The Holy Spirit is always the Spirit of connection. If we go back to the evening of Easter Sunday, we see the disciples hiding in fear behind locked doors, separated from others. Jesus comes to them and his presence breaks their disconnection from him and from all their brothers and sisters. His very presence is connection. His presence is mercy, compassion and forgiveness. And he breathes the Spirit into them enabling them to share this presence, to be this presence, to be this mercy, this reconnection with God. When the Spirit comes to us, we are really connected to God in an intimately and infinitely new way. By being flung into this great mystery of love between Jesus and the Father, we are being connected anew with all human beings in compassion and solidarity.
Pentecost is often referred to as the birthday of the church. This is because the gift of the Spirit is the foundation, the ground of the two great facets of Christian life: adoration and compassion. Because we are connected with Jesus’s own prayer to the Father, we are caught up in his loving and joyful adoration of God. That is why one of the things Christians most want to do when their faith is really coming alive, is simply to gaze into the mystery of God---to let themselves be swept over that waterfall into the depths of God’s love in contemplation. And the second thing people want to do when their faith is being enlivened is, in their own unique vocational way, to stand alongside all human beings, all their brothers and sisters, in the rich diversity of their experiences. They want to be with those who are rejoicing, or grieving, or lost, or in despair; wherever they are or however they are, to stand with them in adoration and compassion. It is the Holy Spirit who makes connections real in our lives.
On Pentecost we celebrate the power of God who makes connections, connecting us to God the Father through Jesus, connecting us to the world of diverse and sometimes horrific human experiences, connecting us to our deepest and truest selves, connecting us to the dispersed parts of ourselves that we may want to ignore or deny. We then become more healed as persons, as families, and as communities, and more driven to adore God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and to stand with all of God’s children.
Brothers Michael, Benedict and Jonah share a moment of fraternal joy. Excerpts from Abbot Damian's Homily for Pentecost Sunday.