spirit, traditionally depicted as a dove, is pictured in a church's stained-glass window. (CNS/Crosiers)

As we approach Pentecost, the birthday of the church, the third person of the Trinity has been on my mind. What a delightful, indescribable being, and what a powerhouse! The Catechism says this about the Holy Spirit:

Now God’s Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit who ‘has spoken through the prophets’ makes us hear the Father’s Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the movement by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. (CCC 687)

“We know him only in the movement.” I’m reminded of what I only heard rumored that some adults would tell high school students dancing too closely at Homecoming: “Make room for the Holy Spirit.” Though I pray no adult has actually said this in this context, I love that call to make room for the Holy Spirit in our own lives.

MAKING ROOM FOR THE SPIRIT’S VOICE

How do we make room for this Person’s voice in the noise of our days? How to let Him be all that he is — the still, small voice, the rushing wind, the tongues of flames, the speaking of different languages, the comforter, the advocate, power and peace?

Poets have tried with a limited lexicon to capture elements of the Holy Spirit’s movements in our lives and in the world. For example, the writer of “Veni, Sancte Spiritus,” the sequence we hear before the Gospel on Pentecost, saw the Holy Spirit as one who brings refreshment and consolation to the tired, saddened heart.

In our labor, rest most sweet;

Grateful coolness in the heat;

Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,

Shine within these hearts of yours,

And our inmost being fill!  

I also think of the end of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem, “God’s Grandeur,” where the Holy Spirit heralds hope:

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

 World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

 

MOMENTS THAT STIR THE SOUL TO WONDER
I think, too, of the poetry of moments that stir the soul to wonder. I stumbled upon one of these moments a few weeks back. A friend had asked me to be a server for the bachelorette dinner party she was giving. But this wasn’t any ordinary dinner. It was a traditional nine course dinner with different plates for salad and bread and filet mignon. There were salad forks and water and wine glasses.

What I noticed as I brought out the different dishes was the wonder. The meal was special first and foremost because of all the thought my friend put into it. For example, one of the dessert courses was angel food cake. My friend instructed me to go out into the front yard and cut a bowlful of magenta-colored blooms to put on the cake. The effect was breathtaking. This was the kind of meal that the women present both delighted in and learned to eat as they went. This dinner called for slow eating, for more than an hour around a table, for deeper conversation. The Holy Spirit was certainly present at this event, inspiring the delight and awe at each course.

And this, I think, is akin to what the Holy Spirit does when we make room. He reveals to us the depth and breadth of our lives — the places of joy and the places of poverty. He comes with healing for the wounded places, and inspiration to share our moments of light with others.

“THE SOUL’S MOST WELCOME GUEST”

As we will hear on Sunday, the Holy Spirit is “the soul’s most welcome guest.” He’s the one Jesus promised will “guide you to all truth.” (John 16:13b)

We make room by simply inviting him — some like to begin their time of daily prayer with the words, “Come, Holy Spirit!” — and by being attentive to his movement within us. How beautiful to meditate that the Holy Spirit is, as the Catechism tells us, “The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts.” (CCC 689)

May we be ever more attuned to the Spirit’s presence within us and others, and his guidance on our journeys of faith.

LINDSEY WEISHAR is a poet, freelance writer, and native of Champaign who has a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is executive assistant to the president at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. Write to her at lweisharwriting@gmail.com .

 

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