I was talking with residents of Greenleaf prior to a communion service yesterday. We got to talking about the hierarchy of solemnities and that Christmas and Pentecost are together on the chart, in the Breviary. I kidded that both are birthdays, one of the differences, however, is that the gifts we get on Christmas morning are given once and the gift we receive on Pentecost is a constantly given gift.
Though this is very simplistic in its depth; it does point out the constancy of today. God, our creator and redeemer gave us Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit to be our gift of love. Indeed, this is all God has to give us, Love, because that is what, who He is. And His love is true love, not the love preferred in society today: self-love, in which we try to dictate the terms of our happiness and actualization. True love, the love from God – the love that is God, is a love that leads to self-renunciation in favor of selfless giving to others; we only need to look at our Lord and savior to see this. He gives it to us with the Holy Spirit and we, in turn give it those around us. It is not a onetime gift, Love is not a noun – it is a verb, it is action, it is continual and it is always flowing from on high to us – to those around us – and back again. Which means that love shows itself by endurance, or as Pope Benedict XVI says ‘by abiding’. It is not a momentary thing, like the gifts we received as children on Christmas morning which wear out, become obsolete or fade from our consciousness; it is constant, enduring and thus in final analysis eternal.
As we enter into Ordinary time let us take comfort in the knowledge that God has given, and is giving us this enduring, this abiding, this eternal gift, that can’t be taken away and will never grow old. God gives us His Love, His Holy Spirit to be with us always.