Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pentecost Sunday, June 6, 2017

There is an old joke of a mother who asked her little girl what she was drawing. When the girl said it was a picture of God, Mom said, “But nobody knows what God looks like.” The girl answered, “They will when I’m finished.” Most of us grew up with a picture of God the Father as an old man with a white beard, and it is easy for us to picture Jesus from his earthly life. But the Holy Spirit is harder for us to envision. We see Him in His scriptural image as either a tongue of flame or a dove, and it is not as easy to relate to those images. Yet the Holy Spirit is with us at every moment, guiding us in all that we do.

This Pentecost is an opportunity for us to stop and realize how often the Holy Spirit has inspired us, protected us or even given us a gentle nudge in the right direction. A few years ago, I had a friend come to the parish I was stationed in at the time for an evening of reflection with the Confirmation class. His theme was “Coincidence or the Holy Spirit?” He talked about some moments when he “just happened” to be in the right place at the right time. He asked everyone think about whether those moments we have considered to be coincidence in our lives might actually have been the result of the Holy Spirit. Once we realize that the Holy Spirit has guided us in the past, we can be confident that the Spirit will be with us today and throughout our lives. We place ourselves in the hands of God. This Pentecost let us pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit in all that we do.

As I write about the Spirit’s guidance, I think of someone who has been growing even more to place his trust in God. I haven’t given a medical update on Fr. Michael lately. As a priest I am accustomed to keeping what people tell me in confidence, but I have tried to answer people’s questions when they ask. This past week, someone showed me a copy of the St. Thomas More bulletin where he gave an update, and I asked him if I could publish it here.

I have been saying that Fr. Michael has had forty different doctors and fifty-two different diagnoses. That is a little bit of hyperbole, but the latest diagnosis seems to be a bit more definite. He has been diagnosed with something I have never heard of before, Lymphamatoid Granulamatosis. It is not a form of cancer, but the treatment involves chemotherapy as well as steroids. He is also placing his trust in God to guide him through this condition.

Part of the process of canonization is for God to work a miracle through the intercession of the potential saint. Fr. Michael has been asking people to pray to Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, a Polish priest who supported the Solidarity movement and who was martyred on October 19, 1984. So to support Fr. Michael, consider asking the intercession of Blessed Jerzy. Meanwhile, we know that the Holy Spirit will guide him and us to be open to God throughout our lives.
                                                                                                     Father H