July 6, 2005 - Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit

1 Cor 12, 3b-7.12-13; John 14, 23-29

Abbey of Butende, Uganda


H o m i l y


            When we pray in order to have the lights of the Holy Spirit, in some important moment either of our personal or our community life, we easily hope to receive from God some clear signs, some clear indications about what he wants us to do.  Now, if we carefully listen to what Jesus said to his disciples in the Gospel text we just read, what we should be asking for and what we should be expecting is something much deeper and much more intimate than an exterior sign or even an internal voice.  It is the communion with God.


            These words of Jesus to his disciples were uttered during the Last Supper he had with them.  He was going to depart from them shortly, and he knew that they would have to face difficult situations and to make decisions full of consequences.  He told them:  “ If anyone loves me...” This is the first condition, without which nothing can happen.  This is the reason why saint Benedict says that in the monastery “nothing should be preferred to the love of Christ”. “If anyone loves me, he says, he will keep my word” that is, will remain faithful to my word.  To keep the word is not simply to obey some precepts, but to keep in one’s heart that word of the One we love, to dwell on that word.  Then the Father will love us in turn.  He and His son will come and make their dwelling in us – dwell in us.


            When there is that contemplative union between God and us, we see everything – the persons and the things – with God’s eyes, and we spontaneously make the decisions that correspond to God’s plan on us, on our community, on the Church and on the world, almost without having to think about it.  It has become a natural reflex.


            It is the same reality that Jesus describes in other words a few lines further in our text, when he says to his disciples that he will send them the Holy Spirit, the Defender, who will teach them everything.  That Holy Spirit is nothing else than the love that unites the Father and the Son and that unites us to God.  It is the love that he speaks about when he says :  “The Father will love you and we will come and make our dwelling in you.”


            Dear sisters, as we begin this Visitation, the most important thing for you is to open your hearts to God’s love and words and to let yourselves be penetrated by his presence.  Then you will see each one of your sisters with God’s eyes.  You will love them as God loves them. You will also see your community with God’s eyes and, with joy – this joy that Jesus mentions also in today’s Gospel – you will see the talents and the charismas given by God to each one for the edification of the body of the community.


            During this celebration, let us pray for one another, so that God may fill each one of us of his presence and his love.