.. Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them,
"Peace be with you.... As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit."
John 20:19b, 21b-22
Grace and peace, love and joy to you on this great feast of the Holy Spirit!
As far back as I can remember, I've had a special affinity for the Holy Spirit. My prayer has often been directed to the Spirit. I pray for the Spirit's guidance and wisdom, for strength and right-judgement. I pray that others may be open to the Spirit. And I have a strong sense of when the Spirit is active in my life.
This weekend has been one of those weekends during which I have been keenly aware of the work of the Spirit. Yesterday one of our Brothers professed his first vows in the Society of Mary (the Marianists Brothers and Priests). Celebrating someone's vowed commitment is always a joy-filled occasion. Yet, this entire weekend has been permeated with a certain spirit both tangible and difficult to describe.
As I consider why this might be true, several things come to mind...
First, because our newest temporary professed brother is originally from a city not far from here and he graduated from the University of Dayton not that long ago, the celebrations this weekend have been filled with the laughter and conversations of many of his friends and family. I had the greatest conversation last night with some of his younger cousins at the Novitiate... dozens of fairly recent UD grads were present, adding to the vibrancy of the celebration.
Second, the homily given by the Director of Novices was very well balanced between humor and sincerity. He told wonderful stories about our brother and also made a beautiful connection between the profession of vows and the Feast of Pentecost. It was simply beautiful.
Personally speaking, it was very good to be surrounded by so many people who are important in my life. Anytime the Marianist Family gathers it is a moment of great grace for me. I was constantly reminded this weekend of how truly blessed my life is that I share it with the Marianist Family.
The Mass was held at Queen of Apostles Chapel on the property of Mount Saint John - down the hill from the Novitiate. The Chapel is build in a completely circular fashion with fantastic acoustics. There were more than 200 people gathered in that Chapel - all of them fully participating in the Mass with their enthusiastic responses and full-voiced singing. That combined with the fact of the brass quartet, cello, violin, and flute... AWESOME. How could a person not be aware of the Spirit's presence there?
I cannot let this blog go by without mentioning the wonderful spirit of the Brother who professed. He is truly a Marianist Brother in every sense of the word. I consider it a great blessing to know him, to have worked with him when he was a student at UD and to have been a small part of his discernment journey. The Marianist Family is richer for his presence.
Finally, it cannot be ignored that this celebration of vows was on Pentecost weekend. I realize that the Holy Spirit is always present and active in our lives and in our world. However, I also believe that there is a special grace associate with the Spirit on this particular feast. It was evident in every way this weekend.
Yesterday, during the sign of peace, one of our Sisters says to me, "You're next," referring to my final vows on August 3. This is a perfect weekend to begin praying that the Spirit might bless and guide the final stages of this part of my journey.
Blessings of great peace and joy to all who read this!