I saw the Holy Spirit yesterday.
No, not in a mystical sense, as in a vision. But really, truly? Yes.
I saw His presence and His impact as I attended the Confirmation of my dear goddaughter. Amidst the beauty of the Mass, the regality of the grand old church, and the fussing and tension that are inevitably part of planning for "a big event", the Holy Spirit shone through. He was there in the preparations, so lovingly carried out by L.'s parents. He was there in L.'s sponsor, a living saint if ever I have known one. And He was there in the laying on of hands, the Confirmation in Christ of the young men and women who received the sacrament yesterday. He was there in their peace and joy and He'll use them now, in increasingly powerful ways, as soldiers of Christ.
They've been transformed, in a very real way, and it's a magnificent thing to witness.
I'm remembering another Mass during which I strongly felt the power of the Holy Spirit. Several years ago, I attended an ordination at the cathedral of the Archdiocese. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed. Men were transformed from laymen into priests of Christ, and when I left that day, I was stunned that the world carried on outside the church doors. How could life's daily, mundane concerns possibly matter? How could that man walking a dog not know what God had just done behind those church doors? I wanted to cry out to the woman headed into Wendy's for a hamburger, "Don't you know what just happened? God is at work! The Holy Spirit is real! I wish you'd been there!"
And, of course, I'm remembering my own Confirmation and reception into the Catholic Church when I was 35, and the beauty of prayers answered (goddaughter L.'s father, Jack, my dear friend, being first among those who prayed for me.) I still swoon over the miracle of Atticus's reception into the Church and weep tears of gratitude over God's gracious work in our lives. I can recall so many, many times that I've felt and seen the Spirit's power and work. I don't want to bore you with every little detail, but I will say this: when I prayed for a deeper understanding of and relationship with the Holy Spirit, I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into.
Be careful what you ask for ... He always means business.
Come Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Divine Love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth. Oh God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructed the hearts of the faithful, Grant, that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
(The above Holy Spirit clipart is courtesy of Two Hearts Design.)