When the Holy Spirit arrives , He provides light, warmth and courage.  But The Spirit is tough to pin down, and that is His beauty and power.

Jesus promised the disciples (and us) that he would not leave us orphans (John 14:18). Christ promised to be with us always, until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). It is easiest for me to picture what it is like to have a relationship with Christ because the cross is the emblem of our faith and because I can turn to the Gospel accounts. It is easier for me to know that he is always with me and that he loves me than it is to consider that the Holy Spirit dwells within me.

Reflecting on the fact that God is a perfect Father is also easier than contemplating the Spirit because I have a relationship with my dad and I always count on him. I know he is always there for me and that I can turn to him when things are most difficult or most joyful. It is also easier for me because I am a dad myself and experience the reckless love that a dad has for his children. Picturing what it’s like to speak with the Holy Spirit is more of a challenge.

Pentecost was a Holy Spirit moment for the Apostles and the early Church. The Spirit of God became physically present in fire in order to ignite the mission of the 11. They were made for preaching and baptizing and spreading the message and love of Christ. Instead, they were keeping him to themselves. They were afraid to spread the truth even though Jesus had risen from the dead.

 But then, the fire began to fall.

God came to them and set them on fire for what they were made for. While our lives might not have such visible experiences of God’s Spirit we all have Pentecost moments. Think about the day you were married or became a religious or were ordained a priest. Consider that moment when you were about to embark on the journey of life that you were crafted for. Inside your soul, the fire fell on you so that you could make a bold and sacrificial decision that would alter the rest of your life.

Think about a moment or two in the past when you undoubtedly experienced the presence of God. A moment when you knew that He was real and that you were not alone. It could have been the consolation felt at the loss of a loved one. It could have been the details surrounding the birth of a child or a profoundly intimate experience in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. In these moments, Pentecost comes to us.

The challenge of these experiences is that they are meant to embolden us to speak more frequently and more powerfully about the God-man Christ who died and rose so that we could have life. Jesus’ promise to remain with us is kept, always. Our role is to be aware enough to see the fire when it does fall and then spread that news to everyone that we can.

When you mention that you experienced God, however, people might think you are crazy. There is always a risk when we preach Christ and do so in an unapologetic manner. On that first Pentecost Sunday, the Jews thought that the disciples were drunk because of how they were acting (Acts 2:13). This accusation lived in me for years when I thought about Pentecost. This was the part of me that wondered, “Do we really think that this happened in this way?”

In the passage following Pentecost, Peter doubles down on God’s Spirit coming to them. He replies they are not drunk.  They are simply continuing what Jesus Christ did when he walked this earth.

Are you? Am I?

Pentecost is a great time to honestly reflect on whether or not we truly believe that God is with us, not in just a fuzzy and cute way, but like a fire whose flames can be seen and whose heat can be felt. If we truly believe that the fire fell on that first Pentecost and that it continues to rain down on us today, then we can do nothing but preach Christ. Accepting that mission is what we were made for.

So look for the fire. It will fall. And, its flames will make you a light shining in the darkness – making all things new. Have the courage to carry those flames to others.

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Photo by Paul Bulai on Unsplash.

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