May 15, 2016 filed under Gifts & Fruits of the Spirit.

Heart in Fire and Water

Good habits of thought and action, called virtues, connect us with God. In fact, they make us like God. It’s a little scary to say that, but after all, daughters and sons are like their parents, and God is our heavenly Father. Saint Paul says that “all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Virtues such as faith, hope, and love are worth striving for because they, and they alone, make us more like God, who is Love.

Today is Pentecost, when we remember with awe the fire of the Holy Spirit rushing down to ignite the Apostles’ faith. The Holy Spirit is a described as a dynamic fire, but also as water — but not just any water. “Living” water, which means flowing water. Why flowing? Because standing water gets stagnant and icky. The Spirit is like spiritual water always refreshing us. A spiritual person is one who is open to the freshness of the Holy Spirit.

This week’s guest blogger, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386), said it beautifully three centuries after that first Pentecost:

“The water I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water, welling up into eternal life. This is a new kind of water, a living, leaping water, welling up for those who are worthy. But why did Christ call the grace of the Spirit water? Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water.

“Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one in the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation. It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it.

“In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as he wills. Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvellous.

“The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one man’s self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the needs of the body, trains another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same. In each person, Scripture says, the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common good.

“The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden, for he is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as he approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console. The Spirit comes to enlighten the mind first of the one who receives him, and then, through him, the minds of others as well.

“As light strikes the eyes of a man who comes out of darkness into the sunshine and enables him to see clearly things he could not discern before, so light floods the soul of the man counted worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit and enables him to see things beyond the range of human vision, things hitherto undreamed of.”

Love always,

10 Responses to “Fire and Water”

  1. Melody Atkinson

    What a beautiful reflection, today some of us from my Sodality are the Washington Retreat House. I remembered to wear something red for the Holy Spirit

    • Sr. Mary Grace, OP

      Dear Rose,

      Thank you for your inspirations words and quotes on this glorious day, also feastday for Sr. Mary Columba. I am so sorry we missed you and Theresa yesterday. Things happen beyond our control. Actually that is a good description of this transition time for us: for 9 years we have been much in control and now we release that to a higher purpose and control. Please plan a trip for you and Therese before we leave, which is a date undetermined as yet but now we are living in a monastery with big yellow stickers on almost everything here which means all of that will eventually end up where we end up. The cats could not tolerate a yellow sticker but they will definitely be coming. It’s exciting at the same time it is excruciating. Keep up the good work. SMG

    • Patti of the Holy Spirit

      Loved this missive, Rose. All you send are wonderful, but the Holy Spirit really gets me. If there is enough room on this, I will copy the 2 Holy Spirit novena prayers Jini and I said prior to the great day.
      Veni Sancte Spiritus
      O Holy Spirit come to me, become my interior Master. Prompt me in everything, remind me of all that Jesus said, guide me, take the direction of my whole being, help my weakness, provide for my insufficiency.

      Teach me to appreciate every least inspiration of yours! It is more precious than the entire world, even if it were but a very small inspiration such as holding back a word or a glance, because it is a little “calling”—an invitation to enter more deeply into divine intimacy. If I correspond to it faithfully, I grow in grace and love.

      Help me to avoid every slightest infidelity, every little hesitation to refuse something, then the light will go on growing, and love will become an abyss that cannot be sounded. But I know that in practice I shall often fall, and often be lacking.

      O God, let it not be willingly! But, You teach me that even in that case I must recover myself quickly and put myself at once under your influence with an act of love, without letting myself get troubled or discouraged, since your Spirit is sweet. Oh how sweet is your Spirit, O Lord!

      O Holy Spirit
      Replace the tension within us with a holy relaxation.
      Replace the turbulence within us with a sacred calm.
      Replace the anxiety within us with a quiet confidence.
      Replace the fear within us with a strong faith.
      Replace the bitterness within us with the sweetness of grace.
      Replace the darkness within us with a gentle light.
      Replace the coldness within us with a loving warmth.

  2. Jini Druliner

    Beautiful post Rose and, oh yes, the Guest Blogger is pretty darn good also! Thanks for sharing him with us.
    ‘Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of the faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy divine love. Pour forth Thy spirit and they shall be created and Thou shall renew the face of the earth.’

    Come, Holy Spirit come, our beloved country really needs to be renewed, please come Holy Spirit.

    • Rose Folsom

      Thanks, Jini. I love “connecting” you with all sorts of smart folks. You’ll be hearing more from our spiritual ancestors at Virtue Connection in the coming months.