Let us begin by lighting a candle, making the sign of the Cross, quieting ourselves and welcoming God into the space where we dwell and into our mind and heart.
Play this Taizé chant to aid in coming into this space of prayer. Veni Sancte Spiritus – Come Holy Spirit
Read the following slowly and reflect on the words as you read and pray them.
Where the Spirit is there is creation and new life. Where the Spirit is, there is the living Christ. The Spirit is the breath of God’s creative love, so that whoever lives in the Spirit lives in the ever newness of God.Sr Ilia Delio OSF
“Take courage for I am with you, says the Lord…, my Spirit abides among you, do not fear.”(Haggai 2:4)
The Bible isn’t so much a book as a small library, written and compiled over centuries by people who simply wanted to pass on their experience of faith. It is helpful to remember this when considering the Spirit in the Scriptures because in the different books, written at different times and in different styles the authors were not all simply repeating the same thing about God or the Spirit. Sometimes, they spoke to God (as in the Psalms) but often they were sharing with each other a word of hope or encouragement (as in the prophets).
In this quotation from the Prophet Haggai, writing around the year 520 BC, a despondent people who have been through the ravages of war and exile are being encouraged not to be afraid to start over, to make a new beginning and to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem.
In their history as the people of God they found different ways to acknowledge that the God of Hosts, the Creator of all, Yahweh their Lord was with them. A primary focus was the Temple, but he was also with them through their anointed king and bound to them through covenant. Now on their return from exile there is no temple, they have no king and they fear the covenant is in tatters.
Yet among them is a prophet who feels compelled to remind them of the core of their identity: trust in the faithfulness of God. His presence is not limited to places or institutions, however holy, it is the breath or Spirit of God that gives them life – this is their reason for being, their hope for the future so there is no need for fear.
Can this prophetic word speak to the year to us in 2020, and to a world on its knees because of an epidemic that has brought death, fear and uncertainty? Yes, we believe that the breath of God is the reason why something exists rather than nothing. God is the source of all and abides in creation through his Spirit. This is the same Spirit that compelled Jesus to proclaim God’s reign and that raised him from death to new life in the resurrection. This is the Spirit we invoke this Pentecost, a Spirit to heal us and raise us up.
Our hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.(Rom. 5:3-5)
A Moment of Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges you?
What sensations do you notice in your body – as a reaction to what you have read?
What is the Spirit inviting you to do?
Bring this moment of contemplation to a close by praying this wonderful invocatory hymn, “Come down, O love Divine”, written by the 15th century mystic Bianco di Siena.
It invites us to meditate on the Spirit as the Divine Love between the Father and the Son and to see the path of humility as our way into this presence in our lives.
Pray the hymn slowly and gently making its sentiments your own and praying on behalf of the whole world.
Come down O love divine
Seek Thou this soul of mine
And visit it with Thine own ardour glowing
O Comforter, draw near
Within my heart appear
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.
O let it freely burn
Till earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes, in its heat consuming
And let Thy glorious light
Shine ever on my sight
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
Let holy charity
Mine outward vesture be
And lowliness become mine inner clothing
True lowliness of heart
Which takes the humbler part
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing
And so the yearning strong
With which the soul will long
Shall far outpass the power of human telling
For none can guess its grace
Till they become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling
Allow a moment of quiet
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.
God of Presence, with us here and now,
through your abiding Spirit,
open our minds and hearts to learn from the times we are living through.
May the hard lessons of these days teach us
how to prepare for a better tomorrow
in which the peoples of the earth
share their gifts for the well-being of all.
Take away our fear of the future
and gives us courage to rebuild our world as
the temple of your Presence. Amen
End with playing this piece of music from Bernadette Farrell, Spirit of God
And we end – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen