Come Holy Spirit


The Paschal candle

The Paschal candle burning on the altar will soon be extinguished and put away until next year. As Catholics we celebrate Easter until the Feast of Pentecost  “Pentecost Sunday” Our traditions are strongly rooted in the Book of Acts.

Imagine living in the time of Jesus, walking alongside Him, taking in all the spiritual lessons and being filled with the love of God. Then suddenly it’s all taken away from you; Jesus was no longer in your presence, but you are aware that something supernatural has taken place with His Resurrection. Prayer is the only recourse, and that is exactly what His followers did.

In the Old City of Jerusalem, located in the Jewish section, is the Upper Room. In this very room Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the apostles prayed continuously for nine days before the world first experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had many times introduced this doctrine to His disciples, but they were too spiritually inept to receive His message. In the Upper Room they were all praying in one accord when fire from heaven fell on them. It was a powerful movement that not only shook the room but the world.

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.

Early in the morning the city was filled with Jewish visitors who came from foreign lands to celebrate the Jewish Passover. At 9 a.m. the power of God fell upon them.  Many passersby thought that persons in the Upper Room were drunk, but Peter set them straight.

15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.

My Experience

After leaving the Catholic Church for a season, I had been part of a Pentecostal movement for years. Speaking in tongues was openly practiced at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Someone from across the room would start speaking in tongues, while on the opposite side came the interpretation. Strange as it sounded, I accepted this as part of the service. Personally I did not speak in tongues at that time but always wondered what it would be like. After returning to the Catholic Church I joined a lay group that was really into the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.  When I first  experienced this, my heart was beating out of my chest. I heard the leader say, “Don’t think about it, just loosen your tongue, allowing the spirit of God to flow.” I felt pressured because nothing was coming out of my mouth. I did not want to pretend that I was speaking in tongues, so I remained quiet. It took several months for me to receive this gift.  The sound of praise as sung in tongues is the closest to what I imagine angelic praise music is like. Whenever I am anxious and cannot pray, I pray silently in tongues; it’s a gift that calms my spirit in knowing that I am communicating with God. Unlike Pentecostal Christians, Catholics are more subdued about this private language between them and God. As for me, it is a holy language between me and God; if I pray in tongues publicly, it is always in a small prayer group.

The MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Before going in for an MRI to be examined for a torn meniscus,  I was praying  in the Spirit (tongues). The technician told me that the procedure would last 15 minutes. The last time I had an MRI it lasted 30 minutes. “Is it still a loud banging noise?” I asked. “I’m afraid so,” she answered. She gave me some large  earphones and asked if I wanted to hear music during the procedure. Without thinking I said yes, but I requested Christian music. I started to pray again when this ridiculous rap music started! It was as if it was in unison with the banging of the MRI machine. I wanted to yell for the technician to come back in and turn off this unwanted noise, but I was trapped. The only relief was that it was Christian rap. Thank the good Lord that the 15 minutes went by fast. When the technician returned she asked, “Was that rap music you were listening to?” Yes, I answered! She apologized for the annoyance. Before I left I asked if I could take a picture of myself near the MRI machine. She explained that that was against their regulations but that I could take a picture outside the door. I took two quick pictures and left.

The image of Our Lady

The following day, while scrolling through my pictures, I came across the picture of the dreaded MRI machine. I’m always aware of my surroundings, so before I set my leg into the huge machine, my eyes scanned the entire room. Looking up was a plastic mural of trees with orange leaves with a peek of a blue skyline, and to the right were two windows. It was 7 a.m. on a gloomy morning, but when I pulled up this picture on my phone something popped up! I could see the image of  Saint Pio of Pietrelcina  (Padre Pio) and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first window. I showed it to my daughter Sonja, who said, “Mom, there is nothing there. What are you talking about?” It bothered me a little that she could not experience what I’d envisioned. Later that night while we were having dinner, I showed it to her again, but at a different angle. She excitedly shouted out, “I see her! I see her!” In all honesty  I understand that these images are a sign to some; but to others it can come across as problematic. I received it as a sign from God that Mary was watching over me and Padre Pio was interceding on my behalf.

Padre Pio, middle of the window

The Great Commission

There were so  many holy inscidents in the Upper Room that day. The power was handed over to the apostles, and on that particular day Peter ministered to both Jews and Gentiles, baptizing and converting over 3,000 believers.(Acts 2:41)  After much prayer, lots were cast and Matthias was chosen as the new apostle. (Acts 1:23-26) The great commission was in full force and nothing could stop the fire of the Holy Spirit. The fear that the Apostles  felt after experiencing Jesus’ death had turned into boldness, and the fire within them could not be quenched. We, too, have this gift when we pray for others, when we lay hands on the sick, and when we believe God for the impossible. The Holy Spirit should be guiding us in every area of our lives. This is the same message the apostles were sharing almost 2,000 years ago, and it has not changed because the Word of God has not changed.

We celebrate Pentecost because it is also the birthday of the Catholic Church; the Apostle Peter became our first pope.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, thank You for sending down Your Holy Spirit. May we always protect this precious gift and never take it for granted. Lord, use us to do the work You commissioned for apostles. Send us out, Lord. Amen

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