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2014-06-08 message

posted Jun 30, 2014, 4:43 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Jun 30, 2014, 4:43 PM ]

Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles; the fulfillment of Christ’s promise that He would send the Comforter upon them to endow them with power from on high for their ministry. To the apostles, the Holy Spirit was the Comforter because it alleviated the sorrow of Christ’s departure; it came upon them and confirmed the certainty of His words.

As we pray the “Heavenly King,” we call upon the Holy Spirit to be our own Comforter, to be present in our own lives, and to confirm to us the certainty of Christ’s words. As St. Silouan the Athonite says, “by the Holy Spirit we know the Lord.” We have received the Holy Spirit as a gift at our Chrismation, but the presence of the Spirit in us and the effect of that presence are dependent on our lives. Perhaps the most striking place where we see the connection between the way we live our lives and the presence of the Holy Spirit therein is the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, where the priest prays, “Do not take away the grace of Your Holy Spirit from these gifts presented because of my sins.”

This prayer is a reminder to us that, while God is “everywhere present and filling all things,” the freedom that He gave to us human beings means that we play an important role in the relationship He has with us. He is always loving, always waiting for us to turn to Him, but we have to make the decision to turn to Him, to follow Him, to invite Him, to open our lives and hearts to Him so that He may “abide in us, cleanse us of every impurity, and save our souls.”

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter