I've been thinking lately of the Holy Spirit. Something I was reading lately talked about her as kind of the neglected step-child of the Trinity. And, if you think about, how many of us pray to the Holy Spirit (or the Trinity, for that matter?). I know that my tendency is to pray either to God the Father, or to Jesus. When I think of the Holy Spirit, I think of it more as this holy wind, blowing about the earth, and inspiring human affairs. And may be that's not such a bad way to envision the Holy Spirit, because often it seems, even in Church circles, that we speak as if God were not involved in the things that happen in history, and especially in the Church. I know that when my theology classes get extremely analytical about, say, the Council of Trent, or the Second Vatican Council, sometimes I just want to open my mouth and scream, "We're talking about this as if God wasn't involved!" So, maybe that's why we need to have a sense of the person of the Holy Spirit more than ever, so we can get past this way of talking about things as if everything depended upon us!
Some recent experiences have helped me to see the working of the Holy Spirit, and I hope others can see it too. I recently had the privilege of attending my province congregation, and though confidentiality doesn't allow me to really talk about (even to other Jesuits!) the substance of what went on there, I can say that I saw evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit there. Unexpected things happen which I attribute to the openness to the Holy Spirit on the part of the men there. And though it often had the appearance of just another boring meeting, I felt it a great privilege to be there and to be witness to the work of the Spirit in the lives of my religious community.
I also think that we have been witness to the work of the Spirit in our larger religious community as well. I'm not ashamed to admit that when someone first told me that Cardinal Ratzinger had been elected Pope, I thought she was kidding. It had never occurred to me that he might be the man we needed to be the next Pope. I thought certain someone else would be elected. But despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth of some of my friends and colleagues, I chose to see this as the work of the Holy Spirit, no matter how hidden that work might have seemed at the time. Now, as we've seen Cardinal Ratzinger mature into his role as Pope, I think we can also see that though like any man he is not perfect, the Holy Spirit seems to have given us the Pope we need for this time.
So, I'm thinking, though my preference as a member of the Society of Jesus is usually to pray to Jesus, I might just start throwing in a prayer to the Holy Spirit now and then! Veni Sancte Spiritus