“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!