“Come, Holy Spirit, come through the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your beloved spouse.”
It’s been one of my favorite prayers since my college days, when one of my teachers opened every class with these words. I find myself spontaneously reciting this prayer when I’m trying to make a decision or just have a lot on my mind.
I couldn’t help but think of the significance of this prayer at this time of year, when the Church celebrates May as the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary and we also prepare for mark the great feast of Pentecost, centered on the Holy Spirit, which falls on June 5 this year. I love that it combines the two great forces of the Holy Spirit and Our Lady, which were so intimately united with the Annunciation. As “wives”, Mary and the Holy Spirit are an obviously powerful team.
I think one of the most important lessons we can learn from the relationship between Mary and the Holy Spirit is that of trust. Mary, of course, had perfect confidence because she was without original sin. Although we cannot achieve perfect confidence in this lifetime, we can always strive to achieve it. What is striking about Mary’s fiat is that she surrendered herself totally to the will of the Holy Spirit, regardless of the apparent earthly consequences of being found pregnant during her engagement. Mary understood that her life was not hers, that her time was not hers and that even her body was surrendered to the will of God.
Parents, especially pregnant mothers, have the daily opportunity to emulate this same type of confidence manifested by Our Blessed Mother. The mother-to-be gives up her bodily autonomy as another life grows within her. Many things will happen to her body over which she has no control, and mom is faced with the choice every day of believing that everything is happening for the good of her child. The same can be said for parenting, especially of young children, when parents must say yes every day, even when they are required to sacrifice their own needs and preferences.
In the Gospel of John (14:26), Jesus says that after his ascension he will leave the Holy Spirit as our advocate or counselor – according to the biblical translation.
Some of us haven’t thought much about the Holy Spirit since our confirmation, when we had to memorize the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (in case the bishop calls us!). Can most people say they have truly cultivated a relationship with the Holy Spirit? If we never seek our adviser or advocate, how can he advise or plead for us? And what about those gifts that we supposedly received at our Confirmation? Do we ever think of them or have they become another Google search topic? Maybe it’s time to dust off those freebies and put them to use.
One way to honor Mary and the Holy Spirit in this season when we focus on both is to incorporate a quick prayer like the one at the beginning of this column into our daily routines. The prayer doesn’t even have to be an actual memorized prayer as long as we get into the habit of invoking the help of the Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Mother. Think of them as your personal dynamic duo that can help you through any situation, big or small. Relying on spiritual help regularly can be a great way to relieve stress, as we realize that whatever burden we carry, there is no need to crush us under its weight if we bring the ” heavy” to help us carry the load.
The more often you call on the help of the Holy Spirit and Mary, the more often you will notice in your life what I like to call “Holy Spirit moments”. These are the times when you learn to trust and act on what you will recognize as promptings from the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost is often referred to as the birthday of the Church. What better way to honor the Queen of Heaven and prepare to celebrate the anniversary of the Church than to incorporate the intercession of the Holy Spirit and Our Lady into our lives? Let these two spiritual pillars teach you how to give your life to God by trusting in his plan.
Lazzuri writes from her home in Nova Scotia, where she lives with her husband, six children and mother. She can be reached at [email protected]