Love and blessings to you on this Pentecost weekend brothers and sisters in Christ! What we celebrate and drink deeply of this weekend is one of the most beautiful mysteries of our faith: that God has given us the gift of Himself through the Holy Spirit. It’s quite phenomenal to think about: when someone is baptized, they truly receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and with the Spirit comes the Father & the Son; The Most Blessed Trinity! I’d like to focus on one particular aspect of the Holy Spirit in our lives, one life changing reality that I believe God wants us all to be more aware of: the smile of God the Father upon us.
In Galatians 4:6 we read: “as proof that you are children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out “Abba, Father!” The Holy Spirit helps us to know God the Father and His affection for us. What’s on our hearts (our thoughts, feelings and desires) usually effects our countenance, the palpable shadow you could say, that we each give off as we go from encounter to encounter. How we look at people matters doesn’t it? What our hearts are in touch with impacts what we give off, what we project.
When God was establishing the Old Covenant with Moses & the Israelites, he gave Moses these instructions: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Numbers 6:23-26) Now that is a remarkable, divinely designed blessing! In the blessing, the Lord wants to give his people the experience of knowing His face (which is to say His presence) shining upon them. It’s an expression of tremendous love, affection and favor…God’s face shining upon you. When we think about our faces shining, the image that quickly comes to mind is a smiling face, a face expressing joy.
Take it to the bank: the Father wants you to experience his delight in you, His favor and affection, His smile. The gift of the Holy Spirit that was given to the Church at Pentecost and to us at our baptisms gives us the real ability to not only experience, but to live in the gaze of our Father, who loves to make His face shine upon us. You can think of it as your upper room: the place in your heart (thoughts, feelings and desires) where you continue to pay attention to, experience, and honor what you value most: the presence of God in your life and the Father’s smile upon you. When we live out of that place, the upper room of our souls…we set the world on fire with divine love just like the apostles, with signs and wonders abounding!
God bless you, beloved!