We reflect this Easter season on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.
Imagine telling all your family and friends that the only thing you wanted for Christmas was a particular gift. You drop hints in every conversation to make sure that someone will get this perfect gift for you. When Christmas morning arrives, you race to the Christmas tree and dig through all the presents until you find that perfectly shaped box. You tear open the paper and there it is! You’ve received the perfect gift! Quickly, you run back upstairs to your bedroom, climb up to the top shelf in your closet, tuck the gift away in the back corner, close the closet door, and never think of the gift again.
Of course, that wouldn’t make any sense, but how many of us do that with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit that we receive in the sacraments? We received the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and Confirmation, though our experiences were probably unlike that of the Apostles when they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, as described in chapter 2 of the Acts of the Apostles. (I don’t remember any flames above my head at my Confirmation!) Unfortunately, many Catholics spend their lives keeping the Holy Spirit at arm’s length rather than embracing the grace the Spirit can bring.
We might be afraid to fully receive the Holy Spirit and allow him to have agency in our lives, because we know it would demand change. After they received the Holy Spirit, the Apostles ventured out to the ends of the earth to evangelize, and some of them were even martyred. In a similar way, the Holy Spirit propels us to live for the greater glory of God. Sometimes, living for the greater glory of God might lead us away from the familiar comfort of the lives we have created for ourselves; other times, living for the greater glory of God might be lived by serving the people closest to us in love and humility. The grace we receive from the Holy Spirit will give us all we need to serve God’s kingdom and do his will, even when we’re scared.
We have nothing to fear! God only wants what is best for us. He does not call us to a life that would make us miserable, and he does not call us to a mission without also giving us the grace we need to do it well. God calls each of us to a particular vocation that will lead us to perfect happiness and union with him. We make our lives harder when we do not allow the Holy Spirit to work in us.
As we reflect on the Apostles’ experience of Pentecost, may we be renewed with a desire for the Holy Spirit to be active in our own lives. May we embrace the gifts that we have been given and use them in our daily lives to spread the Good News and live for the greater glory of God.