The Holy Spirit

12-19-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. He gives life, he brings forth different charisms (gifts) which enrich the people of God and, above all, he creates unity among believers: from the many he makes one body, the Body of Christ. The Church’s whole life and mission depend on the Holy Spirit; he fulfills all things. When we pray, it is because the Holy Spirit inspires prayer in our heart.

When we break the cycle of our self-centeredness, and move beyond ourselves and go out to encounter others, to listen to them and help them, it is the Spirit of God who impels us to do so. When we find within us an unknown ability to forgive, to love someone who doesn’t love us in return, it is the Holy Spirit who has taken hold of us. When we move beyond mere self serving words and turn to those around us with that tenderness which warms the heart, we have indeed been touched by the Holy Spirit. It is true that the Holy Spirit brings forth different charisms in the Church, which at first glance, may seem to create disorder. Under his guidance, however, they constitute an immense richness, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which is not the same thing as uniformity. Only the Holy Spirit is able to kindle diversity, multiplicity and, at the same time, bring about unity.

When we try to create diversity, but are closed within our own particular and exclusive ways of seeing things, we create division. When we try to create unity through our own human designs, we end up with uniformity and homogenization. If we let ourselves be led by the Spirit, however, richness, variety and diversity will never create conflict!

The Holy Spirit brings unity to the Church: unity in faith, unity in love, unity in interior life.

The temptation is always within us to resist the Holy Spirit, because he takes us out of our comfort zone and unsettles us; he makes us get up and drives the Church forward. It is always easier and more comfortable to settle in our sedentary and unchanging ways. The Spirit of God is freshness, imagination and newness.

Our defensiveness is evident when we are entrenched within our ideas and our own strengths. These defensive mechanisms prevent us from truly understanding other people and from opening ourselves to a sincere dialogue with all those we encounter.

In our journey of faith, the more we allow ourselves to be humbly guided by the Spirit of the Lord, the more we will overcome misunderstandings, divisions, and disagreements and be a credible sign of unity and peace. Let us turn our thoughts this Advent to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. With her, who prayed with the Apostles, let us pray to the Lord asking him to send his Holy Spirit into our hearts and to make us witnesses of his Gospel in our homes, our schools and workplace, our community, our parish and in all the world.

With the entire Communion of Saints. We pray always and never lose heart.