Spirituality for Today – May 2009 – Volume 13, Issue 10

Editorial – Come Wind and Fire

By Rev. Raymond Petrucci

Seemingly at a predetermined signal, all of nature bursts forth in the full regalia of its potential. Each year, in northern climes, the month of May hosts this spectacular event. Typically, this month contains the great feast of Pentecost: the birthday of the Church, of the Church's spiritual gifts, and of its evangelical mission. Unlike the natural world, the maturation of the human being - the faith community - takes considerably more time. The development of the mind, body, and spirit goes through stages that demand a leisurely approach to the digestion and appreciation of experiences. Full stature of the body is in nature the easiest and the earliest to attain. The fulfillment of an individual's spiritual and mental growth consumes the span of an entire life.

A photo of a wall of fire

One has the impression that there was nothing leisurely about the Pentecost event. The effect was that the followers of Christ were rushed swiftly and totally into the work of Church building. Calling this a "life-changing event" is a most modest way of describing the effect of the wind and fire of that day. Yet, no matter how forceful and pronounced the call of the Holy Spirit, the men and women of Christ freely had to choose to follow the lead of the Spirit into a wider and more demanding dimension of belief. Pentecost is about gifts and choices and the ends that they accomplish.

Awareness of having better things to do with their lives is the secret of immunizing our children against false values - whether presented on television or in "real life." The child who finds fulfillment in music or reading or cooking or swimming or writing or drawing is not as easily convinced that he needs recognition or power or some "high" to feel worthwhile.

– Polly Berrien Berends
Whole Child/Whole Parent

In his work, The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense, Mortimer Adler writes, "A good performance, like a human life, is a temporal affair - a process in time. It is good as a whole in being good in its parts, and through their good order to one another. It cannot be called good as a whole until it is finished." One's thought might turn to Saint Paul's images of living for Christ as running the race and fighting the good fight with a view toward the achievement of eternal reward. When the followers of John the Baptist queried Jesus as to his identity, he used the criteria for recognizing the Messiah found in the Old Testament. Jesus instructed them to tell John that the blind see, the lame walk, the dead rise, and the good news is being preached. The fruit being borne by the ministry of Jesus provides all the answer John needs.

While we cannot match the deeds of Our Lord, the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives can encourage us to make our unique mark, to bestow our personal gifts to our world. We can help the spiritually blind to see, the wayward to walk the righteous path, dead souls to rise in Christ - all by grasping the wind and fire of God's Truth and making the Good News manifest in our daily lives.