… AND YOU SHALL RENEW THE FACE OF THE EARTH
I remember fondly the religious education classes of my youth, in preparation for receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, and how we would begin each class with a prayer to the Holy Spirit:
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. Let us pray. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of Your faithful, grant that by that same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Oh, so many times we said that prayer, and how we shouted the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord! It became ingrained in my memory. As time went on and I became an adult and eventually ordained a priest, I’ve gone back to this powerful prayer quite frequently in my ministry. Very often, I feel as if the invocation of the Holy Spirit is my way of asking Him to show me the way, or to solve a problem ahead of me.
After the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the apostles kept to themselves, locked in the upper room. Why? It was out of fear of being killed! But when they received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, they were transformed and filled with the fire of love. They were created anew and fear for their future disappeared. While perplexed by what had happened to them during Pentecost, they left that locked room and went fearlessly throughout many regions, even many countries, spreading the fire of love by preaching the Gospel.
In moments of fear, confusion, and uncertainty, I feel the need to invoke the Holy Spirit and wait for Him to fill my heart; kindle in me the fire of love; renew my life and give me a fresh start. How about you? When God’s Spirit comes, like the apostles you may be perplexed. Yet, that is how the Spirit renews and transforms each of us.
After our transformation, we are called to be partners with God’s Spirit in renewing others and the face of earth by spreading the fire of love. Look! The face of the earth is tinted with divisions, violence, wars, refugees, crimes, poverty, broken families, and homelessness. The fire of love, enlightened by the Gospel renews remarkably the face of the earth. It doesn’t matter how many times we pray this powerful prayer, let us pray it personally, in our families, and in our faith communities asking God to send us the Holy Spirit, kindle in us the fire of His love and renew the face of the earth.