Faith, Fear and Fire

Pentecost Sunday is a special day for our Sisters in the Australian province, which has the Holy Spirit as its patron. Our Sr Grace, who two years ago participated in a Biblical course at the Bat Kol Institute in Jerusalem, shares her thoughts and reflections on the readings for Pentecost Sunday, describing the encounter with the Holy Spirit as an experience of FAITH, FEAR and FIRE…

In the commentaries to the readings for Pentecost Sunday, she highlights the FAITH of the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit. The Spirit transforms them within and unites them as a community. But, she says, that doesn’t mean the story of Pentecost was perfect. The description in John’s Gospel of the doors being closed in the Upper Room emphasises the disciples’ FEAR – fear of persecution and death, fear of losing control, even fear of the Holy Spirit and what might happen to them. What we find is that while the disciples’ fear was difficult, it was also life-giving. And when the Holy Spirit comes, He comes in many ways, but significantly in FIRE.

Sr Grace concludes that just as God used the fear, weaknesses and limitations of the disciples to give them even greater gifts, so He does with us. She writes that having faith doesn’t mean we are without fear, but it means that we can find courage amid our fears and vulnerabilities. The fire of the Holy Spirit gives us courage to face our fears with faith.

Pentecost Sunday is an invitation to ponder the ways the Holy Spirit is present in our life and the ways we discover and use the gifts and fruits given to us through the sacramental life and personal relationship with God.

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