Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
May 27, 2007
The Spirit Comes This weekend we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. This is very significant for us today. When we look back on the journey of God’s people and God’s constant presence among us, we cannot help but see the work of the Spirit alive in our midst. During the past seven weeks we have been reading the Acts of the Apostles which is the story of the beginning of the Church. We have seen that the Apostles were sent with one mission, i.e., to teach the good news of Christ’s Resurrection and his continued presence among us through the Holy Spirit.
As we read the Acts we notice that not everything went smoothly for the apostles. They were put in prison, beaten, thrown out of town and eventually all were put to death. This is very important for us to remember as we live our Christian life. Sometimes we think that God will make all things “rosey” for us simply because we exist. This is not true, it is not reality. Reality for the human race consists in weakness, illness, aging, as well as their complements. When God sends the Spirit, this Spirit does not come to eradicate the human condition. The purpose of the Spirit is to gives us Wisdom, Strength, Courage, and Understanding, in order for us to be able to withstand the challenges we must face on a daily basis.
The challenges of the our present church are many, not the least of which is a drastic decline in priestly vocations. The present clergy in our diocese is aging (as gracefully as
possible) but nevertheless they are aging. The results of aging are troubling enough for the person experiencing a more vulnerable condition. The effects of aging for a person who is responsible for the pastoral care of a large number of people is exponentially difficult.
As priests are being asked to take on two and sometimes three parishes, their work is doubled and sometimes tripled. This is happening at a time when many of the priests would be looking forward to retirement. The ‘spirit’ is indeed willing but the body does not always want to cooperate. Consequently we are seeing many priests needing to retire sooner than previously hoped for. We see priests who need to take sick leaves and sabbaticals at a time when their help would be essential to the care of people.
What does all this mean? What is the message for us today? Is God abandoning us? Probably not. Then what could be happening? Could it be that the Holy Spirit is working
through the reality of our present lives just as he did in the first century and all other centuries thereafter? What is the Spirit asking us to see, to understand, to do?
What is the Spirit doing for the parish of St. Paul? Are we being asked to open our eyes and to face reality? Are we being asked to open our hearts and our minds to the work of God in the Church? There is no pat answer to these questions. The Spirit of God exists for our good. The question is, what is our good? What does God see that we do not see? Perhaps we could spend some time in prayer this week, during the octave of Pentecost. Let us ask the Spirit to give us the light we need to be faithful to Christ’s mission.
Lorette P. Nault