Pentecost makes me feel uncomfortable.
As you probably know, we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost this past Sunday. The reason it makes me feel uncomfortable is because I feel like I can’t measure up to how awesome the Apostles were, and I can’t be as receptive to the Holy Spirit as I want to be.
I even missed the “wear red because it’s Pentecost” memo and the only red I wore was on my freshly painted toenails. As I was standing in Mass, I was a bit shaky not because of a “strong driving wind” (Acts 2:2) but because all I had that morning was coffee. I was squinting my eyes not because I’m seeing tongues of bright fire (Acts 2:3) but because I’ve had the same blasted headache for 5 days in a row.
It seems a little unfair honestly. There are all these crazy and dramatic details in the story of Pentecost, and my life is so mundane in contrast. I want the Holy Spirit to work in powerful ways in my life too.
So what’s stopping Him?
Me. I’m stopping Him. I’m scared and I’ll admit it.
He’s Already Here
At Mass I realized that what the Apostles were given that day – we’ve had since the day we were baptized. The Holy Spirit is already dwelling within us. The presence of God is among us in the Eucharist. God’s voice can be heard through our priests and scripture. The fire of the Holy Spirit can burn in your heart if you let Him.
(Just go outside if you want the whole wind experience.)
But fear paralyzes me when I need to call on the Holy Spirit, or when the Holy Spirit calls on me. Not because I’m scared of Him, but I’m scared of what He’ll ask me to do.
He’s the one that nudges me to say, “I’m Catholic,” “I believe abortion is wrong,” “I’m not going to have sex before marriage” when I’m in a conversation and I need to be a witness. He’s also the one that gives me the grace and urges me to go talk to someone I don’t want to, or confront someone who needs to be called out. He moves me to desire to go to Mass and interrupt my daily schedule to stop for a minute to pray.
Saying yes to those conversations, interactions, and prayers can be scary. And the truth is that I don’t say “yes” all the time.
A Daily Pentecost
What was different about the Apostles is that they didn’t hesitate like I do. The power that was unleashed at Pentecost isn’t only an event that was big and dramatic a long time ago. The Holy Spirit can give you “Pentecost” moments every day . . . even multiple times a day!
We just have to constantly say, “Yes, I want you in my life. I want you to move and inspire me.”
Remember how I said Pentecost makes me feel uncomfortable? I think it’s supposed to . . . but not for the reason that I’m inadequate.
If we get comfortable with where we are in our relationship with God, then we’re not allowing Him to challenge us enough. We aren’t letting the Holy Spirit empower us if we’re not having those tough conversations or reaching out to love the unlovable.
Being a Christian was never about being comfortable – just look at the cross.