The Light in our Hearts
By Jasmine, Companion of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine
When I was asked to write a blog post on the Holy Spirit and the Pentecost experience, I have to confess my limited knowledge about the spirit, in that I cannot fully explain who she is in any of the languages I know. (I like to consider the Holy Spirit as a female figure) I know that she testifies to God, that she helps us understand God’s word and that she is the counselor. She has a lot of roles (she is definitely overworked), and we like to describe her as wind, fire, and the light of our heart.
To me, she is always the quiet presence in my heart, sometimes mischievous but always carefree and mysterious. Sometimes I think of her as one of the squirrels in the backyard of the convent, hiding and replanting some of our tulip bulbs. Or maybe she is like one of our trees, giving shade to the sisters sitting and resting in the garden. Or perhaps she is like the sun, giving us light to see clearly around our world, as C.S Lewis has said. Due to my sinfulness and stubbornness, I sometimes I find it hard to take risks and respond to her call and nudges.
All of this makes me ponder how the apostles built their relationship with the Holy Spirit when Jesus ascended to the Father. They had said goodbye to Jesus, (yes, separation is hard…); they had waited and prayed unceasingly for the promise to come. Waiting is hard, especially when the apostles had not yet experienced who the Holy Spirit is. But they faithfully trusted in Jesus’ last words. Ten days later, the Holy Spirit made her dramatic entrance as the strong wind sweeping into the house and blessed the apostles with different gifts in order to fulfill God’s plan.
During this unexpected waiting time caused by the pandemic, things feel uncertain and every change is rapid. I wish that things could be back to the normal routine where I can visit patients in the hospital, take part in the mandarin ministry and have friends come for a visit at the convent. The waiting period seems endless. But I am sure that the Spirit of God is still at work. She hears our prayers, she gives us consolations and encouragements, she holds people together in creative ways etc. She may talk to us in different ways, maybe in a whisper, through scripture or through people around us. Although the world changes fast, the Holy Spirit does not change. She is constantly working throughout the ages, from the creation story to the present moment and on into the future. The waiting period is hard, yet there will be a transformation through the crafting of the Spirit.
There is a candle hanging from the ceiling in the chapel that is never extinguished. Often times I like to stare at it and meditate on it during Thursday morning contemplative prayer. Yes, the Holy Spirit is always there just as the chapel candle light is, sending us the gentle invitation: Will you trust and surrender yourself to me?
Veni lumen Sancte Spiritus. May the light of the Holy Spirit shine upon us.