Pentecost Sunday..50days since Christ emerged from the tomb..40days of appearances in disguise, to his disciples & many others, as a gardener, stranger on beach, a hiker, a shepherd..& 10days ago, he left them & now us, to return to Heaven, so that today we could receive the gift of all gifts..the presence & the indwelling of third person of Trinity the Holy Spirit..hokmah the feminine dimension of God.. ..our lives are seasoned with showings of the Holy Spirit in real life & real relationships ..one undoubtedly was on Tues 5 Jan 2021 when, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our Community elected our new Abbot Robert.. ..track & trace his religious life from birth in Manchester [would you believe, a Lancastrian! ] to his training & work as a psychiatric nurse, his calling into the priesthood in the Anglican Church, his conversion to Catholicism, his calling into monastic life with us, his being sent in 1996 to begin our new foundation in Zimbabwe, his retreat work throughout Africa, & helping religious communities world-wide, & on 5 Jan 2021 another Holy Spirit moment..called elected chosen.. “as the Father sent me, so [ Robert ] am I sending you” ..a prayer Abbot Robert has shared with us in Community each week since his return is ..by coincidence or the work of the Holy Spirit?..the prayer in the Novena to the Holy Spirit the Diocese sent us to pray in the last 10days invoking the presence power & loving influence of Holy Spirit.. ..we prayed it here at Mass last weekend & we pray it now that, on his most special & extraordinary day, the Holy Spirit may come down on each of us to enkindle the fire of divine love.. “breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Work in me, O Holy Spirit, that all my actions may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that l love only what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, do defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I myself may always be holy. Amen.” [attributed to St Augustine]
“..if thou take thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, all his good is turned to ill” ; Lord have mercy “..heal our wounds, our strength renew; on our dryness pour thy dew; wash the stains of guilt away” ; Christ have mercy “..bend the stubborn heart & will; melt the frozen warm the chill; guide the steps that go away” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..the bright-eyed & bush-tailed among you will have realised gospel you have just heard is a repeat; told just 7wks ago, on first Sunday after Easter, where it formed part 1 where part 2 was the story of doubting Thomas..however, before you delete it from your inbox, remember every reading of gospel is a new moment, a fresh opportunity; acknowledge just how much you have changed in last 7wks, it is a different you listening to it now than it was back then..”semper reformanda” mission statement of our Catholicism [always reforming] we are always in the process of becoming, reforming, of being reshaped by the power love & influence of Holy Spirit..”as the Father sent me, so I am sending you”..
”send forth your Spirit & we shall recreate the face of the earth”..medical experts told us just a year ago, at the first spike in pandemic, any possible vaccine against covid would take at least 5yrs to develop..& now?..4 tested approved vaccines recreating the face of the earth..medical research & expertise woven with work presence influence of Holy Spirit..an extraordinary feat we call a miracle..fed speeded yeasted by prayers of this, a small community of believers in a privileged valley of milk & honey in leafy North Riding.. ”not us Lord, surely?” “come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of [these/us] your faithful, & we shall recreate the face of the earth”..”Jesus came & stood among them” & now us “peace be with you” he shows us his hands & side” in a covid ward, in paralysis & smile of Clare Jennings, the resilience of our little band of first class disciples with underlying health problems, living behind closed doors for last 14 months, not in fear of Jews but of covid..”peace be with you”..you to them you might like to think, but be sure it is them to you, as they pray for our safety health wellbeing, & perseverance in our faith ..in faith terms who is most at risk of spiritual long covid..them or us?..”the truth will set you free”..remember young practising Catholic in Ireland who wrote to her parish priest a real Pentecost letter “the Eucharist, Jesus giving his life for us, this is as good as it gets; but one thing is missing, not all the time but some of the time” then a challenge for him & us “where is your passion? where is energy you gave your life for all those years ago?”.. “come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, & we shall recreate [ passionately ] the face of the earth”..a spiritual writer Rainer Maria Rilke wrote poem “the swan”..“this clumsy living that moves lumbering as if in ropes through what is not done, reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks..& to die, which is the letting go of the ground we stand on & cling to every day, is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down into the water, which receives him gaily, & which flows joyfully under & after him, wave after wave, while the swan, unmoving & marvellously calm, is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown, more like a king, further & further on.”..an image perhaps of our Pentecost, as we let go of that on which we stand & cling to, letting ourselves down into flow & depth of grace of the Holy Spirit, we, unmoving & marvellously calm, are pleased to be carried, each day, each Sunday here, each Pentecost, more fully grown..as she [ hokmah, the Holy Spirit ] renews the face of the earth & the lives of each of us, “recreating face of the earth” at this time, as we prepare to remove & to let go of, our face masks, & the grief loss strains & blessings of last 14 months, for the life work & love, recreational & reforming, of a different future..one to be faced seen & celebrated..as Our Lord did with the rich young man, once he had given him the challenge of a Pentecost moment “there is one thing you lack, go sell all you own, then come follow me” & we are told “Jesus looked steadily at him & loved him”..as Jesus loved rich young man & now each of us in our wealth, as we too live behind closed doors in spiritual long covid..go sell everything, shed the facemask of pretence, self-protection & self-isolation..“Holy Spirit, Lord of light, from the clear celestial height, thy pure beaming radiance give”..& on this day of risk adventure, of passionate potential & courageous decision, a pure beam of radiance, not now from the Lord of light, but for the Lord of light, from you to him, as your pure gift in love.. [Pentecost; Jn 20;19-23]