Catholic

Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Pentecost 2020

50 days after Easter we celebrate Pentecost. In commemoration of the first Pentecost. Reading the passage it always has an other worldly feel to it, rushes of wind, tongues of fire and amazing feelings and sensations running through the disciples from sadness to hyper happiness to being bale to speak in toungues, all in the space of a Holy Spirit whoosh. Acts 2 1-11;

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them….

As I drove to church today I drove past some pretty poppies and they made me think of tongues of fire dotted against the green grass. But they swayed gently in the breeze and were so peaceful, and that made me realise the past few months and weeks, this particular Easter season, was a gentle Holy Spirit season, no whooshes or fiery tongues. But the Fruits of the Holy Sprit were our saving graces. These fruits were indeed sensed and practiced, love, peace. No manic preparations and hectic celebrating, no sudden highs from super lows, but lots of fruits none the less.

So as we celebrate Pentecost today and pray for the Holy Spirit let us be aware of these fruits and grow them as they will serve us and others all the days of our lives. As we receive the Holy Spirit le us cultivate these fruits and become better people for it.

Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Fruits of the Spirit
St Augustine Holy Spirit Prayer

Blessed Happy Pentecost Everyone!!!

Modesty and Sunday Best

eucharist photo
Photo by michael_swan

Crystalina Evert wrote a tweet. It was challenging women to not dress as if they’re going out to a club when they are going to mass. Modesty always makes people defensive for some reason. I was quite surprised by the comments and the replies. Most of them were geared towards “at least they are there”, or that we shouldn’t judge a person’s dress. They totally missed the point.

Do we actually believe in the Eucharist? If we did, would it not take us hours to prepare in order to be ready to enter the presence of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords? Why is it ok for us to come not at our best, but to give the Lord the dregs? Have you seen priests vest for the mass? If not ask to do so one day and see how each article of clothing has significance and importance. We too must vest when we come to mass, physically in our dress and spiritually as we prepare for worship.

If I can plan for a date, plan how to dress to impress and even if I will be rushing from work I can plan to look good, why can I not do that for mass? If I have sport before mass why not carry in my kit bag pair of slacks, a dress, something I can quickly change into before going to mass? Why do we give the excuse that well I was doing this and I was doing that so I did not have time to be ready for mass? It means that whatever else we were doing is way more important than mass by far. Because if the mass was important I would prepare for mass and align everything else around it not the other way around.

The excuse that it doesn’t matter what we are wearing at least we are there… has mass attendance become a Numbers Game? Does it not matter to be in the right right mood, to have the right preparation? Is attendance ‘no matter how badly done’ all that matters? Mass is communal prayer, not individual prayer, so it’s not about me but about the Body of Christ.

Modesty in dress and wearing our Sunday Best, it all still has a place. The Western and westernized world for some reason thinks that Come As You Are means Come as Badly as You Possibly Can. Not so! It is about realising our failings but still putting our best foot forward. If we dress up for work, for school, for the governor, for the queen, to impress, to fit the occasion, then why is mass an afterthought when it comes to this? Parents instruct their kids, “hey it’s cold outside wear a  jersey, swimming in jeans won’t work, that suit is better for an interview”, and yet feel for some reason ill-equipped to do the same for mass. We need to do the right thing, not do what is popular. I can tell you now at an African mass if you cam in wearing butty riders one of the mhamhas will give you a wrapper to cover up. If when we visit Rome we make sure to cover up when entering the Cathedrals, then we can do the same for our home parish.

Dress well for mass to show that you have put thought into the event, the celebration the Eucharist, that you are going to be attending. Dress meaningfully in order to teach those around you how important the mass is. Suit the occasion, you are after all going to be meeting your Redeemer, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This should be the most important hour of your week. We can sacrifice our comfort clothes surely for an hour or two? It should not be how badly can I do something and it still be acceptable, it should be how well can I do it. The widow with two coins brought her best, we are called to do the same.  It’s not about being archaic, it’s about showing our faith outwardly to the world, and about preparing ourselves inwardly for the Lord who saves us.

In thought…

thought photoWhat have you done in your thoughts? I’ve done a lot ‘in thought‘. Every Sunday, well most Sundays, we say the Penitential Rite and the usual prayer used is the Confiteor, i.e. the “I confess”. It starts

“I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do…”

And the thought part just got me going. I mean who has control over their thoughts? It’s hard enough to remember when I’ve done wrong on spot now I gotta remember the thoughts too? Truth be told, I probably murder and disembowel some people in my thoughts. I don’t think it will ever spill over to real life but it made me wonder. Why is it so much harder to control my thoughts? Why is it so much harder to also feel sorry for them? Why confess them?

It’s true the more I dwell on a thought the more likely it manifests. I either will then say it, do it or see it. So comes in the skill of having mastery over my wayward mind. I have an extremely loud and noisy neighbour. It’s meant that I’ve been out of the house I pay rent for, more than I am in it, squatting at friends and neighbours. Midnight brawl like sounds are not unusual and so the place feels unsafe. In my mind, I tell him off and am so not charitable.

One way I’ve been trying to be a bit more in touch and to make sure that my mind better governed is by doing the Examen. The result is that I am now more aware of my thoughts when they occur, and I am more aware of the thoughts I should not be having. As a further result, I have become a bit more contrite for them.

But till the time such thoughts will no longer come to my mind, I will be one of those fervently repeating that part of the Confiteor and doing a mind cringe as I think of the person I dressed down so uncharitably in my grey matter… noisy neighbours top of the list…. in thought…