Abandonment and the Grace of Pentecost

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I dedicate this, my translation of a conference for Pentecost by the Benedictine Mother Mectilde de Bar to my beloved brothers and friends of the Diocese of Tulsa who, today, are being ordained to the Order of the Holy Diaconate by His Excellency, Bishop Edward J. Slattery.

The Holy Spirit is the fruit of the coming of the Son of God into the world,
the fruit of His sufferings and of His labours.
In order for us to receive Him,
it was necessary that the Son of God suffer all His great sorrows;
moreover, had He not asked the Holy Spirit for us,
we would not have received Him.
The Holy Spirit is, therefore, God's Gift to us.
Like a powerful King who seeks among the good things of His kingdom,
what is most precious
to make of it a gift to the person dearest to him,
even so does the Eternal Father.
Possessing nothing greater than His Holy Spirit,
He gives Him to men in recompense for the suffering of His Son.
This festival is, then, most important,
and so the entire Church disposes herself for it
with a very particular devotion.

What then must one do in so as to to receive Him well
and partake of His fruits?
Two things are needed
to know how great a gift is the Holy Spirit
and what is needed to keep Him.
These will be the two points of my instruction
and the subject of your reflection.

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The Holy Spirit is, first of all, the light that illumines us in our darkness;
strength in our weakness;
fire in our coldness.

We know by experience how much we have need of all these things,
since we are so immersed in shadows
that we see not even a single ray of light,
and nearly always we know not
what we are doing and where we are going.

So weak are we
that we are unable to carry out
even those things that we know God expects of us.

So cold are we towards God,
so little fervour do we have
and so low are our feelings.
that we are ashamed of ourselves.
See then how great is our need to receive the Holy Spirit.

But what must we do to keep the Holy Spirit?
Listen to what the Apostle Saint Paul says:
"My brothers, above all else I pray you and recommend
that you be very attentive not to grieve the Holy Spirit." (Eph 4:30)
And how can we grieve Him?
Let us listen to what He Himself says to the Spouse:
"Open to me, my sister,"
"Open to me my sister, my spouse." (Ct 5:2)
The Holy Spirit is always at the door of our heart:
let us be very careful not to shut Him out,
because this grieves Him.

In the little time that remains
we must train ourselves
to have a great will
and ardent desires to receive Him;
this will be how we open the door to Him.

But this is not enough.
It is necessary also to remove the obstacles
that may keep Him for entering.
And how?
By emptying ourselves of the spirit of the world
and of ourselves,
because two things opposed to each other
cannot subsist together;
that is that black can never become so white
as to have nothing of blackness left.

So it is with us.
Our soul will never be so bright
that all the blackness of sin will have gone out of it.
But we must empty ourselves
if we would be filled with the Holy Spirit;
in fact, he who would fill a vessel must empty it first.

And finally,
what must we do to receive the fruits of the Holy Spirit
and have Him abide in us?
Three things.
The first is humility.
Our Lord, in fact, when He was asked on whom
He would make His Spirit rest,
answered, upon one who is humble.

Let us therefore abandon all the thoughts that turn to our own interests,
to our self-love, and to our own judgment;
this is necessary if the we want the Spirit to live in us.

The second thing is a perfect submission to all that He wants of us.

And the third; the one that is highest,
the most excellent, and unfailing,
is abandonment.
If He wills that we be in health or in sickness,
we must will it;
in joy or in sorrow,
in labour or in rest,
in suffering or in enjoyment,
we must will it.

In the end, we must necessarily burn with this fire of the Spirit
in this world here below,
so as not to burn eternally in the fire of hell.

Make your choice: It is God who has said it.
Let us not cease from asking Him [for the Holy Spirit]
also because God says that if a child asks his father for something,
this will never be refused him.

And therefore, it is assured that we will be heard:
and it is this that I wish for you with all my heart.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Mother Mectilde du Saint-Sacrement (1614-1698)

3 Comments

Thank you for this profound and uplifting post.

Come O Holy Spirit and always remain in us for ever more!

Have a Blessed Sunday.

"To have a great will and ardent desires" - all lovely.
Thank you, Fr. Mark.

Thank you Fr Mark - so very much. I love this.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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