Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe.

When Mary MacKillop wrote to Monsignor Kirby in October 1873 on The Necessity of the Institute, she begins by writing, “May the Holy Spirit, my God, direct me in what I am about to write.” In doing so, she invokes the outpouring of the Spirit on this important missionary work that needs to be undertaken in Australia. The fruits of the Spirit were abundant in Mary MacKillop’s life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.

On Pentecost Sunday (19 May), we celebrate the gift of the Spirit given to each one of us at our Baptism. Just as the Spirit was poured out upon the disciples on that first Pentecost day, so too the outpouring of the Spirit continues today. Even amid tragic situations, we see the Spirit at work in the hearts and minds of people reaching out with a hand of help, a word of encouragement, the gift of a smile or a friendly gesture of support.

We cannot see the Spirit, but we can experience the Spirit alive when we break new boundaries, create new initiatives, imagine new possibilities. The Spirit is that place deep within us that calls us to see the beauty of the world through divine eyes, to honour the sacredness of every person and to engage in meaningful encounters.

The Spirit is present with us in the ordinary everyday moments of our lives, those moments when we pause to reflect, to express our gratitude for a beautiful sunset, send a birthday card and to share a meal. The Spirit is with us when we offer a consoling hand, grieve the loss of a loved one, and find hope and meaning when hardships find their way into our lives. This is what we celebrate on Pentecost Sunday, the Spirit alive in many hearts.

When the Holy Spirit breathed on the disciples on that first Pentecost, their hearts were filled with courage and a passion to share the good news. At Pentecost, the missionary church is born. This year is a time to set our hearts on fire as we seek to be a Synodal Church on mission.

On this Pentecost day let us pray:

Come Holy Spirit, pour out of your love upon us lighting our mission hearts with the flame of your fire. Tend with compassion the hearts of those with whom we live and work. Sustain the hope of those who are suffering. May the Spirit’s joy be yours this day and every day.

Sr Monica Cavanagh
Congregational Leader