Saturday, 30 May 2009

Back in time for Pentecost

Leon Joseph Suenens is a great figure in the modern Church. He actively participated in Vatican Council II and worked hard for its correct implementation and reception until his death in 1996. Some styled him as the Borromeo of Vatican II. I see Cardinal Suenens as a great Pastoral Theologian who spoke with the authority of experience and from the depths of his profound spirituality.
Suenens spoke and wrote extensively about the Holy Spirit. He was completely bowled over at how the Spirit was working in the Church especially in the late 60’s and the 70’s. He worked hard to read the signs of the time and was formidable in discerning the various movements and interpreting to them the Word of God. I believe that Suenens is still to be fully discovered and appreciated as his words of wisdom have a lot to communicate to us.
This introduction is to show where my reflection on the Holy Spirit is coming from. I have never belonged or felt called to join what is known as the Renewal (or Charismatic) movement in the Church, but I read carefully the theological reflections that Suenens shared with this particular movement. One of the points that struck me most when describing the work of the Holy Spirit on the Christian soul is the fact that the Holy Spirit makes the soul aware of its sinfulness and also for the sin that exists in the surrounding structures. Suenens is no morbid theologian; he speaks of a reality which many experience. The soul that is open to the Holy Spirit is the dwelling of the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Spirit makes the soul realise how far away it is from the holiness of God. This is not to discourage the soul but to enable the soul to make a firm resolve in trusting in God and His holiness and to co-operate with His will. It is an awareness that draws into deeper communion and understanding, that leads the relationship between the person and God into the platitudes were words are inadequate; into that silence which is Divine. I think this is the first step into that spiritual path which the Easter Church aptly calls the divinisation of the human soul.
The Spirit makes us aware of the structures of sin around us not to encourage us into a spiritual apartheid of goodies vs. baddies but to enable us to throw ourselves completely in the Holy Spirit so that we become vehicles of healing and grace to the sickly state of affairs that surround us, to be engaged afresh with zeal in the building of the kingdom which is yet to come.
On this eve of Pentecost, let us ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to the platitudes of Divine Silence and the fields of Pastoral activity.
And if you have never read Suenens…
This week my family and I enjoyed our post Easter break. As we have done for the past years we spend it in Walsingham where after enjoying the National Pilgrimage we take a couple of days for ourselves. It was great to meet with so many friends on the National, almost from every part of our lives here in the UK. Some people have changed so much (and this is not about years or outward appearance only) that they are very different to the person we originally knew, but these are changing times, and in order to live we need change. Whatever the change, it is always good to see friends and catch up. The National (pictures in previous post) was not only well attended but indeed a very joyful event graced by the presence of the Bishop of Tarbes in whose Diocese is the sanctuary of Lourdes.
Some of you have e-mailed asking if all was well with me as I have not blogged during the week. Now you know – it was time off, however I am very grateful for the care and concern and kindness that you have expressed.
And now to set the desk and organise the diary for the many different events that will take up the next couple of months in the hope of being instruments of the Holy Spirit to communicate something of his light and joy to those whose feet we are called to wash.

No comments: