Spirit within makes us all a ‘Pentecost’ people capable of greatness

Published: September 6, 2006

By Deacon John Marschewski

Growing up in eastern Arkansas, I had wonderful Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (Sister Louis Joseph, Sister Maude Michelle, Sister Catherine Louise and Sister Louise Frances) who gave me a solid foundation in my Catholic faith for which I am forever grateful. However, while I am sure it was there, I do not recall much about the Holy Spirit.

As I get older, what I continue to better understand is the critical importance of God’s gift to each of us in the Holy Spirit. In Paul’s letter to the Christian community at Corinth (1 Corinthians 2:11) we hear “… no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.” In John’s Gospel, (14:7) Jesus, as he prepares to leave us here on earth, tells us … it (the Holy Spirit) remains with you, and will be in you.”

The Holy Spirit will keep leading us to the truth and will keep unveiling the “mystery” of Jesus. Pope John Paul called the Holy Spirit the “hero” — the leading character of the Church — the one who “stirs” not just through some “emotional” encounter, but through the continual deepening of our understanding of Jesus’ message given to everyone in the human race.

Though not our typical Catholic language of today, I have come to believe that the Lord and our Catholic Church are telling each one of us we are a “Pentecost” person. As a “Pentecost” person, the Holy Spirit helps us deal with the ups (joys) and downs (crosses) of life. Our Church teachers, our sacraments and our prayers are constantly planting seeds of the Holy Spirit.

For me one of those small “seed plantings” occurred just a few weeks ago. Father Don Tranel, pastor at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Booneville, gave us the challenge “to celebrate life rather than tolerate it.” To not only celebrate life when we are experiencing good things in our lives like the birth of a healthy child, or reconciliation of a troubled marriage, or healing from alcohol addiction, but also to celebrate life when the doctor tells us we have cancer, or we learn our best friend has a rare incurable disease, or we are let go from our job of 30 years.

As a Pentecost people, the Holy Spirit is constantly calling us to action. However, don’t we often say, what can I as one person do? Let me give you an example of what one person’s actions were able to accomplish. Recently I read in a Catholic publication a beautiful story about how one man, who stood only one-half mile from ground zero of the atomic blast in Nagasaki, Japan in 1945, took the tremendous devastation that was all around him and through forgiveness rather than bitterness changed the lives of so many.

How, in the six years the young doctor lived after that day, he worked to heal rather than hurt; save lives rather than destroy lives; one catholic man, a “Pentecost” person. Therefore, God says to us he loves us no matter where we are in doing his will, but he wants more for us.

He wants us to be less judgmental, but still live his message; to be more loving, but not compromise his truths; to be more compassionate, but not run from tough decisions; constantly listening, more and more, to the Holy Spirit within us, becoming more and more a Pentecost person.