Today, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. Today, we are reminded that we are truly never alone as we stop to consider God’s unmerited love and generosity in the form of a constant companion. The Holy Spirit not only accompanies us through our lives and breathes the peace and comfort of our heavenly Father and his Son upon us, he also comes bearing gifts!
When my kids were little, we used to highlight a fruit of the Holy Spirit each month. We would focus on that virtue and work to practice it more consistently, reward it when it was practiced well, and remind of the need for it when it was lacking. I remember in those years of no sleep, surrounded by constant need, that I was always the one most in need of my dear Companion’s gifts. I would wake, pulled by cries of hunger and need into a tiny person’s bedroom, and think, “Dearest Holy Spirit, please give me the gift of perseverance.” Later in the day, the toddlers would fight and scream while the baby needed to nurse again, and I would cry out, “Dear Friend, please give me the gift of patience.” There were years with our oldest when I would beg of my precious Paraclete, “Please, give our daughter the gift of faith.” And in my marriage, when I felt the desire to nag or criticize, I would call out, “Kind Holy Spirit, give me the gift of your kindness and love.”
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised to send the Holy Spirit; these days since Ascension Thursday, we have been preparing and waiting to celebrate this amazing gift. The Holy Spirit is the reminder of God’s constant thoughts toward us, his unending mercy and love, his never-ending outpouring of generosity. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are the manifestation of that generosity, and they become the way that we can manifest his generosity to the world. That, as always, begins with showing his love to those closest to us. I am always reminded of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s famous words, if you want to change the world, go home and love your family.
As we look around us, we are constantly reminded of this dying world’s need for the comfort and love of the Holy Spirit, but we must be the hands and feet of Christ; we must be the bearer of the Holy Spirit and his gifts. Every time we exercise love, patience, peace, fortitude, kindness, generosity, and gentleness, we are allowing the Holy Spirit to move. Every time we encourage our children to practice self-control and faithfulness and chastity, we are allowing the Holy Spirit to form and use them.
In this strange season when we may be growing weary of all this time at home, of all the food that is cooked and consumed, of all the bickering and frustration, we are reminded today that we are never alone, that we have been given a most perfect companion who wants so much to carry our burdens, to fill us with hope and peace. The Holy Spirit is truly our closest friend, the one who can take over when we are depleted, the one who can carry the burdens of our hearts for our children, for the world, directly to the Sacred Heart. Our precious Jesus gave us this most precious gift. Rejoice in that gift today, dear mother, you are never alone!