I often ask people if they could name one great theme that runs throughout the Bible, what would they say? Many give the answers you would expect: love, mercy, trust or something of the sort. However, one of my students very quickly responded, “waiting” – with a bit of frustration, I might add.
An entire room chuckled at her response, but over the years, I have concluded that my young student was right on – there is, in fact, an awful lot of waiting that occurs in the Bible.
During this season of Pentecost, it seems a helpful idea to remember. In the Gospel this past Sunday, Jesus tells his disciples, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it until the Holy Spirit comes among you.” In other words, you are going to have to wait.
In a world that is always is in a hurry; that always seeks gratification as quick as possible; that desires efficiency, accumulation and status, we are asked to stop trying to control the process and take comfort in the Divine plan.
About three weeks ago, I was ordained a priest for the Basilian Fathers. When I entered the Congregation almost eight years ago, I could not picture myself as a priest, but I knew, without a doubt, that God was calling me to begin living in community as a teacher at a Basilian high school. Over the course of these past eight years, I found myself becoming more and more like a Religious, and now that I am a priest, I have discovered that this really is what I am called to be. I don’t know how it happened, but I do know that it was all very subtle and gradual.
I have found that wisdom knows the balance between taking action and allowing the process to lead us to the Truth. There were many moments during my formation when I felt I would be better off if I had more say over my life, but I also knew that there is value is allowing myself to be guided through the process. Only prayer will help us understand which action is needed at the time.
During this season of Pentecost, the Spirit is reminding us that holiness is not something we can achieve; rather it is a gift that comes from our experience – from the journey, the process. Holiness is not the objective, but it is what happens when love becomes the objective. When our love of God and love of others drives us – in time, we are made holy.
So, let us be bold, but willing to embrace the unexpected. Let us be purposeful, but not too quick to reach a conclusion. Let us live for God and our brothers and sisters, so that we understand what it means to truly live. And throughout all our journeys, let us pray: Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit.