When thinking of the Holy Spirit, as it relates to Jesus, I always try to think of pure energy as being a person. That is probably not theological or whatever you want to call it, but it does go to the heart of my contemplative practice. The Church commemorates Pentecost on the fiftieth day after the Resurrection. This is part of the overall Life of Christ that we try to live each year. Pentecost, at first glance, seems to be disjointed from what Christ came to show us about God.
In my Lectio Divina (Phl 2:5) I thought of how the “handing on” of the mission of Christ is so integral to his disciples. If you were God, how would you hand on your mission, your purpose? Here are some thought I had:
- If there is no Resurrection, why would Jesus need to hand on anything? Think about it. Jesus told Peter that he would build his church on him and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. He did not say, you have only faith and get on the conveyor belt and get off when you get to Heaven. Christ uses nature and the natural progression of reality to build his Church.
- None of his Apostles were perfect, yet that was his A Team. None of his disciples were without flaws and sins, yet he trusted them to carry on his mission–to give eternal glory and praise to the Father through the Son, to recreate the Garden of Eden again as the Kingdom of Heaven, to give each generation what they need to love God with all their srength, all their minds, and all their hearts, and their neighbor as themselves.
- Pentecost broke the bounds of a provicial, regional religion to expand it to worldwise, or catholic in scope.
- Pentecost did not happen until after Jesus Ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, the Lamb on the Throne. Jesus was God and did not have to Ascend to the Father because, as God, he was already with the Father. The Human Christ had to ascend to the Father. He left his disciples by themselves, but with one caveat, he would send the Holy Spirit as Advocate, God’s energy and life to dwell in the temples of those Baptized with water and the spirit. (John 17)
- Pentecost means Jesus entrusted his disciples (in each age) with keeping his commands, and that command was only one, to love one another as He has loved us. Has each age done that perfectly? No. Have we veered off the path and dangerously come to falling off the edge? Yes. Have we tried to keep ourselves centered on the present and open to the Holy Spirit in the community of monks and Lay Cistercians on each Gathering day? Yes. Is it a struggle each day to take up our crosses and follow Christ. Yes. Do we have help through contemplative spirituality using Cistercian practices and charisms to convert our lives more and more to Christ and less and less to our human selves? Yes.
- In terms of just two universes (physical and mental) we don’t see the Holy Spirit, mainly because we don’t have the capability or the capacity to do so. We can, however see as through a foggy window (see photo). We can, with the help of the energy of God’s Holy Spirit, “see” in three universes (physical, mental and spiritual). Personally, I see the footprints of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Lay Cistercians I meet every day, more so now that I did five years ago, when I began a fledgling novice. I see the tracks left by the Holy Spirit in all who confess that Jesus is Lord, no matter what their demonination. I follow the footprints of the Holy Spirit in my age, since Jesus Ascended body and blood, soul and divnity to the Father and now waits at His Right Hand for me to arrive to give an account of how I have loved Christ by loving others and giving them the same mercy that I expect God to give me.
- Pentecost means the difficulties of the world to “see” Christ as his hearts sits next to mine on a cold park bench and we just “are” together, may be reduced to its most simplest forms. Faith in not a set of doctrines to be memorized, although that is a small part of it, but rather taking the Word and making it flesh to those around us because Christ first offered himself as flesh and blood to the Apostles at the Last Supper (our Eucharist).
- New Pentecost is not just the tongues of fire that came on each of the Twelve in the upper room, but also on each of us who makes our renewal of Faith in One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism. We can’t do that without the Holy Spirit, that same energy that filled the hearts of the early disciples, those who gave up their lives rather than offer incense to the Roman Emperor.
- As a Lay Cistercian, I try to be open to the Holy Spirit in fellow Lay Cistercians and in others who are members of the flock, but I also try to remain open to the Holy Spirit in those not of the flock of Christ, those with no realization of Pentecost, no hope in the Resurrection and the Life, no awareness of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Rather than think that we are better than anyone, we should constantly remind ourselves that we do not deserve the gracious energy of God in us but are grateful for being considered as adopted sons and daughters of a Loving Father, through, with, and in the Son, all in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The god, who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the age. Amen and Amen.
Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen, –Cistercian Doxology