During this Easter season, you may have heard these Latin words set to some of the most beautiful music by Palestrina:
"Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum,
ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus."
I first heard this as a teenager when the choir I was in sang it for a spring festival. I was drawn to the melody, the harmonies, and the words of a language that seemed so old and mysterious to me.
"As the deer long for springs of water,
so my soul longs for you, O God."
At my parish, this is sung during the Easter vigil, and it's so fitting, isn't it? After a long desert of a season, the Church reminds us of the truest thirst we will experience, not for water but for communion with God. And it's not a one time thirst and quench, but a life-long desire to have Him.
In today's Gospel, Christ offers us the Spirit to meet our needs. Over and over again we hear Him reminding us of the Holy Spirit who will come to be with us and fulfill that longing for God. Here and now.
When the followers of Christ who walked with Him no longer had Him by their side, when the early Christians denounced pagan worship and stood firm in their faith, when missionaries crossed borders and seas to share the Good News. When we, in our seemingly mundane and simple lives do the hard work to bend our will to His. In all of those times and all of those people, when the temptation to think that God is far from us in some distant castle in the sky, the Holy Spirit was there. God dwells within us before we dwell with God in Heaven. It’s a beautiful intimacy.
Pentecost Sunday is fast approaching, and the Church, in her wisdom, is reminding us to look at our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Are we trying to quench our thirst for God with things? Shows? Gossip? Relationships? Let’s redirect our hearts and find peace and satisfaction in the knowledge that we are temples of the Holy Spirit: that God is living within us.
In quiet reflection today, sit and invite God to dwell within you. Go and receive the beautiful intimacy of the Sacrament of Confession. Reconcile with God and make that space within filled with His grace and love.
Jacqueline Skemp is a daughter, sister, wife, and mother who endures living in Minnesota after leaving California for her one true love. You can find out more about her here.