Category Archives: Holy Spirit

Signs of the Spirit of Love

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a lover.
It is becoming love,
Jessica Powers

 These days I am accompanying the celebrations of confirmation in seven locations in the parish of Dulce Nombre.

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In Quebraditas

Yesterday’s  celebration were in San Isidro La Cueva and Quebraditas. There I encountered three reminders of the presence of the Spirit of Love.

When I arrived in San Isidro La Cueva, I was directed to park in a place by the church. But, seeing a deep hole in the road, I maneuvered the car a little to the left, only to find the left rear wheel in an even deeper hole. I got out, with a very dependable four-wheel drive in low, but managed to leave two wounds on the car. The worst was under the engine. A metal sheet to protect the engine had been loosened and bent in half.

I looked and a few people tried to bend it back. Finally a young guy, Rigoberto, came and actually ended up bending it back and tying it up temporarily with some wire. Later we talked, partly in English. He had spent about five years in the US and returned on his own. He had come to the celebration because some people had contracted him to bring a group. He asked nothing for fixing my car.

How often has this happened to me – people showing God’s love in simple ways.

For me, the celebration in the afternoon in Quebraditas was beautiful but one of the catechists wasn’t there. Olga, the only catechist in one village, had been faithful, coming to the training sessions. But she hadn’t come to the last two meetings. I found out, from one of the confirmed from the village, that her mother had died and she had gone to take care of her father in another part of the country.

What people will do to help family members in need!

Pablo, the person who told me, is a young man from her village who was being confirmed. He just began coming to the catechist training meetings and will be helping in his village – the only catechist in his village. I told him that I would help him as he began and reminded him of the catechists meeting in November.

He asked me to take a picture of his mother and him, which I was glad to take. I promised to bring a copy to the November meeting.

He then introduced me to his sister who was holding a two year old child. We talked a bit and then I noticed a young girl, about thirteen, who looked like the other family members. He’s not my sister but a cousin, who has no parents taking care of her. He then told me that his mother had taken care of her since she was six months old.

The poor helping the poor.

The Holy Spirit comes to life, not in noisy celebrations, but in the simple love manifested in the lives of the poor.

Again, I’ve been graced with the chance to witness that Love – and even be a recipient of love.

The Holy Ghost and Gerard Manley Hopkins

…the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.
“God grandeur”

This year the feast of Pentecost falls on the anniversary of the death of the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins on June 8, 1889.

Holy Spirit window, St. Peter's, the Vatican

Holy Spirit window, St. Peter’s, the Vatican

“God’s grandeur” is one of my favorite poems, celebrating the presence of God in the world. It is also a poem with a very ecological flavor.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God

But Hopkins laments what we humans have done to the earth

And all is seared with trade: bleared, smeared with toil;
And wear’s man’s smudge and shares man’s smell…

We have even forgotten how to experience the earth:

    …the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

Yet Hopkins maintains hope

And for all this, nature is never spent;
     There lives the dearest freshness deep down things

How can this be?

      Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
            World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

The Spirit of God renews the face of the earth, renews us, and offers us hope. There is a freshness – the dearest freshness – deep down things – if we would open our hearts.

No wonder the last words of Gerard Manley Hopkins, after a life filled with melancholy, were

I am so happy!

The full text of the poem can be found here.

Father of the Poor

In the sequence for Pentecost, Veni, Sancte Spiritus – Come, Holy Spirit, there is a phrase that has intrigued me for years:

Veni, Pater pauperum
Come, Father of the poor.

The Holy Spirit is addressed as the Father of the Poor. Whatever could this mean?

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of Love, works through and with the poor.

José Comblin, the late Brazilian-Belgian theologian shared some ideas in an article on the Holy Spirit in Mysterium Liberationis: Fundamental Concepts of Liberation Theology. I need to study it, but here are a few quotes:

The Holy Spirit acts in the world by means of the poor. This principle has been unambiguously established by Paul (1 Corinthians 1:26-2:16)….

…the Spirit acts on the underside of history. It does not reject the mediation of concrete, historical forces –neither scientific and technological development, nor economic development, nor political power, nore even in exreme cases, military mediations. But it subordiantes them all to the power of the poor. The Spirit acts by means of patience, perseverance, protest, petition…

For me the Spirit is like a breath – a wind – a force that can not be seen but which moves us to life and to love. And thus the Spirit of God is the Father of the Poor, the lover and protector of the most vulnerable, the force that moves among them, showing forth the power of God in weakness.

I see this especially in the resilience of the poor, their perseverance in the face of poverty and oppression, and in the ways they use to live – not with lots of technology but with lots of simple creativity.

The Holy Spirit is Father of the Poor in another way.

So often we are paralyzed by fear – as were the followers of Jesus on Easter Sunday and on first Pentecost, hiding behind closed doors. Jesus came on Easter and the Spirit came on Pentecost to drive out fear.

In his commentary on the Sunday readings, Sharing the Word through the Liturgical Year,  Gustavo Gutiérrez wrote:

The presence of the Spirit in the church, in each one of us, must lead us to defend the dignity of God’s children whose rights to life and truth are being violated. Becoming paralyzed with fear of the powerful or of losing our comfort and privileges in society means that we refuse to receive the Spirit of love.

And so Father of the Poor, come, cast out fear, cast out poverty, use the poor of the earth to transform all of us.

Come, Holy Spirit.