Sunday, 31 May 2020

Our Lady and the Holy Spirit, Pentecost in May

This is one of my last sermons in West Moors, my last May-time sermon here and my last Pentecost-sermon here, so I want to return to a favourite topic of mine: the relationship between Our Lady and the Holy Spirit
-but I’m going to say some different things about that than you’ve heard me say before.
Our Lady, as you know, has as one of her titles, the ‘Spouse of the Holy Spirit’, and she shows us how to live in relationship with the Holy Spirit.

To many people, the Holy Spirit can seem a little remote and odd, pictured as DOVE not as a person.
But, though He’s difficult to picture, He is easy to recognise in his EFFECTS:
Scripture tells us of 12 FRUITS the Holy Spirit produces in those who allow Him to enter their hearts. Among these are peace, joy, patience, and love/charity (Gal 5:22, also: self-control, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, generosity, modesty, chastity cf CCC 1832).

But, maybe, even those things can seem a little vague and abstract.
So, let’s turn to Our Lady, because in her we see these things in their perfection:
She had patience and peace –she endured the foot of the Cross.
She had joy –the Magnificat.
She had charity –when she heard she was to be pregnant and that her cousin already was, she didn’t think of her own needs but she went straight to go and care for her cousin Elizabeth.

But these things in the life of Our Lady didn’t spring from nowhere, they sprang from her unique relationship with the Holy Spirit.
At the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel said ‘the Holy Spirit will overshadow you’ –and she was filled.
At the Visitation to Elizabeth, the babe in her cousin’s womb leapt ‘filled with the Spirit’ when it sensed Our Lady’s presence (bearing The Child within her).
At the Cross, when, the Spirit was breathed forth by Christ as He died on the Cross, it was there that she was.
[At the Res’n appearances, when the Risen Lord showed His wounds and breathed forth His Holy Spirit again.]
At Pentecost, when the Apostles panicked and were in fear, we read that it was around HER that they gathered waiting for the HS to come.

WE often do not feel the Holy Spirit.
WE often can think He is distant or vague.
We can hear of His peace and His joy and His patience, but these seem far away.
Who can we turn to to find Him? Our Lady.
Two things in her example:
(i) She was docile to the Will of God,
and so the Holy Spirit found room to dwell in her heart.
If we are docile, rather than being filled with ourselves, then Holy Spirit can dwell in us.
(ii) She prayed.
Scripture repeatedly refers to her contemplative nature, ‘she pondered all these things in her heart’.
And it was around her prayer that Pentecost occurred.
So we too must pray if Holy Spirit is to come.

MORE THAN HER EXAMPLE, she is the Mother in heaven that Jesus has assigned to watch over me, and watch over you.
The saints repeatedly teach that whatever she asks of God, God grants. ‘He denies her not.’
Because while she was on earth she was sinless, she denied Him not.
So, she is a powerful Mother to care for me, a care for you.

I want the gifts of the HS.
I want the fruits of the HS to be manifested in my life.
But, by myself, I don’t know how.
He can seem strange to me.
Those gifts were manifested before:
in the life of the sinless Virgin, our Mother.
She can ask for a fresh outpouring of HS into my heart.
She can ask for me to be aided in removing the obstacles to the Holy Spirit in my life.
And, if we turn to her,
if we entrust ourselves to her in this month of May,
then those fruits of the Holy Spirit can be ours too.

No comments: