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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

596 Synod Question 2: What is the Holy Spirit asking of us?

Day 596 Monday, November 1, 2021

Synod Question 2: What is the Holy Spirit asking of us?

This Synod provides a break-out moment for the Spirit and her fresh wind of imagination and insight. Let her whirl!

Some of us remember the amazing Spirit that was released when Pope John XXIII opened Vatican Council II. In those years of the Council 1962 – 1965 all of us felt the quickening of the Spirit within us. A door of imagination and windows of freshness opened into a Church that had been sleepwalking through history. Today, the Synod offers us a time to reopen the windows and doors and let the breath of the Spirit refresh the stale air of official complacency.

The imagination and vitality of the Spirit has been bottled up and minimized by the official, hierarchical Church since the closing days of the Vatican II. But The Spirit is always within us and around us “always pulling us and nudging us; always aching and rejoicing with us.” Always sighing with our grief and always uplifting us with her light and laughter.

When Nicodemus asked Jesus about the Spirit, Jesus told him, The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes… (John 3:8) Like the wind, like the air around us, like the breath within us.

The Spirit never stops whirling. Think of the million acts of kindness by selfless Sisters, priests, volunteers and lay people who work in far away places, who accompany poor communities, who struggle for human rights, who create a vision of a sustainable earth and dignity and equity for every person on the planet.

And now a new breeze, however light, is blowing. Francis understands that the institutional Church has lost its way and is slowly dying. Most European churches are little more than museums. Scandals – from slavery and the recently discovered deaths of First Nations children, to widespread pedophilia and financial corruption at the highest levels have turned the faithful away. We ask “how could these terrible acts have happened in the name of the Christ.” And yet we all know that bad things happen in silence behind closed doors when power and money is involved.”

What is the Spirit asking of us? To

Francis is a dangerous person who understands that the synod can unleash dramatic, healthy changes in the Church. We need to walk together, to listen to one another but above all to be touched by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

He invoked the Holy Spirit on the People of God so that we will be able to move forward together, to listen to one another and discern our times, in solidarity with the struggles and aspirations of all humanity and our planet.

ACTS 2 - When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. All of them. That’s you and me and each part of creation. Spirit filled.

“You send forth your Spirit, and they are created, and so you renew the face of the earth… Notice that the Spirit gives the breath of life to the whole world, not just human beings.

Come, Holy Spirit,

fill the hearts of your faithful people,

and kindle in us the fire of your love….

This is my opinion and I'm not so naive as to believe that the people in power will give it up. But I am hopeful that enough of us speak out we may create real change.

with love - David

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