Glory to Jesus Christ!
I wish a Blessed Pentecost to those of you who are on the Gregorian Calendar, and if you’re on the other calendar I hope it is a blessing to you when it arrives next week.
At last night’s Vespers with Litija I was struck by what we celebrate when we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. We have 3 readings from the Old Testament for the Feast, and the third one spoke to me in a profound way. All of them pertain to the Spirit of God on one hand, but on the other hand there is a beautiful prophecy of what it means to celebrate this feast in a different way. That is where the phrase “a natural Pentecost” comes into mind.
Here is the third reading from the Prophecy of Ezekiel:
Last night as I read these words it was striking. We read here that the coming of the spirit is something that gives us a “natural” heart. Pentecost is usually all about the supernatural-tongues of fire resting over heads, Galileans speaking the languages of the world, none of this sounds “natural”. But the Prophecy of Ezekiel speaks to the fact that Pentecost is about us having a heart that is line with our nature. None of this denies the reality of Acts 2, it speaks to a higher reality that we are so often unnatural and “stony” as people that our deepest remedy is to have God come to us and make us who we were always meant to be.
It’s a call for a Pentecost not noted by miraculous signs, but is instead what I would like to call “a natural Pentecost”.
Maybe that call for a natural Pentecost is so important because it’s so rare in our day to see what is plain and simply natural. I’m writing this blog post in a very unnatural setting, for example. I asked my wife and kids to give me space and silence so that I could “focus”. What’s natural about that? Not much. But I so often am so “stony” that I need my space to even meditate on the feast that we celebrate. Maybe the most important prayer request to make is not for the Holy Spirit to descend but for my heart to ascend from its subpar status to a plain and simple “natural” status.
Now, one can get technical and say that perhaps this is a poor translation. Some would say that one can only trust the King James Version; a misguided thought in my opinion, but still, let’s look at other translations like the KJV. There we read that we will receive a heart of “flesh”. That may be even more striking than a natural heart, particularly when “the flesh” is spoken of as something evil; e.g. 1 Corinthians.
So for this Pentecost, I’m going to ask God to make me more natural. May my heart be “natural”: may it be alive and “fleshly” through the Holy Spirit who gives us life, because maybe that’s the biggest miracle: the one where I can consistently be who I was “naturally” meant to be, versus some “stony” shadow of myself.
Glory to Jesus Christ!