Dear Friends in Christ,
Welcome to this week’s Bishop’s Blog!
The liturgical period between the Ascension of the Lord and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost has long between a time of prayerful waiting and expectation for the Church.
Just before his victorious return to the Father, the Lord Jesus instructed his disciples to remain in Jerusalem until, as he put it, ‘they would be clothed with power from on high.’ The power he was speaking of was, of course, the Holy Spirit.
As is evident from the gospels and the New Testament writings in general, the attitude and action of those first Christians were dramatically transformed by the coming of Christ’s Spirit.
In his account in the Acts of the Apostles St. Luke relates how the disciples had gathered in prayer, with Mary the mother of Jesus in their midst, when the upper room was rocked by a mighty wind and what seemed like tongues of fire came to rest upon all who were there. Almighty God was about to do a new and wonderful thing – the Church for all nations was about to come to birth, with the power and fire of heaven!
During these days leading up to Pentecost numerous groups of believers as well as individuals will pray earnestly to the risen Lord to pour out once more that same Spirit on the Church and on the world. In doing so, they will be following in the footsteps of Our Lady, the Apostles, and those other first disciples two thousand years ago. The Holy Spirit is the Father’s gift to us which he generously bestows on those who ask him, and it is a gift which we should not be slow to request.
There is rich teaching in Scripture, in both Old and New Testaments, on what the Holy Spirit accomplishes both in the life of the Church as a whole and in that of the individual Christian. The Church has been described as the body of Christ and it is the Holy Spirit which animates and keeps united the members of that body.
It is the Spirit which ensures that the community of believers remains faithful to the teaching of Christ. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is the supreme teacher, leading the Church ever more deeply into her understanding and appreciation of God’s revelation to us in Christ. And it is the same Holy Spirit who speaks consolingly to our individual hearts, helping us to put on the mind of Christ.
Let us at some point of each day this coming week invoke the Holy Spirit to descend afresh on the Church and on each one of us personally, so that we may play our part, in the words of the ancient Pentecost prayer, in renewing the face of the earth.
As ever in Christ our Lord,
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster