I love Pentecost! It is the birthday of the Church, it is the Feast Day of the Holy Spirit, and today, by some chance, it is the day I had a Mass said for Mom.
The deacon gave a wonderful homily, one that was so spirit-filled that it moved me to tears. He is so passionate about his faith. He makes me want to delve even deeper into my own.
He is a very charismatic man and he brings a certain flair to his homilies that you don't normally feel or see in most. He isn't afraid to ask the tough questions, admit his shortcomings, and today even had the congregation praying out loud to the Holy Spirit during his homily!
I know that this might not sit well with some folks, but sometimes, I think we get into a rut in our ways of worship and Deacon Mike was sent to shake things up a bit. I love it!
Today he talked about what an unbelievable experience it must have been to be an apostle that day. He truly made them human in my eyes. He talked about how scared they must have been, hiding in that Upper Room, doubting the last three years of their lives. Wondering how they could have gone so wrong! They walked away from everything away to follow around someone that they thought was the Messiah. Were they wrong? They just watched Him die on the cross? But then, something wonderful happened. The Spirit of the Lord descended upon them, gave them the gift of tongues, and the courage to go out into the world and make disciples of men! Imagine that! One moment you are doubting everything you've ever know, the next, you are so full of the Spirit that NOTHING will stop you from carrying out the Good News! MAN! That is so awesome!
Feeling the Holy Spirit as powerfully as I did two weekends ago during Confirmation, I can see how that would change someone. I have seen it change someone. I have seen it change many.
Many years ago, I was very alone, very afraid, and very unsure of where in the world God wanted me to be. I wasn't even sure that there was a God. I prayed anyway, "Please, Lord, if you really are there, I NEED to feel you right now."
As I lay in a dark room, with no hope left in me, I felt His presence in the form of a beautiful warm hug that stayed with me for quite sometime. I was able from that moment on, to turn away from the life I was living and move forward toward Him. I know that without a doubt, in that moment I was touched by the Spirit. I was given a beautiful gift of grace that has allowed me to become who I am today. Not because of anything that I have done, only because of what He has done within me. I am forever grateful for that moment, and for every moment after that.
And to those who are serving, have served and especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Thank You. Those words will never be enough, but they are all I have. My prayers are always with you.