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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Delvaux

Transformative Joy

In those halcyon days pre-Covid, my office did the gifts inventory process to help us learn about one another and ourselves after suddenly doubling our team in size. We all started guessing what might be the charisms of one another. Everyone, even the new folks, all felt it a guarantee that “Administration” would be at the top of my list. My organization, attention to detail, love of color coding, and ability to project manage quite a few things simultaneously were all brought up. I was flattered as they were kind and generous in their words, but I also was sort of put off.

Today we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit on the women and men in the Upper Room. We are reminded with equal force that the Spirit is with each of us. We, just as with those women and men, are gifted by the Spirit.

These gifts of the Spirit are incredible and gifts to help us live our vocations in this world – to help build the Kingdom on Earth, to serve God, and to serve one another. Paul reminds us in the second reading about this reality – the gifts of the Spirit are given for the good of all. Not just our individual career advancement or for the benefit of a few, but for the good of all.

The past year has shown us how much our humanity struggles with the temptation to selfishness, egocentrism, and dismissing our responsibility to one another. Pentecost is a feast that reminds us of our intimate connection to the Body of Christ, our intimate connection to one another.

It took me a couple days to figure out why the kind words of my coworkers rubbed me the wrong way. Administration and organization are skills, or maybe talents, I have honed in order to manage the complex reality of pastoral ministry in parishes and diocesan offices. They are necessities to going about my work. I was thrilled when the process lifted up an entirely different charism as my top one – hospitality. I talked with the woman walking us through the process, also a former parish staff person, and she named so well my unease. Many skills are celebrated when we do pastoral work, but those are survival mechanisms or utilitarian skills needed to simply accomplish the workday tasks. Gifts of the Spirit, when we live and embrace them are joy filled and life giving. When I practice hospitality, the preparation and in the moment, it is life giving to me and brings me joy. When I share that gift with those around me, it brings joy and life to the Body of Christ.

Today we have an invitation from God to remember the Spirit within each of us, the gifts that Spirit bestows within each of us. After a year that has driven home how far we are from the Kingdom of God, we know the needs and can see so many of the problems. It can be overwhelming, exhausting, or disheartening to even consider taking on all that is out there in the world. However, I firmly believe, as we celebrate the Spirit today that by coming to know and embrace the gifts of the Spirit we each have we can act in joy and life-giving ways that renew our own souls while meeting the needs of the world.

You are a love, blessed, gifted individual. Who you are and the way God lives and loves through you is beautiful. I invite you to take time this week to reflect on what may be the gifts of the Spirit in you. Where is your joy? Where do you find life being nurtured? How might God be asking you to share those gifts with the world?

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