Did I ever tell you that Pentecost is one of my favorite holy days? It ranks right behind Easter in terms of my attachment to it. I have this thing about the Holy Spirit. I suppose the intellectuality of the Spirit appeals to me. The Spirit represents wisdom to me. It is one gift of the Spirit I have always coveted—if you can covet such things.
We used to warn each other not to ask for patience, because then God would give us trials in which to display such a gift. Tongues—I used to think that that would be a cool thing to have. Later I realized that through the opportunity to read scripture at Mass, as Isaiah said, the Lord indeed has given me a well trained tongue, that I might speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.
A friend of mine used to wear a button on his cap that bore the legend PBPGIFWMY, that is, Please Be Patient. God Isn’t Finished With Me Yet. I have lately been reminded that this growing in the Spirit is a process that goes on for your whole life.
In the belief that I can’t do it alone, I am exploring a new Men’s Bible Study and prayer group that is being formed in my parish. I used to belong to a small group of four or five men who met in each other’s houses, but it has been many years since I’ve done anything like that. Pete is still in the parish, but Emerick has passed on, Joe moved away.
I still remember Emerick’s simple question: what is grace? Sure that I could find the answer, I scoured scripture for instances of grace in an effort to arrive at a definition. I presented my findings to him at a later meeting. He responded, not with satisfaction at my answer but with another question—something like, “What else?” That stopped me cold. I obviously never recovered, since I still talk about it.