By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Our Need for the Holy Spirit

On my return journey from events in Kiev, Ukraine, I took a couple of days to visit Prague in the Czech Republic. What an extraordinarily beautiful city! Among the highlights is the great Cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert, within which one finds some wondrous stained glass depictions of moments in salvation history. The one that most caught my attention is the window portraying the event of Pentecost (pictured here in part). The power of the Holy Spirit to enlighten and transform not only individuals but also the world is stunningly communicated.

The image and its message of our need for the Holy Spirit remain with me now that I am home in Edmonton. The pastoral year is about to commence, and this week many teachers are preparing to welcome their students back to school in the coming days. There is much work to be done to bring to our surroundings the truth and beauty of the Gospel. It simply would not be possible without the transformative power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Come Holy Spirit! Enable us to do that which without you is impossible! Help us to grow in holiness. Make us authentic disciples of Jesus. Bring to fruition the work that you inspire within us for the new evangelization, to which the Church and the needs of our world are summoning us.

We are painfully aware as well of the horrible situation in Syria and the worrying events unfolding elsewhere in the Middle East. To our anguish that comes from witnessing the suffering of many is added deep frustration at the seeming inability of parties within Syria and the international community to bring the horror to an end. Come Holy Spirit! Come and change our hearts! Come and open the doors that lead to reconciliation, peace and healing, doors that human effort alone is powerless to unlock!

At the same time as I think of these and other needs that cry out for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit, I am grateful as well for the countless individuals who open their hearts daily to the Holy Spirit, and who live by His promptings as they give their lives in the service of the Church. Seminarians have returned to the seminary for another year of discernment. These young men have felt the impulse of the Spirit to seek out the Lord's call for them. Last night I participated in a BBQ to thank the many volunteers who give of their time, talent and treasure to support the seminary and Newman Theological College. Their generosity is itself a sign of responsiveness to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives. I think of the staff at our Archdiocesan offices and the many priests, religious and lay people who work in our parishes and institutions, all of them highly dedicated to the Church and the service of their brothers and sisters. We would not have such a vibrant Archdiocese were it not for their readiness to follow where the Holy Spirit leads. I could go on.

That window spoke very powerfully to me of our abiding need for the Holy Spirit for the work of the Church and the renewal of the world. Let us pray daily for the transformation that only the Holy Spirit can effect in our lives, our country and throughout the international community.