O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life, come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost-Trinity.
It was a great blessing to celebrate in Nazareth House, having not celebrated this sacred day under its roof since 2020, and we extend our thanks to our servers, singers, and the sisters who made floral posies for everyone to hold during Vespers with the kneeling prayers, as is our custom.
Having celebrated Great Vespers yesterday evening and today’s Liturgy, our second Vespers was punctuated with the recurring call, “Again and again, on bended-knee, let us pray to the Lord…” with the solemn prayers of Pentecost, in which we prayed for forgiveness, correction and amendment of life; for fortification and the visitation of God’s Grace; for confirmation in the power of the Holy Spirit; for guidance and direction, so that we might think aright and walk in God’s paths with wisdom and understanding; and for sanctification and protection.
In the second kneeling-prayer, we asked,
“Grant unto my thoughts the Spirit of Thy wisdom, bestowing upon my foolishness the Spirit of understanding; overshadow my doings with the spirit of Thy fear, and renew a right spirit within me, and with Thy governing Spirit establish my sliding thoughts, so that being daily guided by Thy Spirit in things profitable, I may be enabled to keep Thy commandments, and ever to bear in mind Thy glorious Coming…”
Of course, our services and prayers, once more begin with the prayer personally athe addressing the Holy Spirit, “O Heavenly King”, in which we continually pray for the indwelling of the Comforter, as the Spirit of Truth and Giver of Life, and it is incumbent on each and every one of us to seek to make ourselves worthy vessels for this indwelling, through prayer, repentance, fasting, and the works of the Gospel – struggling against and putting aside all that defiles and darkens us, and obscures the image and likeness of God in us: putting aside impurity to gain purity; rejecting falsehood to be filled with truth; banishing darkness to be filled with light.
Otherwise, how can we be so daring and audacious to ask the Holy Spirit to “Come and dwell in us…” – bodies of mere clay, in lives beset by weakness, sin and error?
How can we ask this awesome Gift and Presence, unless we are struggling for purity and holiness, in repentance and active spiritual life, attuned to the Lord, struggling in the way of truth, righteousness and love – in lives as He wishes and wills us to lead and live?
And yet, as I reminded the faithful in the homily, in our baptism, we were each sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and made its heirs and recipients.
So – strengthened and encouraged by this wonderful free-gift from God, let us labour to make ourselves, our hearts and bodies a seemly place for God’s Divine Indwelling, which He desires for us – impossible though it seems – as the realisation of the baptismal mystery and promise in us, and in our lives.
St Seraphim reminds us that, “Acquiring the Spirit of God is the true aim of our Christian life, whilst prayer, fasting, almsgiving and other good works done for Christ’s sake are merely means for acquiring the Spirit of God.”
So, let us labour tirelessly in such ways, and by all possible means, to make this acquisition and indwelling of the Holy Spirit the reality of our lives in God and for God, that God may live in us, and, through us, may also dwell as the Comforter and Life-Giver in the world in which we dwell, through His mercy and love.
With love in Christ – Fr Mark