I love the Holy Spirit. He is amazing. We are taught that the Holy Spirit is the Love between the Father and the Son. I used to marvel at the idea that the love between two Persons could be so powerful that another distinct Person could proceed from that Love. I still marvel at that reality despite participating in it and seeing not one but two persons proceed from the love between Katie and me. I’ve also been blessed to have the veil lifted at times to see something powerful proceed from the love between a father and son.

On the day Caleb was born, after spending some bonding time with mom, I went upstairs with him to the nursery where they did tests and took measurements. I remember standing there, looking down at Caleb with something new but familiar burning deep in my chest. There were certainly many emotions, as one might expect when a child is born. This particular birth was made a bit more emotional because we had just observed the 9th anniversary of our oldest child’s death. But this burning love inside as I looked at Caleb wasn’t just a feeling. It was like love stepped out of mere sentiment and showed what it truly was—a pure fire of will, totally unencumbered by fickle emotion. I borrowed a line from our Heavenly Father, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” I have had that same burning many times these last nine months.

I had it this morning as I left for work. Caleb was playing on the floor. I got down on all fours and put my forehead against his. I said, “I love you Caleb Maximilian, be good to mom today.” He grabbed my beard and gave me a sloppy drooly kiss (he’s still working on his technique). The burning in my heart returned once again. On my drive to work I thought about how the more emotional side of love was tugging at me to stay home, but the burning fire of will was urging me to go out. It calls me to go places and do things that are uncomfortable. Love as a function of the will is unselfish and agenda free.

This love, perfect and infinitely multiplied, is the Love from which the Holy Spirit proceeds. When we become docile to the Holy Spirit and remove obstacles to personal holiness miracles happen. Mary said yes to the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and the Son of God became man. When we allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow us Christ enters the world through us. Two thousand years ago, on the first Pentecost, a group of insignificant socio-economic nobodies received the Holy Spirit and, led by a wayward fisherman, brought the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church into the world. That same Holy Spirit dwells in us. That same burning fire of Love urges us out of complacency to the same bold, fearless faith.  What better gift can we give to the Church on her birthday than to echo Mary’s “Yes” to the Holy Spirit?

 

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