Maybe, on this feast of Pentecost, we should pray in our hearts – with conviction – the prayer found in our Gospel Acclamation: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love”! What a profound and deeply impactful prayer!
I really love the image that this prayer creates for me. I see the human heart – that moral and spiritual center of each human being – being filled up. The Holy Spirit, the divine and life giving Spirit of God, being poured out from God through Jesus into our hearts in abundance; almost like a cup overflowing and spilling over the edges. In our hearts then is placed the fire of God’s love, the consuming and perfect love of God. Our hearts are capable of loving like Jesus because it is His love that resides in our hearts – it is His Spirit that loves in us! What’s more, the proclamation and sharing of that divine love and life is aided or transformed by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Christian tesimony is therefore transformed and given a profound life beyond our own power and ability. It is key though that we see and understand the programme of God. He gives, we receive, we give out of what we have received from God and through Him so that others too might receive. If we truly “live by the Spirit” as St. Paul says, we are capable of giving because God’s Spirit works in and through us.
Notice what Jesus says to His apostles at the discourse we heard today from the last supper: “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify”. This is interesting, “he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify”. I, we, must first receive from God the divine and true testimony in the person of the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit, fill my heart and fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love! This is our prayer. This again I believe is why Jesus will say, “only one thing is necessary” so “seek first the kingdom of God”. Let God testify to you! Let Him reveal to you Himself and His love. Receive and appropriate the dvine gift of God. Then, we will be ready to tetify! To share in and through the Spirit of God – with hearts full and abounding!
Too often we are “anxious and troubled about many things”. Now, as always, it is good for us to remember the words of the Lord – “one thing is needed”. Sit at the feet of God and listen to His testimony. If we return to the image of the glass being filled up representing our hearts, then we might understand by picturing that same glass being filled up with rocks and gravel. Our hearts are filled and weighed down by many things, many anxieties, and as such the Holy Spirit cannot fill our hearts – cannot fill us and kindle in us the fire of God’s love. Our capacity to receive is greatly limited. He will testify. We need to reorient out hearts to receive that testimony from God – a testimony given us in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit.
The early Church, on the day of Pentecost, received the Holy Spirit – the testimony of God in person – and they went out immediately and testified to God’s great deeds of power! What is very profound here is that their testimony was supported by God through the power of the Holy Spirit working in them and through them. God’s presence and testimony is confirmed by the powerful miracle that gave the disciples to speak in various languages. In other words: God speaks, God gives and they receive. They speak out of that gift, they speak what they have heard and God affirms their testimony with the miraculous – with great power. See the unity of both the message and the messengers? It is precicesly because the disciples are in communion with God through the Holy Spirit that they can receive from Him and testify on His behalf and with His grace! Seek first the kingdom of God! and everything else will be added unto you! They are filled with the Holy Spirit and their hearts are aflame with the fire of God’s love – this love propells them outwards to declare the great wonders of God and God’s love!
My friends, see today, in our celebration of Pentecost, the same dynamic. Here in the context of the Eucharist we pray – Come Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of your faithful! Fill us with Jesus Christ – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity! Fill us with the Love of the Father! Inflame our heaerts with the fire of Your love!