The title is tongue-in-cheek but it is a realization I have recently come to in my spiritual life.
I don’t know about you but I am the type of reader that when I find an author I enjoy I try to get my hands on and read every book he or she has written. My current favorite author is Raniero Cantalamessa and I have read a number of his books already and am currently reading, “Come, Creator Spirit: Meditations on the Veni Creator”. Cantalamessa, a long-time supporter of the charismatic movement, has a wealth of knowledge regarding Church history and spirituality. He writes with a confident ease and in the above mentioned book he demonstrates the ever-present reality of the Holy Spirit in the life of the disciple and the Church. I have never viewed myself as a “charismatic” – in terms of my own spirituality – but the truth is that every christian, by right of his or her baptism, is a charismatic. The Holy Spirit is present, calling forth and creating new life.
One interesting side-note that I have learned in my writing and studying of icons is that in Orthodox thought the color most often connected with the Holy Spirit is green and not necessarily the red that we tend to picture in our western Christian minds. If we recall the words of the Creed we might see the connection more clearly. In the Creed we profess, “…we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life…”. Green is the ever present color of life – just take a moment outside and look around. It is present in a multitude of different shades and hues and it reflects the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Below are some quotes from Cantalamessa’s book that I find worthy of reflection:
“…the Holy Spirit infuses in us not only “the gift of God,” but also the ability and the need to give ourselves. From the Spirit we “catch,” so to say, the very qualities of what he is in himself. The Spirit is “self-giving,” and in whomever he touches, the Spirit creates a dynamism that leads that one, in turn, to be a self-giving gift to others.”
Here, Cantalamessa quotes Diadochus of Photike,
“Before a person comes to be baptised, grace is at work, from without, encouraging the soul toward the good, while Satan is at work, from within. After baptism, the contrary is the case. Grace works from within and the demons from without. These continue their work, and work even more evilly than before, but not as present together with grace. The only way they can work is through the promptings of the flesh.”
“And so it is with the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ which is the Church. The Spirit is to the Church what the human soul is to the human body. The Spirit is the principle that moves and inspires the whole. What then would be the conclusive sign that one has received the Holy Spirit? To speak in tongues? To work miracles? Not, not those, but to love the unity, and to know that you are firmly committed to living in union with the Church…”
This coming Sunday, our diocese will begin the “Called by Name” process. This is a three week process where we as a diocese reflect on the calling to vocation – specifically lives of service in our Church. Each parish will be participating and will be conducting various activities these next few weeks plus praying intentionally for vocations to priesthood, religious life and the permanent diaconate. For these three weeks I have decided to pray the “Come, Creator Spirit” each day for our diocese and for vocations. I invite you to join with me in this prayer.
Come, Creator Spirit
Come, Creator Spirit,
visit the minds of those who are yours;
fill with heavenly grace
the hearts that you have made.
You who are named the Paraclete,
gift of God most high,
living fountain, fire, love
and anointing for the soul.
You are sevenfold in your gifts,
you are finger of God’s right hand,
you, the Father’s solemn promise
putting words upon our lips.
Kindle a light in our senses,
pour love into our hearts,
infirmities of this body of ours
overcoming with strength secure.
The enemy drive from us away,
peace then give without delay;
with you as guide to lead the way
we avoid all cause of harm.
Grant we may know the Father
and come to know the Son as well,
and may we always cling in faith
to you, the Spirit of them both.