May 20, 2016


Pentecost reminds us that we are never alone

We’re more than halfway through May in Indiana, and while the early focus of the month was on the Democrat and Republican primaries held throughout the state, many of us are now getting ready for high school graduations and, of course, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

But as Catholics, we also identify every May as a month of Mary, and this year, celebrated the Feast of Pentecost in our parishes on the weekend of May 14-15.

Coming 50 days after Easter and only days after the Ascension of Our Lord, Pentecost marks the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. For that reason, it is often called the “the birthday of the Church.”

While a birthday marks a milestone, graduation offers a time to reflect on what’s been accomplished and what awaits a person in their next chapter of life.

As high school graduates move into unchartered territory in the coming weeks, months and years, we can pray that the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit—wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord—accompany them on their journey.

Pope Francis reminded us on Pentecost that the gift of the Holy Spirit also gives us the grace to conduct ourselves as children of God, and brothers and sisters to each other.

“The central purpose of Jesus’ mission, which culminated in the gift of the Holy Spirit, was to renew our relationship with the Father, a relationship severed by sin, to take us from our state of being orphaned children, and to restore us as his sons and daughters,” he said on May 15 during Pentecost Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“The Spirit is given to us by the Father, and leads us back to the Father,” Pope Francis said. “The entire work of salvation is one of ‘regeneration,’ in which the fatherhood of God, through the gift of the Son and the Holy Spirit, frees us from the condition of being orphans into which we had fallen.

“We were made to be God’s children,” he continued. “It is in our DNA.”

As people of faith, we understand that being the Creator’s children means allowing the grace of the Holy Spirit to help us concretely live out our love for God and others.

And as his disciples, we must demonstrate that love in all we do.

“Love for a person, including for the Lord, is demonstrated not with words, but with actions,” Pope Francis said after reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer with visitors to St. Peter’s Square on May 15.

“Being Christian is not principally about belonging to a certain culture or adhering to a certain doctrine, but rather binding your life, in every aspect, to the person of Jesus and, through him, to the Father,” the Holy Father added.

Graduates and each of us would do well to remind ourselves that we are a family of faith facing growing trials. We only need look at religious groups challenging the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive, sterilization and abortifacient mandate and the ongoing struggles concerning end-of-life issues to understand that our faith and its tenets are being continually tested.

And despite all this noise and chaos surrounding us in today’s ever-increasing secularistic world, we must make time to slow down and allow the Spirit to work through us—not in our time, but in God’s time.

Just as important, we must never forget that though we profess our faith inside our churches, we are called to live it out in the world.

The mission we are charged with is not easy by any means, but Pentecost reminds us that we are never alone.

—Mike Krokos

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