Saturday, June 03, 2006

Vigil of Pentecost

fragments from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD - O Holy Spirit, You who deign to dwell in me, help me to open my soul completely to Your action.

1. The Encyclical Mystici Corporis states that "The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church." Because soul means "principle of life", this statement equivalently says that the divine Paraclete is the One who gives life to the Church. As the soul is the principle of life in the body, so the Holy Spirit is the principle of life in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. (cf.Divinum Illud).
We have seen that the Holy Spirit was in Christ's soul to direct Him in the accomplishment of His redemptive mission. Jesus could have carried out this mission alone, but He wished the Church to participate in it. Since the Church continues Christ's work, she needs the same impetus which guided His soul; she needs the Holy Spirit. Jesus merited His Spirit for us on the Cross; by His death, He atoned for all sin, the chief obstacle to the action of the Holy Spirit, and when he had ascended into heaven, He sent Him to the Apostles, who represented the whole Church. Now, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, He intercedes continually for us, He is always sending the Holy Spirit to the Church, as He promised. The Holy Spirit operates in the Church now, just as He once did in the blessed soul of Christ. He gives her impulse, moves her, and drives her to accomplish God's will, thus enabling her to fulful His mission, the continuation down through the ages of the redemptive work of Christ. With reason, then, did the early Fathers call the Holy Spirit the Soul of the Church; the Church herself invokes Him in the Credo:"Domineum et vifivicantem!" Lord and life-giver. As the soul vivifies the body, the Holy Spirit vivifies the Church. He is the impulse of love who kindles in her zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls; He gives light and strength to her shepherds, fervor and energy to her apostles, courage and invincible faith to her martyrs.
2.....The Encyclical Mystici Corporis asserts us that the Holy Spirit is "communicated to the Church abundandly, so that she herself and each one of her members may become, day by day, more like a Redeemer.".....if the Holy Spirit is an impulse of love that comes into us to sanctify us and bring us to God, why do we not all become saints? The mystery of human responsibility enters here. The Holy Spirit, with the Father and the Son, has created us free beings and He wishes us so; therefore, in coming to us, He respects our liberty and does no violence to it. Although he is eager to enter our souls and to possess it, He will not act thus unless we give Him free access. It is an example of the great principle on which St.Teresa of Jesus liked to insist:"God does not force anyone, He takes what we give Him; but He does not give Himsefl wholly to us, until we give ourselves wholly to Him" (Way,28). If we do not become saints, it is not because the Holy Spirit does not will it - he was sent to us and comes to us for this very purpose - but it is because we do not give full liberty to His action. This is the point in which we fail: we do not use our liberty to wholly yield our soul to His powerful, loving invasion. If our will would open the doors wide, the Holy Spirit would take us under His direction, and with His help, we wouls become saints.

....O Holy Spirit, Soul of my Soul, I adore You, Enlighten me, guide me, fortify me, console me. Tell me what I should do, give me Yours orders. I promise to be submissive to all that You ask of me and to accept everything that You permit to happen to me" (Cardinal Mercier).