Silver and Gold at Pentecost

“We often feel that Christianity is not all it’s cracked up to be. This Pentecost, the Church provides a beautiful antidote to that sinking feeling, but it is easy to miss it.” Tom Hoopes


Today as we meditate upon the incomparable gift of the Paraclete, I was blessed with yet another gift, an answer to what I as a Catholic have long thought of as “Bono Syndrome” – you know, Bono, as in U2. The group will always be associated in my mind with the lyrics to their hit, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For:


I believe in the Kingdom Come

Then all the colours will bleed into one

Bleed into one.

But yes, I’m still running.

You broke the bonds

And you loosed the chains

Carried the cross of my shame

Oh my shame, you know I believe it.

But I still haven’t found

What I’m looking for….



Sadly, this has been the experience of many a believer. When Marx famously slurred religion as “the opium of the people,” he missed reality by a mile. For so many of us, our fervent belief in Christ and in His promises can be the source of a world of pain, as our hopes and dreams collide with His very human body.


To this, Tom Hoopes at The Gregorian Blog replies with a little-known prose version of the prayer many of us have been praying for the last 10 days:


Come, Holy Spirit, and from heaven direct on man the rays of your light.


Come, Father of the poor, come giver of God’s gift. Come, light of men’s hearts.


Kindly Paraclete, in your gracious visits to man’s soul, you bring relief and consolation. If it is weary with toil, you bring it ease; in the heat of temptation, your grace cools it; if sorrowful, your words console it.


Light most blessed, shine on the hearts of your faithful — even in their darkest corners; for without your aid man can do nothing, and everything is sinful.


Wash clean the sinful soul, rain down your grace on the parched soul, and heal the injured soul.


Soften the hard heart, cherish and warm the ice-cold heart, and give direction to the wayward.


Give your seven holy gifts to your faithful, for their trust is in you. Give them reward for their virtuous acts, give them a death that ensures salvation, and give them unending bliss.


Tom contends that Christians suffer from a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of God the Holy Spirit and of the grace He bestows. God, according to Tom:


…is not a narcotic and he is not a means of escape and he does not interfere with man’s freedom. …what he brings isn’t an artificial relief, but grace. Grace is not a peace drug…”


Go read it for yourself. May the Spirit rain down His grace upon our parched souls.



On the solemnity of Pentecost


Deo omnis gloria!

  1. Annette said:

    Dear Renee, Your blog has been an inspiration to me over the past two years. I have used some of your thoughts (eg. Why I don’t go to Mass) to spark discussion at a regular prayer/spirituality meeting I attend. I just wanted you to know that what you have written has been a particular blessing to a cradle Catholic who spent too many years as a Sunday-only-Catholic. May God bless you abundantly always. Annette (in Australia)

    • Thank you, Annette! Cradle Catholics have been such a blessing to me in various ways over these past 11 years – glad you have benefited from my thoughts!

  2. Haven’t you learned Italian by now? It’s been *weeks*!


    • Heck, I can’t even order a pizza yet!

      “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, mi ritrovai per una selva oscura ché la diritta via era smarrita.” Now, when I can talk like that, I’ll let you know….

      • In the middle of the journey of our lives, I came to myself in a dark wood, where the straight way was lost.

        You picked perhaps the only phrase in Italian that I know.

        And nobody talks like that nowadays. Pity.

        • “Essere cristiani non significa andare a Messa, festeggiare il Natale e la Pasqua. Essere cristiani è seguire Gesù, ma dobbiamo ricordarci che la sua strada non è la strada degli uomini, e il cammino è lungo e faticoso. Credetemi, ne vale la pena perchè il premio finale ci ricompenserà di tutte le sofferenze… L’amore di Dio riempirà il nostro cuore di gioia e…Scopritelo con me.”

          That’s the stuff I want to be able to understand.

          • You’d let that kind of stuff get in the way of blogging!?!

            OK, go ahead, we’ll wait.

  3. Ralph Bergmann said:

    Hi Renee,
    I can’t understand that Italian stuff! But notice you haven’t been blogging for a while. I hope you and yours are well and also hope that that you come back to the blogging world soon as I very much enjoyed them all. If not, I thank you for your wonderful blogs, they have been a real encouragement, education and inspiration to grow deeper with our Lord into our glorious Catholic faith. You continue to be in my prayers. 🙂
    God bless,

    • Thanks, Ralph, and thank you for all your encouragement over the past year and a half. Languages are my “thing,” so I’m really enjoying Italian!!

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