Liturgical Time

There came the sound of a great wind

One of the great things about spring is sleeping with the windows open. There is something comforting about hearing the sounds of nature while settling in for the night or being awakened by them in the morning. I wonder if that one particular bird, who wakes me most mornings, realizes the part it plays in my life.

A few nights ago, just after three a.m., I was awakened not by my feathered friend but by the animated expression of Acts 2:2, “Suddenly from the heavens there came the sound of a great wind”. At first I was not alarmed by the sound of gusting wind, as the windows were open only a crack and there was no sound of rain, but after a minute I leapt out of bed and ran outside. You see, the spring tradition of growing cosmos flowers from seeds was in full swing, using seeds collected from last year's blooms. My concern was that the twenty flats of soil and seed, which are usually grateful recipients of the gift of God’s sunlight and rain, would be too light for such a strong wind and be blown away.

Sometimes symbolized as wind, the Holy Spirit has been on my mind lately. The traditional celebration of its arrival on Earth will soon bring to an end this year’s memorable pandemic-influenced Easter season. Maybe this year Pentecost also brings the message that it is time to adapt to a new kind of ordinary. An excerpt from the writings of Saint Irenaeus, part of the Office of Readings on Pentecost, tells about life-giving water and the sending of the Holy Spirit:

"This was why the Lord had promised to send the Advocate: he was to prepare us as an offering to God. Like dry flour, which cannot become one lump of dough, one loaf of bread, without moisture, we who are many could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water that comes down from heaven. Like parched ground, which yields no harvest unless it receives moisture, we who were once like a waterless tree could never have lived and borne fruit without this abundant rainfall from above. Through the baptism that liberates us from change and decay we have become one in body; through the Spirit we have become one in soul."

May we call on the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help us as we find our way to ordinary time.

Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God – Rule of Benedict 43:3

Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus, bishop (130 - 202 AD)