Our Distant Experience with the Holy Spirit

Dear Families and Friends,

There are those around us who have what we call a “contagious personality”. There is also something to be said for thinking and acting like those we surround ourselves with. On Tuesday of this week, I accepted an invitation from “the man, the myth, the legend”, Mr. Kevin Onnela, to join his weekly conversation on the radio. Mr. Onnela – although he says, just call me Kevin – is a staple in the local community and grandfather to our very own Taylor Goodspeed (6th grade student). I think he hit me with the talk radio bug, so please pardon me in advance.

After leaving the booth that morning, a sort of surprising self-revelation came up from within me, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the conversation. The conversation gave me a renewed sense of clarity and certainty.

Isolation is unnatural, but this agitation can lead to inspiration.

In these preceding days before Pentecost, our liturgical rhythm does not disappoint. For me personally, I cannot refuse the way the Holy Spirit works at all times. Just consider the very words of Jesus: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth."

If you want answers, go to the Holy Spirit, and answers will be provided. We should stop entertaining hypotheticals and instead look to what we know is true, lest we allow the anxiety that is both perceived and real to continue wreaking havoc on our humanity. Too many hypotheticals and we might miss what the Spirit of truth intends to reveal.

These are some answers I have been receiving in these times of certainty (well first the questions that we all hear in the meta-narrative, although they come to us in language sewn with dissent, divisiveness, and downright destructive overtones which prevents us from really seeing what we are all questioning):

We perpetually encounter competing notions of what is good and this remains the great conversation of humanity: How do we bring about what is good for the individual person and the good of all?

Our pursuit of an answer to this question ends in a distinction: Is this good we seek to achieve laced in superficial, somewhat transitory methods and purposes? Or, is this good we seek to achieve shaped by authenticity, steeped in meaning, and thereby suited for staying power?

The simplest question might be this: What is really good for us to do right now?

I remember a jest that is often made whenever young people attend some form of dance at a Catholic school or parish – “You have to leave room for the Holy Spirit.” Ironically, in these times of social distancing, there should be so much room for the Holy Spirit that Jesus’ promise ought to bring an ever-higher awareness of the truth about God and humanity.

When I start to think about living these words I tend to succumb to the smallness of myself and only muster, “Gosh, I hope I can see where the Spirit of truth is taking me.” It is intimidating but inspiring to think how much God really speaks to us in the silence and separation. Our distant experience becomes a time of increased learning, according to the very words of Jesus Christ.

Alas, the answers I hope the Spirit is saying; I suspect these are the answers because they do not originate from the worldly and overtly economic prism of everything happening right now.

  • We are all essential people; no one in God’s eyes is more essential than another
  • We are made for congregation not isolation
  • Because learning is essential (again – Jesus promises the Spirit of truth to lead us to truth), schools and homes are essential physical and spiritual places
  • We all have an internal radar of sorts to tell us when things are out of whack and therefore change is needed: this is the natural law God gave to the human heart
  • Human nature is what it is, and humanity cannot save itself; we need a divine savior more than anything we could in our minds plan for the prevention of potential calamity
  • The Holy Spirit elevates our nature to ascend to the certainty of life and love, this being the best way to limit the fears and anxieties that stunt us

Yes, we are all having a hard time in this distant experience. But I propose, yes, the Holy Spirit speaks always, and I pray that we all eagerly prepare to be properly disposed to His voice when he prods and points us to what we know with certitude.

Sometimes you feel it in your bones when you discover something so very true. I pray you feel it in your bones when you pray, when you play, and when you stay with your family. We are meant for something more than this. Nothing can take away our God-given humanity.

We invite you to join us in the novena to the Holy Spirit.

Yours truly in Christ,

Derek Tremblay