In a couple of weeks, we will be celebrating God’s gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. As I read through the Easter readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the gospel readings where Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, I began to reflect on my own experiences of the Spirit. Holy Spirit moments are unmistakable. They are moments that bring clarity during a time of confusion. They are moments that bring peace during a time of chaos. They are moments that bring comfort during a time of suffering. No matter how we may experience the Spirit’s presence in our lives, we are not likely to forget it.
One such moment occurred during the early years of my discernment about religious life. During a weekend retreat, I recall earnestly praying and asking for clarity about discerning religious life. While the participants on this retreat were contemplating their entrance into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, as their RCIA Coordinator, I was silently praying for an answer about this inexplicable idea of a religious vocation.
The retreat had been a wonderful experience for everyone. But I remember feeling disappointed that my prayers that weekend had seemingly not been answered. As I prepared to leave, I noticed a small bible that had, seemingly, been left behind by one of the retreatants. When I picked it up, a slip of paper fell to the floor with the words, “I choose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit. The kind that endures.” I never did find the owner of the bible, but the note helped me to find my way during a time of uncertainty. In fact, these words have turned up unexpectedly often in my faith journey. Over time, the full discernment process for me included talking with good friends, with vocation directors, along with spiritual direction. The discernment process helped open my heart to God’s invitation to religious life.
Our faith tells us that the Holy Spirit is always present around us and within us. As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Pentecost in the next few weeks, I invite you to recall those “Holy Spirit” moments in your own life. Recalling these moments of grace helps to remind us that despite the circumstances in our lives and in our world, God is here. The Spirit is here. Hope is here. I also invite you to listen to one of my favorite Holy Spirit songs.
If the Spirit has invited you to consider religious life, why not give us a call. Peace.
Pat Dual, OP