Friday, June 17, 2011

Go Ahead...Play with Fire!

(On spiritual pyromania)

Whether you prefer to think of this week as the beginning of the season of Pentecost or as Week 11 of Ordinary Time, there is still no better time to shout a loud “Come, Holy Spirit!” 
At the moment, I’m up to my eyeballs in last minute retreat preparations (see Blogger’s Note below) and so am too preoccupied to offer a treatise on how the Rule of Benedict regards the Third Person of the Trinity, but suffice it to say that our sainted patron is generally otherwise focused; he is much more honed in on Christ our Lord, our model, our protector, our Savior, our guide.  In fact, Benedict mentions the Holy Spirit only a scant three times.  Here are the references:

Ø  Prologue 11-12:You that have ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev 2:7).  And what does he say?  Come and listen to me, sons [and daughters]; I will teach you the fear of the Lord (Ps 34:12).”
Ø  7.70:  [on humility] “All this the Lord will by the Holy Spirit graciously manifest in his workers now cleansed of vices and sins.”
Ø  49.5-6: [on the observance of Lent] “During these days, therefore, we will add to the usual measure of our service something by way of private prayer and abstinence from food or drink, so that each of us will have something above the assigned measure to offer God of one’s own will with the joy of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess 1:6).”

We can deduce from these few pieces of evidence that Saint Benedict understood God the Holy Spirit in at least these ways:

Ø  As God speaking to us
Ø  As God calling us
Ø  As God teaching us
Ø  As God working in us
Ø  As God filling us with joy as we do the good work of self-denial for the sake of a deeper communion with God and with our sisters and brothers

Okay, so maybe the Rule does give us a fair amount of fodder for prayer and theological cogitation re: The Holy Ghost.  But I’m still not going to ramble on about it today.  Instead, allow me to serve up a complementary dish from our venerable tradition of Methodist hymnody.   This hymn by Andrew Reed (1787-1862) was included in the 1960 Methodist Hymnal, but for some reason did not make the cut for the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal.  (Life and editing are all about choices, I suppose.)  O come, great Spirit, come!
Grace be with you,

Spirit Divine, Attend Our Prayers

Spirit divine, attend our prayers
And make this house thy home;
Descend with all thy gracious powers:
O come, great Spirit, come!

Come as the fire, and purge our hearts
Like sacrificial flame;
Let our whole soul and offering be
To our Redeemer’s name.

Come as the dove and spread thy wings,
The wings of peaceful love,
And let thy Church on earth become
Blest as the Church above.

Spirit divine, attend our prayers
And make this world thy home;
Descend with all thy gracious powers:
O come, great Spirit come!

Blogger’s Note:
As mentioned above, Saint Brigid of Kildare Monastery will be holding our annual retreat next week.  I covet your prayers for the event; please know that you will be in mine.  It is my intention (the best laid plans of mice and monks!) to post a reflection and perhaps a picture or two every evening as a little taste of the gathering of saints.  It would be wonderful if we could all be together in one place, but we at least have the assurance that we are together in one heart.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, life and editing are about choices.

    Thanks for the reflection, Mary. Happy retreating!