Too often, the Holy Spirit seems to us to be an impersonal reality, a nebulous vapor swirling around us. Yet our faith teaches us that the Holy Spirit is a Person, one of the Three Persons of the Trinity.
Two years ago, Eileen Grew came to the Faith Formation Office with whispering in her heart. She believed God was calling our Blessed Sacrament family to spend some quality time learning about and praying with the Holy Spirit. After a few more visits to the office and enlisting the help of two other faith-filled women, Jean Thiele and Sheryl Lane, Eileen’s nudge from the Holy Spirit became a push!
And this push led to ninety people gathering on January 28 for a “Spirit-filled” morning led by Father Alberto Vargas. Participants were treated to a delicious breakfast as Father Alberto shared insights about the Holy Spirit as a person of the Trinity as revealed to us through Scripture. Using the teachings of Pope Francis, he invited us to consider the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and what they look like lived out in our lives. Father also took time to answer the many questions people had regarding baptism and the relationship between the Spirit, prayer, and hardships in life as well as global tragedy.
The morning was interspersed with prayer, music, table discussion, and individual reflection opportunities. Each participant received a “gift box” with one Gift of the Holy Spirit in it and three envelopes with questions to help illuminate the gift. Envelope 1 encouraged the participant to reflect on what they had heard in Father’s presentation. Envelope 2 challenged the individual to come up with their own definition of the “gift.” And, Envelope 3 contained a definition and a prompt to think about a time when they had experienced that particular gift. A “Going Deeper” section was also included to encourage participants to prayerfully consider how they might further respond to the Spirit’s prompting in their life.
The day concluded with a slide show highlighting the Fruits of the Spirit as well as a blessing that participants bestowed upon one another. The morning was a beautiful expression of the Spirit alive in our minds and hearts and lived out through our words and actions.
Thank you to Father Alberto, Eileen, Sheryl, and Jean for the inspirational retreat.