On the weekend of May 22 and 23, we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples to bring fire and flame to their hearts’ commitment to Jesus. The Holy Spirit continues to place our hearts on fire to know Jesus. But do we realize it? In this time of continued uncertainty, do we sense the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Do we allow the Lord to inspire us to burn with a desire for greater intimacy?
Good stewards make efforts to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit so that their prayer lives bring them closer to Christ. In the mystical writings of St. Teresa of Avila, this doctor of the Church relates a beautiful story that underscores her relationship with Jesus. Teresa would often engage in conversation with the Lord, and one evening, Teresa heard Jesus ask her name, to which she replied with her religious name, saying, “I am Teresa of Jesus.” Teresa was heartened to inquire of the Lord, “And who are you?” to which she heard Jesus respond, “I am Jesus of Teresa.” What beautiful intimacy Teresa felt with the Lord! It is to this intimacy, this deeply personal relationship, that each of us is called. St. Francis of Assisi, whose name our Holy Father, Pope Francis adopted, was said to have prayed simply by asking repeatedly of the Lord, “Who are you, and who am I?” It was from the depths of the answers he received, and the questions he continued to ask, that Francis drew his strength to renew Christ’s church. To exercise good stewardship of our prayer lives and to lead a life filled with contemplative moments is the call given to each Christian steward. St. Ignatius of Loyola called us to “contemplation in action,” that combination of prayer in our life that inspires the good things we do each day which in return deepens our commitment to prayer.
As Christian stewards, we know that our good works become hollow when they are done without a relationship with the Lord who inspires us. By the same token, a prayer life can become rote and sterile if we leave it behind when we immerse ourselves in our daily routines. We must be committed to a balance between the good works that we do and our quest to seek a more intimate relationship with Christ Jesus. May this Easter season and the feast of Pentecost place our hearts on fire with the desire to know Jesus even better and motivate us to live our lives in his service.