Thanks to the inspiration of my father, I have a particular devotion to the Holy Spirit. Dad was immersed in the Charismatic Renewal and was on fire with the Holy Spirit. Who he was and what he did was the result of his living a life in the Spirit. He brought energy, zeal and enthusiasm for living and proclaiming that faith, sharing it with everyone around him. It eventually led to his discerning a vocation to the permanent diaconate.
Shortly after I arrived in Richmond, I received a gift of a beautiful pencil drawing of the Holy Spirit. This drawing hangs in my private chapel, just under the eucharistic vigil light where it serves as a reminder of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in all that we undertake.
While devotion to the Holy Spirit is not as well known as other Church devotions, it is tied to Marian devotions because Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was with her at the time of her own Immaculate Conception to protect her from original sin; he overshadowed her at the Annunciation. When Jesus appeared in the upper room and bestowed the power of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, she was there as an example to them of what it meant to live life in the Spirit.
From the letters and emails I have received, I know that one of the greatest sacrifices you have made during COVID-19 has been not being able to receive the Eucharist. While you have to be distant from the eucharistic presence of our Lord, the Holy Spirit is never distant from us.
In reports regarding COVID-19, actions we should take regarding its spread are described as critical. What is critical to our spiritual well-being at this time is devotion to the Holy Spirit.
While we may be temporarily distant from some of the sacraments, consider how the fruits of the Holy Spirit can provide sustenance for our spiritual lives when we apply them to the challenges presented daily as a result of the coronavirus. There is no shortage of opportunities, individually and collectively, during which we can draw upon charity, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness, mildness, faith and continence.
As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of our Church, it is important that we be encouraged by our communion with the Holy Spirit who dwells within our hearts, and who guides us in our faith and inspires us to live that faith — even in the most difficult of times.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.