Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Faith Seeking Understanding for June 4, 2006

Every year on the Solemnity of Pentecost the Church in Detroit rejoices in a special way at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, because of the annual priestly ordinations that have just taken place. Yesterday, three transitional deacons, Charles Fox, Don Lacuesta, and Hoang Chi Lam, were ordained Catholic priests for the Archdiocese of Detroit. The Vigil of Pentecost provides an excellent backdrop for the grace of priestly ordination, and rich subject for meditation as we celebrate the graces given to the Church through these new priests. Every ordination is also a moment to continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood, recalling the sacrifice and dedication required to bring the sacraments to the Church, particularly of the Eucharist and Penance.

Pentecost furthermore recalls to our minds and hearts the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Fortitude, Counsel, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. In responding to these gifts, we live out our primary vocation as Christians, that is as the Second Vatican Council says, the “universal call to holiness”. This teaching is most clearly articulated in the Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, chapter five. We read, “this holiness of the Church is unceasingly manifested, and must be manifested, in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful; it is expressed in many ways in individuals, who in their walk of life, tend toward the perfection of charity, thus causing the edification of others” (LG, 39).

The graces of Pentecost Sunday, in particular, call our attention to a renewed commitment to this universal vocation, whether in middle school, high school, or college, whether single or married, whether working or retired, clergy or laity, man or woman, each Christian is empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a life of sanctity. Such holiness manifests itself in our family life, in our business practices, in countless daily decisions, and in our life of prayer. As the Council continues, “all Christ’s faithful, whatever be the conditions, duties and circumstances of their lives-and indeed through all these, will daily increase in holiness, if they receive all things with faith from the hand of their heavenly Father and if they cooperate with the divine will. In this temporal service, they will manifest to all men the love with which God loved the world” (LG, 41).

What is the source for this life of holiness? How are we to live such Christ-centered lives, with the temptations and trials that surround us? Pentecost gives us the answer, as the Council teaches: “God pours out his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us” (LG, 42). God, Who is Love, accomplishes His work in the world through His Church; we are strengthened and empowered for this task by the gift of the Holy Spirit to each of us. We receive the Spirit for the first time at Baptism, we are sealed in His gifts at Confirmation, and continually renewed in the Spirit through Penance and the Eucharist.

“Indeed, in order that love, as good seed may grow and bring forth fruit in the soul, each one of the faithful must willingly hear the Word of God and accept His Will, and must complete what God has begun by their own actions with the help of God’s grace. These actions consist in the use of the sacraments and in a special way the Eucharist, frequent participation in the sacred action of the Liturgy, application of oneself to prayer, self-abnegation, lively fraternal service and the constant exercise of all the virtues” (LG, 42).

But for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such a task would be impossible. Thanks be to God, however, that He gives us all the necessary graces to follow His commandments and to live a life of holiness. Only by His grace can we live His life on earth, and share in eternal life, to which we are all called. We implore the Holy Spirit today:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy Love.

Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray. O God, who does instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant us, in that same Spirit, to be truly wise and to ever rejoice in His consolations, through Christ our Lord. Amen.