Category Archives: Gifts of the Holy Spirit

A little old soul

He was an old soul that I had never seen before. His hair was as dark as coal, and his eyes drew you in. He walked slowly but with purpose. His deep red vestments made him look like a king. When I first saw him, I thought, “Now, that’s how you wear red!” My mother-in-law commented on the gorgeous roses that covered the altar. They were beautiful, but my focus was elsewhere.

Today is the Feast of Pentecost. The day our Church was founded. The day when the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, the Advocate, the Unifier, came into the lives of the Apostles like a roaring wind and flames of fire. This huddled group of fear-filled men and the Blessed Mother received the very Love of God the Father and God the Son in the form of the Holy Spirit. It changed them forever.

As the incense rose from the altar, my thoughts rose to Heaven. The swirls of incense were very visible today, and seemed to move wherever they wished. This reminded me that God’s tremendous gift of the Holy Spirit with His many gifts and graces was washing over the entire Earth today. My heart was open and ready to receive. I prayed deeply for my entire family, for my friends, for my community and for our world.

That’s when this old soul, the priest I had never seen before, began to sing in Latin the Veni Sancti Spiritu or Come Holy Spirit. He humbly sat, pulled the microphone down to his level, and began to sing. His voice is a pure gift from God. It was so awe-inspiring that you could hear a pin drop once he started. When I heard this beauty, I closed my eyes and thought, “Now, that’s how you sing!”

His homily was an amazing story about Blessed John Henry Newman. About 150 years ago, he had traveled to Rome and was heading back to England by ship. His heart was heavy because he had come to believe that the Catholic Church was the one true church, but accepting this truth meant many losses for him. He felt stuck, and then the ship got stuck. The wind just stopped altogether. For an entire week, his ship was stuck on the sea outside the port of Rome, yet not on its way to England either. He realized that God was perhaps allowing this to show him the state of his soul. Newman could do nothing to change his heart or his physical situation. It was up to the “wind” or the Holy Spirit to come into his life and help him move towards the truth. And the wind did arrive, pushing Newman towards a major change for his entire life.

We all must pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the same courage and love that He gave Blessed John Henry Newman and the Apostles. May our hearts burn with this love and give it freely just as we have received it freely.  We will see that God does make all things new.  Won’t you pray with me?

Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And You shall renew the face of the earth.

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Whoosh, Heat, and Whisper

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit arrives like a whoosh that moves through you from head to toe. Other times, He’s like a radiating heat the moves outward from the inside. And yet, there are times when He is just a small whisper that you must be very still and listening to hear.

At my daughter’s Confirmation in the Basilica, the whoosh arrived as the entrance hymn began. I almost had to sit down. The whoosh often makes tears begin to fall from my eyes which is very humbling for me. I have spoken about my gift of tears in prior blogs. It is not something I would ever choose. But it is a gift and I do accept it now.

When I visited my niece at the hospital, she told me that as I was praying over her and blessing her with St. Jude oil, she could feel a heat radiating from me. It was real and tangible for her and I knew it was simply the Holy Spirit.

This week, I had the honor of sponsoring my friend’s daughter for Confirmation. I expected the whoosh, but it didn’t come. I waited for the radiating heat, but it wasn’t there. It was when my friend’s daughter kneeled in front of me to receive the Holy Eucharist on her tongue from the Archbishop who said, “Body of Christ” and she whispered “Amen” that the Holy Spirit made Himself known to me. What an amazing gift to receive the Eucharist and the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. I felt so unworthy to receive, but I, too, whispered, “Amen.”

 

 

 

The Gift of Tears on St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Although I don’t believe I have any Irish ancestry, I sure feel Irish. My childhood parish was “The Fighting Irish” and we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a big way every year. My husband definitely has Irish in him on his mother’s side. What does any of this have to do with the gift of tears?

Let me explain. I seem to have the gift of tears. What this means is that any time a deep truth is being spoken, I cry. Well, I wouldn’t call it crying, I would just say that tears begin to pour out of my eyes. I know this is a “gift” but at times it sure doesn’t feel like it. People generally think I am sad, which I am definitely not. It’s like having a truth-o-meter inside of you. As you can imagine, most people are not used to this and really do not know how to respond when this starts happening. I have no idea how long I will have this gift. I do believe it is from God. I try not to make a big deal about it, but today at Mass, the water works were in full gear. I sometimes wish my tears were invisible so that no one would be upset or worried or focused on me.

Now, what does this have to do with St. Patrick’s Day? Well, today in the Magnificat I read a “medieval Irish poem” that I would like to share as my gift to you. I just wonder if the author of this poem (it appears to be anonymous) knew what he or she was really asking for?

A PRAYER TO REMOVE THE WOODEN BEAM

Grant me tears, O Lord, to blot out my sins; may I not cease from them, O God, until I have been purified.

May my heart be burned by the fire of redemption; grant me pure tears for Mary…

When I contemplate my sins, grant me tears always, for great are the claims of tears on cheeks.

Grant me tears when rising, grant me tears when resting, beyond your every gift altogether for love of you, Mary’s Son.

Grant me tears in bed to moisten my pillow, so that his dear ones may help to cure the soul.

Grant me contrition of heart so that I may not be in disgrace; O Lord, protect me and grant me tears…

For my anger, my jealousy, and my pride, a foolish deed, in pools from my inmost parts bring forth tears.

My falsehoods, my lying, and my greed, grievious the three, to banish them all from me, O Mary, grant me tears.