Sunday, May 19, 2013

A rushing wind

These days I often sit outside at night to pray.  The back yard is cloistered by summer's greenery, and should there be a full moon, it will be perfectly framed between the enormous cypress and my neighbor's unimaginably tall apple tree.  The view is lovely, but it's the soundscape that I find most attractive.  Though I live more than a mile and a half (as the bird flies) from a major highway, at night I can hear the traffic rush by, like a river just at the edge of my awareness.  The sound of the wind rustling through the tall trees far above my head always makes me think of the Spirit, ever stirring the pot, even when I can't otherwise feel or see her movements.

This morning at Mass, in the silence after the homily, I realized that behind me I could hear a once familiar sound in my life:  tiny cars being pushed along a wood surface.  The young gentleman was being (for such a young gentleman, he might have been all of two) very quiet, but in this acoustically lively space, still audible.  This, I realized, was the sound of the Spirit, rushing in to build up the Church.

I could hear, too, the off the cuff comments of the man who still faithfully comes to Mass with his wife, despite his progressing dementia.   He is not a fan of the silence, grumbling today, "Why doesn't the lector just get on with it!" and can't remember the words to the new translation.  Fr. Dennis' chanted "The Lord be with you," garners a firmly spoken "And also with you." He is a sign of the ways in which this moment is firmly anchored into all those other celebration of the Eucharist, all the way back to the first.  He may not get the silence, but Peter didn't get the washing of the feet, either.   This translation, that translation; we are still Church and the Lord is with us, as it was in the beginning, is now and forever will be.  This is the sound of the Spirit, praying in us when we can no longer find will or words.

The Spirit gives us ears to hear what those we might prefer stayed home to "watch the Mass on TV" or were in the cry room have to say to us.  We are all Church, we are all living stones, we require each other.

For another take on the how to hear Pentecost, read Fran's thought provoking reflection at There Will Be Bread: I believe in the Holy Spirit...and other annoyances.


  1. So beautifully expressed! I was at church for 6 Masses this weekend as the RCIA Team was hosting a Pentecost celebration. One of the gifts I received was the incredible sense of community as there are so many people I don't see very often because we all go to Mass at different times. What a wonderful gift the community of Christ is to each other! The Holy Spirit is truly present. Thank you for this reflection.

  2. Love this. I need to open my ears and take note.

  3. Thank you for this.