Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost. It’s also the day I celebrate the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Although the date is actually, June 3, 1990, I chose it because it was Pentecost. This feast of the Spirit ties into my whole approach to theology, church and priestly ministry. It is grounded in the theologian Karl Rahner’s understanding of the Holy Spirit as that self-communication of God (Grace) which is always, already present in our lives… we are swimming in a world of Grace. It’s just up to us to open ourselves to that reality. The Christian faith, the Sacraments, the Priesthood are all unique and exquisite means in which God helps us open ourselves more fully to that Grace which surrounds us.
One of the things that I liked most about Rahner’s theology of the Holy Spirit is that for him it was not about spectacular or “flashy” events. The reality of the Holy Spirit cannot be dismissed because it is found in the sober reality of drinking from the chalice of ordinary life. It’s precisely in the “ordinary” where people find themselves impelled, from within, to stretch beyond what they thought were their limits of generosity, compassion or love, that we experience the Holy Spirit.