Abiding presence of the Holy Spirit inspires courage, joy, movement within us

My Vocation is Love l Lindsey Weishar

A few years back, I used this space to talk about goodbyes. We’ve once again arrived at May, a month of many transitions. This was the time of year grade-school me loathed to leave my teachers and move to the next grade. I deeply desired to stay with my current teacher and class forever. I wished the same thing about our parish priests and religious Sisters, who all too often seemed to be reassigned to other parishes and ministries.

As an adult, I’m not much more comfortable with goodbyes. I think the general culture isn’t too fond of them either, as my Aldi self-checkout station recently reminded me. As it gave me my receipt, the following message popped up on the screen: “Goodbyes are awkward. So, we’ll say see you next time.”

Goodbyes can certainly be uncomfortable. They touch upon the tension departures create for us this side of heaven. I began writing this piece on Ascension Thursday, and can only imagine what it must have been like for the apostles to watch their Lord ascend. I’m sure it was glorious, and Jesus did say he’d send the Advocate to them, but I’m sure there was an element of bittersweet in their hearts. He was leaving them to go to the Father. He told them, “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). But what would his abiding presence look like now that he was no longer walking alongside them and breaking bread with them?

The Gospels tell us that the apostles went about proclaiming Jesus with joy after the Ascension. I don’t think their joy eliminates the possibility that the apostles also felt that very human sense of the loss of their Lord, teacher, and friend. I imagine that this movement toward proclaiming Christ joyfully was the power of the foretold Advocate, giving them the strength, courage, and joy to proclaim the Lord they could no longer see.


He desires to come to every heart, to fill us with the Word. May we grow in sensitivity and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit’s movements in our lives. May we recognize in the Spirit’s presence God’s abiding hello.

This Pentecost, I’ve been hearing the invitation to meditate on the Holy Spirit as Consoler, as the light that fills even the dark, empty corners of our beings. In sending his Holy Spirit, Christ continues his communion with his people. Though we know the magnificent story in Acts where the upper room was suddenly filled with brilliance at the Holy Spirit’s descent, our own lives also bear patterns of the Holy Spirit’s influence.

In his book, “In the School of the Holy Spirit,” Father Jacques Philippe says, “The Holy Spirit is rightly called the Consoler. When the touches of the Spirit, enlightening us and impelling us to act, are well received, they pour into our hearts not just light and strength but solace and peace, that often fills us with consolation.”

I don’t know about you, but I find it easy to forget the Holy Spirit. This third person of the Trinity seems beyond comprehension, as ephemeral as breath and flame, and yet, it is he who in union with the Father and the Son continues to inspire, guide, and abide in our Church today. The Catechism highlights a profound truth of the Spirit’s identity:

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).

I love this reminder that the Holy Spirit inspires movement within us. His movement weaves itself throughout the Old and New Testaments — filling Elijah with zeal, inspiring David’s Psalms, inviting Mary’s Magnificat and Zechariah’s prophecy. He fills John the Baptist and Christ, and plays a primary role in Acts as the early Church grows. And the beautiful thing is, he’s still just as present today.

As we enter into Pentecost and the days that follow, may we take up the first verse of the hymn “Come Holy Ghost” as our prayer:

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,

And in our hearts take up thy rest;

Come with thy grace and heav’nly aid

To fill the hearts which thou hast made,

To fill the hearts which thou hast made.

He desires to come to every heart, to fill us with the Word. May we grow in sensitivity and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit’s movements in our lives. May we recognize in the Spirit’s presence God’s abiding hello.

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 of Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. Write to her at lweisharwriting@gmail.com.


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