Listening to the Holy Spirit

A reflection on the Holy Spirit as we begin the novena for Pentacost:

The Holy Spirit can be hard for us to understand at times. We understand the role of the Father as creator and liberator, we understand plainly the role of the Son as the deliverer and savior. But it can bbe hard to put our finger on the role of the Holy Spirit, and for one important reason: we can choose not to listen to the Spirit.

So what if this year we see the Holy Spirit not just as a dove, a tongue of fire, or a breath of wind...but as music - a Divine Score proceeding from the Father and the Son to guide, inspire, encourage, and assist us in spreading the loving message of the Gospel?

Music is not just something we listen to - it's something we experience. We can be given a CD by someone we know and be told how great the music is. We can hear about the talented artist who wrote it, the message of the lyrics, and even the rhythm that permiates that music. We can even half-heartily listen to the CD while watching TV or working on something. We can never know the full beauty of that music until we experience it ourselves.

In the same way the Holy Spirit is something that must be experienced. Trying to tell someone about the Spirit can be as confusing as trying to define irony; the experience of the Spirit is important in explaining what the Holy Spirit is and how it works. Such is the importance of the Gospels.

So it helps to think of the Holy Spirit as a marvelous piece of music - and having different volumes. Sometimes the Spirit is just background music: we acknowledge it is there - quietly giving us inspiration. Other times that music is so loud it knocks us down and makes us look at our lives.

We have the ability to take that Music and reflect it our lives. Some have the voice to sing the song of the Spirit. Others have gifts and talents through which they are able to play that song in new and different ways. But still each person influences that song with their experience and the story of how the Spirit has worked in their life. Even if that music that we were given is given to a symphony, each person from the conductor to the bassoonist adds their own individuality to that great song of the Spirit. And combined together, they offer a unique reflection of that original song and share it with others, who will in turn share it themselves.

It is a beautiful metaphor in which to seek the Holy Spirit. But it is also a reminder that we can let other things mute the sound of that music. Our own desires can dull that music, our compulsions and aspirations can make us forget about that wonderful melody which inspires our lives.

As we prepare for Pentacost, let us remember that it is through prayer that we can fully listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying singing to us.

I encourage you to take time and try to hear that beautiful music of the Spirit in your prayer.

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