This year, more than other recent years, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we move through All Things New. As we hear about Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles, remember the fear and chaos that was present. Think of those two words, fear and chaos, and try to find a place in your own heart right now where those two words apply.
There may be fear and chaos in our own lives. We may be struggling with certain destructive habits or patterns and need discipline to address them. When we have recurring habits or patterns that we wish to change and find ourselves unable, we often experience fear and chaos from not having our lives in order. One of the mistakes we make is depending on our own willpower, rather than the power of the Holy Spirit. As we celebrate Pentecost this year, it might be important to pray more deeply a prayer of abandonment, surrendering our own willpower to the power of God. Can we allow the Holy Spirit to breathe hope into our hearts and minds, not because we are perfect, but because we are surrounded by the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit? Let’s take the energy of forcing ourselves into good behavior and use that energy, time and determination to open ourselves more deeply to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Listen to the Holy Spirit.
There may be some fear and chaos in our families or in other relationships in our lives. Pray to the Holy Spirit for the wisdom to believe that there is only one life that you control: your own life. We learned from the stories of the early Church that the behavior of individuals within the community changed minds and hearts to begin to embrace Jesus Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Whatever energy or time we may be expending to try to change someone else’s life, we should redirect to make sure that we are at peace with God and the plans that God has laid out before us. Use all that energy to love anyone who comes into our homes, families or relationships. Seek to understand and accept all people as children of God and as a gift.
Within the Church of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, we are all awaiting the final word from Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski about his discernment of the movement of the Holy Spirit for our communities. Whatever fear and chaos we might be feeling or experiencing is the same sort of fear that entered the minds and hearts of those early disciples and apostles. They certainly were downtrodden because they didn’t believe that God could use them to speak the Good News to so many people from different places and backgrounds. How could God ever make one community of many people? We are still attempting to bring that dream to its completion, but the outpouring of the Holy Spirit certainly showed us what that is supposed to look like. It is time to move beyond our fear and our sense of hopelessness and move into the sense of joy and anticipation God has in mind for each of us.
Why waste a moment of our lives in division and hatred? Why, if we believe that God is always with us and the Spirit is being poured out upon us, do we waste time believing we must control everything? Submission and obedience are not popular words, but when we are faced with the love of God, why wouldn’t we want to submit ourselves to God’s will and His loving journey for each of us? Be blessed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
Father Donald Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.