Pentecost

Today is one of my favorite days on the liturgical calendar:  Pentecost.  It’s the day the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles, to stay with them as a presence of God, just as Jesus promised before he ascended into Heaven (Acts 2: 1-11). The Spirit comes to them in the form of flames above their heads, and once the Spirit is within them, they can speak all different languages.  Thus, the Gospel can be proclaimed throughout the world.

See the tongues of fire?

I have always loved this story, but it was only when I was studying in Germany that I started to understand why.

In high school, speaking another language seemed like an almost insurmountable task, and I wasn’t sure I had a real motivation to do it.  When I was finally speaking German with other kids in college, I realized that I loved what this new language was teaching me about how people express themselves and about how another culture thinks.

There were a couple of places I wanted to visit while I was in Germany, one of which was Köln.  I’d been there for World Youth Day in 2005, and couldn’t wait to get back and spend more time in the beautiful cathedral.  It happened that the weekend I visited was that of Pentecost, so I had the bonus opportunity to celebrate the feast in the Kölner Dom.

Wow, right?

Wow, right?

I was figuring out some other things about my upcoming senior year that weekend, and in that cathedral and at that Mass, a couple of things started to come together.  I realized how my interest in World War II and the Holocaust, my back-burner interest in writing, and my love of music had led me to study German.  I also started to realize how studying that language was informing the way I thought about so much else.  And at the same time, it was becoming clearer that I needed to work with words and literature, however the future held that for me.

Beautiful!

I’ve explained before how that semester abroad taught me a lot about who I am and what I would do both now and in the future. It’s a blessing to have those moments when we see how the seemingly random things in our lives line up in a very neat way and point an arrow to where we need to go next.

In my faith, I recognize this sort of divine inspiration as an act of the Holy Spirit. It’s a feeling like, “Haven’t I known this all along, and how could I possibly do anything else?”  In the past few weeks, I’ve had a similar feeling of what’s next for me.  I’m not sure how I’ll get there, but I have a new faith in what I believe is ahead. Our little Peanut is certainly a part of that, and I’m finally feeling that writing is a part of it, too.

I’m not sure what form these things will take, but I know with a firm but gentle conviction that as St. Therese of Lisieux says, I am exactly where I am meant to be.

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2 Comments to “Pentecost”

  1. Congratulations having Jacob! Great story about him as a new baby. Your Pentacost post really made the point about how the Spirit moves us to do good deeds. I visited Germany the first summer after I graduated from college, and seized the opportunity to visit Dachau.I walked solemnly through the gas chambers and felt the horror and incredible sadness. The Holy Spirit must have helped many of the Catholics who were persecuted there for helping their Jewish brethren hide from the Nazis. Thanks for telling your story. I agree with St. Therese!

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