The Gospel: John 14: 15-16, 23-26
Of the three persons in the Trinity, the Spirit is probably the one with the greatest "image problem". The Spirit is made known in its effects - and human beings often have to resort to "itís as if..." "it was like..." "itís... well, ... you know..." We also resort to sign and symbol - always aware that we are glimpsing only a fraction of the totality of who the Spirit is. We have gathered some of the images together and suggest that you might spend time in reflection on what they tell you of the nature of the Spirit - and what the Spirit means for you
The Sequence used in the Mass on Pentecost Sunday is an ancient song full of symbol and sense - celebrating the sacred enigma that is the Spirit: Father of the poor - light of all that live - of all consolerís blest - and so on - and on...
Read through the Sequence in a Missal and let the words
and images drip into your soul... Which speak most powerfully to where you
are in your spiritual journey?
The first image of the Spirit offered in Scripture is the mighty wind which swept over the waters at the dawn of Creation... Whether we opt for the Big Bang theory - or evolution - the origins of the universe and humanity remain a mystery... The writer of Genesis imagined the earth as a void - but was limited by the knowledge of the time... earth was much smaller than the planet we know it to be now. The writer had no concept of the sheer size of the universe - billions of light years across... It is hard even for us to play with such numbers - but, as a spiritual exercise, go out on a starry night and imagine the Spirit sweeping from star to star - passing over millions of light years in moments - and, if you dare(!) - coming to rest on you...
In Genesis 2, Scripture speaks of the Spirit as the breath of God... the breath which gives life and consciousness to the creature of clay.
As an exercise, focus on your breathing - reflecting on the coolness of the life-giving breath going in - and the warm, stale air coming out... How does this speak of God?
The Spirit appears in the form of a dove when Jesus is baptised... Why a dove? What kind of image does a dove present? And when else does a dove appear in Scripture?
In the Pentecost accounts, the Spirit appears as wind - again a mighty wind.... Recall your own experiences of being out in mighty winds - the mixture of feelings it evokes: exhilaration - and fear... What does this tell you of the Spirit?
And fire.... source of warmth - and light - but uncontrolled highly dangerous and destructive... What sense of the Spirit does this give you?
This is one Exercise in which we will not suggest that you sum up your reflections - rather savour the richness of word and image - and the awe it inspires as you reflect on the Spirit - most mysterious and yet most intimately present of the Persons of the Trinity