Come, O Holy Spirit, Come!
These simple words begin the ancient Sequence for Pentecost, when we beg for the promised Spirit and Power of Christ to fill our lives. We eagerly await the Spirit’s light, wisdom, understanding, and the many gifts and fruits that we associate with life in the Spirit.
There are several lines in a version of the Sequence that I find particularly thought-provoking…
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Thy dew,
Wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
These words above express our desire for the Spirit’s help in dealing with our weaknesses. We are sincere in our request for knowledge and the healing which follows, but the Spirit’s gift might at first surprise us with light but little comfort.
Through various avenues—conversation with friends, the news we read or hear, sudden insights—the Spirit sheds light on things we never realized about ourselves. When we are open to God’s grace, it is often in the everyday encounters in our lives—the uncomfortable relationship that elicits misunderstanding, the sharp remark, simple thoughtlessness—that we feel a nudge from the Spirit that enables us to a change of heart.
The Spirit opens the eyes of our hearts to reflect on these unconscious realities and comes, not as a judge or a prosecutor, but as a friend – sometimes gentle, sometimes fierce, but always loving.
We slowly see and reflect, pray and discern. We grow in understanding of ourselves, and patience and gentleness with ourselves and with others. Along the way, we discover a strong friend and advocate in the Spirit who continues to enlighten us and helps us grow in age and grace.
And so, the Sequence concludes –
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen. Alleluia!