“Pentecost” by Juan Bautista Maíno (1581-1649), oil on canvas, painted between 1615 and 1620, housed in the Prado National Museum, Madrid, Spain. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Spiritual Life

FATHER DENNIS HANNEMAN: God’s Spirit enlivens us today to do the works he does

Most often, the question of who God is leads us into the speculative, conceptual realm: God is the almighty Creator of heaven and earth. God is the Father of all. God is the Supreme Being, the Author of everything that is good and right and holy. God is the ultimate Judge. God is love and compassion. All true.

But today’s solemnity of Pentecost asks us to consider God in another way — to think of God in terms other than as a noun or person/object outside of ourselves. Pentecost is about God as verb. God as doing, being, acting.

The Spirit of God is God breathing in us, God animating us, God pulling us together as a Church. God loving and healing and reconciling. God sanctifying the everyday, God comforting the grieving, God seeking out the lost. The Spirit of God is the manifestation of God as a verb — God not only is, but does.

The Hebrew word for “spirit” is the same word that’s used for breath, air and wind. The word is ruah. It is used for the invisible force around and within us that is activated for energy, vitality and unity.

Two thousand years after the Church began, God’s gift of the Spirit enlivens us today to do the work he does, to be the people of God, to live the life of the Gospel. Pentecost celebrates the unseen, immeasurable presence of God in our lives and in our Church – the ruah (“breath”) that energizes us to do the work of the Risen One, the ruah that makes God’s will our will, the ruah of God transforming us so that we might bring his life and love into our broken world.

God “breathes” his Spirit into our souls so that we may live his very life in the here and now; God ignites the “fire” of his Spirit within our hearts and minds that we may realize the coming of his reign in our own time and place.

On this Pentecost Sunday, as we celebrate the birth of God’s Church, may we pledge to live in that gift, share that gift, become that gift to others who may “come to life” when they dare to breathe deeply from God’s good gift of Spirit and life.

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