Comfort, delight, energy and peace

I know a few priests who regularly share their homilies and newsletter reflections via social media. On Friday, I was especially struck by some words from Fr Rob Esdaile. Referring to how Pentecost is the 'birthday of the Church', he continued

Most birthdays are about getting older. Uniquely, Pentecost is about recovering our youth, returning to the wellsprings of our life. It tells us who we are: a group of disciples gathered in prayer, united in faith. Here the Spirit is poured out to awaken our gifts and set fire to our hearts. The Spirit tests the foundations and rattles the doors and windows – promising us anything but a quiet life! – and then tumbles us out into everyday life to be witnesses to Christ’s Gospel.

Pentecost as a return to my wellsprings - this thought stayed with me, at the back of my prayer and ruminations...

And then, yesterday morning, as I reached for my shower cream, I was struck by its name. I had bought it for its pleasant scent, only vaguely noticing what it was called, but now... maybe it was the imminence of Pentecost, but COMFORT: BOTTLED just seemed so right for right now! After all, hadn't Jesus promised that the Spirit would come as our comforter? - although the original meaning of this word was more about strengthening than consolation or providing ease. And isn't this how we will invoke the Spirit today, as we sing Thou, of all consolers best... Thou in toil art comfort sweet... Heal our wounds; our strength renew...

I had to do some shopping later, and my route took me along the toiletries aisle, where I paused by the bottled Comfort, arranged alongside Peace, Energy and Delight. And, as other shoppers sniffed and deliberated or hurried past, I gazed at those bottles, and their names...

I had been thinking, a few days ago, about how I would, once again, miss our Society tradition of drawing pieces of paper with the Spirit's gifts and fruits written on them, and receiving them as special gifts for the coming year. I had toyed with the idea of creating a tirage for myself, then wondered if any gift or word would come my way... And here I was on the eve of Pentecost, in a discount shop in Hammersmith, with people wandering around me... gazing at not one, but four gifts and fruits...! 

(And isn't this how the Spirit often comes, breaking into the mundane and everyday...?)

COMFORT... As strengthening for mission, and a return to draw from the wellsprings of my life; and as consolation, solace and reassurance on days when things don't go so well. Comfort, with its original meaning as the gift of fortitude, and also as the fruit of gentleness. 

PEACE... One of the Spirit's first fruits, returning me to my reflection on being a sower of hope and a builder of peace, as well as the constant need to continue to pray for this precious gift for our conflict-filled world.

ENERGY... And passion and vitality, at all levels; of my mind and spirit as well as of my body. The recovery of my youthful zest, and the Spirit poured out to awaken my gifts and set fire to my heart, especially when it is flagging.

And DELIGHT... Which is another face of joy. May my delight in God, and God's delight in me increase, and be evident, as the Spirit sends me into everyday life to witness to the joy and the promise of Christ's Gospel. 

And as I freely and abundantly receive, may I always freely and generously give: uncontained comfort and peace, energy, joy and God's delight in us, especially to those who feel furthest from God's plentiful gifts and pleasure... 

Happy Pentecost to you all! What gifts and fruits has the Spirit poured out on you, and what are the wellsprings to which you have returned?