Letter from a Minister
“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you will renew the face of the earth.
O God, Who instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, Grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen”
Whilst the above traditional Catholic prayer can be seen as being most fitting for Pentecost Sunday which we celebrate this month, I do not mind sharing with you that this is one prayer I recited together with others at least once every week whilst at seminary during my time of formation toward the priesthood. Our New Testament lecturer, Fr Ken Collins, would begin every lesson with this prayer.
Whilst at the time some of us eager students thought saying the same prayer every time a “routine way” of beginning our class, I’ve now come to appreciate that the prayer is anything but “routine”. I can easily see right away how simply and elegantly the prayer to the Holy Spirit invokes God’s loving help in the daily ups and downs of life. Fr Ken wasn’t unimaginative in his words after all!
And read again the phrase, “… the fire of your love…” Fire is a particularly fitting image. An eminent American Archbishop once noted that “fire has two great qualities: light and heat. Light is the symbol of truth. Heat is the symbol of love.” The reference to fire also brings to mind the Holy Spirit’s essential role in the creation not only of the world, (“moving about the face of the waters,” from Genesis 1:2) but also of the Church as well! We read in the Acts of the Apostles how the Holy Spirit came as “tongues as of fire” (Acts 2:3) enlightening the disciples to spread God’s Word with power and love.
This is crucial for us today when speaking about the church: not simply about bricks and mortar or even denominational structure, but the “fire of God’s love” within us. When someone says you’re “on fire” about something, aren’t they saying you’re passionate about it? We, the people who make up Churches Together in Newport Pagnell; we, who dare call ourselves Christian; we are called to be that way in expressing our love for God’s truth in how we live and spread our Faith – on fire with the love of God! This too is being church! This too is living church!
May this prayer help bring you His support! “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful”.
Fr James Evans
St Bede’s RC Church