Cardinal Basil Hume, O.S.B., once remarked: “There is a gentle breeze if we can but catch it, which blows all the time to help us on our journey through life to our final destination. That breeze is the Holy Spirit. But the wind cannot be caught or used unless the sail is hoisted, and the hoisting is our task. We must be on the watch, ready to recognize it and play our part. God does hold us, and will lead us, if we want it; but we must want it.”
I was once privileged to lead funeral rites for a nearly 100-year-old woman who had passed. After receiving the call from the parish, to the best of my ability, I spiritually prepared myself to lead family and friends in prayer. During my homily, I pointed out that her passing occurred just one day after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. For several minutes, I explored the ways that God had called her to Himself and had given her the Holy Spirit (at Baptism and Confirmation) to guide her in this life and into the next. After my homily, I was seated and called upon her son to speak about his mother. Standing next to her casket, he began by mentioning how, each day of her life, his mother always prayed and proclaimed that God had blessed her. He then lovingly told his mother’s story of how she had felt called by God to adopt him and how she chose him out of love. And at that very moment, it felt as though the Holy Spirit was revealing to me an even greater reality.
With my eyes closed, I choked back the tears and thought: Are not each of us God’s adopted sons and daughters? Do we not all pray to one Father? Out of love, has not God called each of us to Himself?
At the conclusion of the funeral, I exited the funeral home and, with my vestments floating in the wind, I began the short walk to my car. In the distance, I heard the rustle of keys and realized that someone was approaching me. It was the woman’s son who wanted to thank me. For a moment, we stood in the cold and I remember telling him that his mother is very proud of him and that I am sure that God is, too. Upon reaching my car, I sat for a moment and then proceeded to head home. But not until I thanked the Spirit for allowing me to “see” Jesus.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist famously pointed toward Jesus and declared that He was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. For ourselves, may we pray that the Holy Spirit continues to pour down his gifts upon us to transform our hearts and increase our spiritual vision. With a greater recognition that Jesus is active in our midst, may we also point others in His direction.