Chapter Talk – Pentecost – June 9, 2019
Jesus returns: he breathes the Spirit upon and within us. The Spirit was already given but now it is given through Christ in an incarnate manner where we know he is ‘flesh of our flesh’. We ‘know’ in our experience that ‘we move and live and have our being’ in, through and with Christ, the complete manifestation of God. In the book of Ezekiel we hear God say: “I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances” (36:25-27). With the coming of Christ is the affirmation of the Spirit’s presence and the new form it takes….‘I will be with you always till the end of time’. The Spirit of love, the bond between Father and Son, the Spirit that in the words of von Balthasar “deepens our recollecting insight into everything of God that Jesus shared with us through his life and teaching” (Light of the Word, p.310).
One word from John’s gospel that we heard a number of times during the Easter season is ‘abide’. Jesus tells us already of his abiding presence and says ‘Abide in me as I abide in you’. This is what prayer is for, all forms of prayer, to help us abide in the Presence. This is why monastic teaching stresses mindfulness of God in everything, to pray always. Called to abide: sometimes the simplest is the most difficult. Our ego in many ways acts like a god….the gift of the Spirit which is always present, stays in the background of our consciousness when the ego exerts so much power and control over how we live. Perhaps this is the shift that this Pentecost can bestow on us all: to allow the Spirit to be in charge, to guide our choices and actions.
With the care, and the demands of care for one of our sisters we are being put under more anxiety, pressure and concern. The ‘unknown’ dimension of such events that come to us is never easy to carry…And then our egos, which are grasping to regain control, create a lot of noise. These moments are the time for the ego to tumble off its high wall and listen, to listen to the ‘small still voice of the Spirit. Most especially in these unknown, difficult times is when we need silence, interior silence, to renew us, to remind us to ‘abide’, to dwell in the One who is abiding in us. The gift of the Spirit is that the Spirit is there to keep our hearts open, to transform our hearts when they become hardened by strong opinions and harsh judgmental attitudes. This Spirit that Jesus sends is the communicating link to the Source of our Life.
Called to abide: with Pentecost the gift is given…now we are to receive the gift, and the simple task today and tomorrow is to ‘abide’, abide in the gift. Let self-knowledge help us to let go and see what occupies the heart: fears, anxieties, cherished opinions that make us feel so right: all these (and more) create a block and the outcome is that we abide in the noise of a hardened heart. This is the time to celebrate, we are not alone….We have been given a great gift: “All were filled with the Holy Spirit”. “All who are led by the Spirit of God”. “He (the Spirit that Jesus sends) will teach you everything”. These titles are extracted from the three readings for our solemnity today… Let us not deny, through a lack of faith or through letting the ego rule, this gift; let us not refuse to receive this gift of God. Rather, let us pray the gift to ‘abide’ and to live more each day from the transforming Spirit of Love, which is the essence and being of God.
Sr. Kathy DeVico, Abbess