A happy and blessed Pentecost to you all!

This has always been one of my favorite feast days.  I love the story about how the Holy Spirit descended on Mary and the disciples, in a rush of wind and fire, and the people from all the different nations began to hear them preaching in their own native tongues.  All peoples were to be one.  It was the birth of the Church.  And the Holy Spirit sustains her life even now.

I think it can be easy for us to forget how close and how vitally important to us the Holy Spirit is.  He moves and works and relates to us in often ineffable ways.  But without Him, we could not share in God’s eternal life, for He is the breath of eternal life.

He gives life and power to the Sacraments.  As we hear in today’s gospel reading, He is the source of our priests’ ability to forgive sins:

…[Christ] breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

During the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest invokes the Holy Spirit to bless the bread and wine so that they may be transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ.

He helps, guides, and teaches us to live virtuous lives.

We should pray often to Him, thanking Him, asking for His blessings, and offering ourselves to Him.  There is the ancient and beautiful hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus.  In my Dominican community, we often prayer Cardinal Manning’s prayer to activate the Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Holy Spirit of God, take me as Thy disciple.
Guide me, instruct me, illuminate me.
Bind my hands, that they may do no evil.
Cover my eyes. that they may see evil no more.
Sanctify my heart, that evil may not dwell within it.
Be Thou my guide, be Thou my God!
Wherever Thou leadest me, I shall go.
Whatever Thou forbidest me, I shall renounce.
Whatever Thou commandest me, in Thy strength I shall do.
Lead me, then, unto the fullness of Thy truth.

Here are some more prayers to the Holy Spirit.