Countdown to Pentecost!
If you have been following this blog, you know that this is my favorite time of year. So many important things and changes have happened at this time of the liturgical year for me in my life. When I was in college, it was around the time that I went to Guatemala and drew closer to the Lord through experiencing the life of the people there. A few years later, I would make the decision to make another life change and leave the convent I had entered. Two years ago, it was around the Ascension that my friend Dan was taken into heaven. And last year, I began praying and discerning making the change to move to Richmond. So many Holy Spirit driven moments.
This year, I look at my life and I have almost everything that I could want: healthy family and friends, great job(s), a great place to live, a community of friends around me. (Also, this year's international summer trip is going to be Australia and New Zealand!! I'm so excited! I will get to reunite with a dear college friend whom I haven't seen in years!)
It's hard to know how the Holy Spirit will move, but I trust that it will as I got this reading today:
"Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete." - John 16: 23
I remember really diving into these readings from John describing Christ at the Last Supper when I was in Guatemala. The Lord wants our joy to be complete. Sometimes we forget that He wants what is best for us, but He also wants us to come to Him in prayer. And sometimes it's that one thing that we are lacking that gets us to go to Him in prayer. I know that is the case for me.
And so, even though I don't have any serious intentions at this point in my life, I am going to Him in my annual novena between the Ascension and Pentecost and praying for that one thing that could perhaps make my joy complete and leave it up to Him.
At this time of year, we also honor Mary. And once again, if you've been keeping up with this blog (God bless you!) you know that I've struggled before with my relationship with Mary. She's not always my go-to. I often go to other saints like Paul (duh!) or Joseph or Therese.
Now that I work at an elementary and Middle School, we have more cutesy traditions than when I worked with high schoolers. One of them being the classic, tradition May Procession to honor Mary. We had one this week (and there were lots of flowers!)
So many flowers...
And afterwards I was thinking...and maybe I have thought this before but not in this way: Mary has a special relationship with each member of the Trinity. The Father obviously loved and entrusted her because He made her "full of grace." She has the loving relationship of a Mother with the Son, and she was "overshadowed" by the Holy Spirit. This all dawned on me in a new way earlier this week and convinced me a little more to send my prayers her way, especially during this month that we honor her, particularly during this special week between the Ascension and Pentecost.
The last thing that I wanted to share is that somehow, for the first time in my teaching career, I have really been able to share with my students about Paul and his journeys. In my previous teaching of Scripture- since it was a semester course- I had to kind of rush through the New Testament and we mainly focused on the Gospel writers. It has been awesome to focus on one of my favorite saints and remember how truly amazing it was that he gave his life so completely over to God and had such an impact on spreading our faith despite persecution. He had one encounter with Christ that completely changed him. And he was imprisoned and traveled far and wide to spread his message. He wrote letters and communicated so perfectly encouraging the early Christian community who didn't know what to do in these years after Christ's Ascension.
Pentecost will be extra special this year because I have had some time to meditate on Paul and the early apostle community and how they felt at this time between the Ascension and Pentecost. Paul Forever ;)
So it is a very joy-filled time of year and there is much to be grateful for! May the the joy of Mary and the movement of the Holy Spirit fill our hearts this time of year and always.