By Father Joseph Sia
One of the things that I have had more time to do during this period of quarantine is to go over my old books and notes from seminary. It’s been quite an interesting experience re-reading about topics such as liturgy, the Scriptures, morality and other subjects that I studied a few years ago. I have been able to refresh my memory on some of these teachings, and I’ve actually learned a few new things!
Now that I have 12 years’ experience as a parish priest, I’ve taken on a different perspective on these matters and can better apply them to concrete situations such as in the confessional and in my homilies. It’s as if I have re-discovered treasures that I have had all along which I have just kept hidden in my bookshelves and drawers.
All of us Catholics have a treasure, which, most of the time, just like old books and notes, we tend to tuck away somewhere and forget about. I am talking about the Holy Spirit. When we were baptized, we were anointed with Sacred Chrism and bathed in flowing water, signs of reception of the Holy Spirit. The fullness of receiving the Holy Spirit happened at confirmation, when we were sealed once again with the Sacred Chrism on our foreheads.
So we already have the Spirit within us. We have access to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and when we live our lives according to these gifts, then we also enjoy the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. I mention the Holy Spirit because very soon we will be celebrating Pentecost — a very important feast in our church. We remember the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostles 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection in fulfillment of his promise that he would not leave his followers abandoned. The Holy Spirit is the Consoler and the Advocate that Jesus sent so that his disciples may have the strength and courage to continue the mission of evangelization.
Pentecost is also the birthday of the church. Certainly, we would want to celebrate our church’s birthday in a beautiful and fitting way, right? So may I suggest that this is the perfect time to re-discover that treasure that is already in you: the Holy Spirit! This is the time to re-acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Pray to the Holy Spirit that you may be more open to receive inspiration in your daily life to carry your cross and to spread the Good News of God’s love to all you meet. Take time to meditate deeply on the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, and know how you can better apply them to your vocation. Read about the Holy Spirit in the Catechism and in the Bible. Go online and search for Catholic websites that explain the Holy Spirit in a profound and truthful way.
The Holy Spirit is the Third Person in the Trinity who, as we profess in the Creed every Sunday, is the “Lord, the giver of life.” During this time when we are so scared of losing our life or the life of our loved ones, let us ask the Holy Spirit to re-kindle our faith in a God who wants so much to give us eternal life. Allow the hidden treasure of the Holy Spirit in you to shine forth amidst the darkness of this pandemic.
(Father Sia is vocations director for the Davenport Diocese. Contact him at (563) 888-4255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)