“Surprise, Surprise!” Gomer Pyle and the Holy Spirit

Baptism-of-the-Holy-SpiritYou have been looking for that lost object for two weeks now.  You know that it’s around here somewhere.  You thought you left it over there but you’ve already checked “there” three times.

It’s got to be here somewhere.  Yet, while searching for that lost object (which is not really lost at all) you happen upon that thing that you’ve been also searching for but had forgotten about.  It’s that important thing that you needed sometime back then and now here it is in front of you when you were looking for this other important thing that you misplaced.  That’s called “serendipity.”  Serendipity is the unexpected resulting in something that is beneficial and good.

Welcome to the world of “serendipity.”  It’s a wonderful place because it’s full of wonder.  If nothing serendipitous has happened in your life then I’d say that you are wrong, you just missed it.  Try again.

If no mystery has surrounded and buried you in what looks like death but instead is new life then you just missed it.  Try to retrieve it.  Serendipity equals the Holy Spirit.

Our diocese had ordinations and the bishop wrote that the moment of ordination is in the imposition of the bishop’s and fellow priest’s hands on the candidate.  Isn’t it interesting that we can narrow and limit a divinely inspired sacrament?  That a sacrament can be reduced to a “moment,” as though it’s not really your birthday until the first “Happy Birthday” is sung?  That’s not the work of the Holy Spirit.

I think that you’re ordained when you stop giving cute and pious statements during Confession and truly “be” with the penitent as one’s heart is opened up to God’s mercy and forgiveness.  Or you are finally ordained when a parishioner stops you after Mass and tells you, “Father, I’m sorry but I have no idea what your sermon was about today.”  Now you are ordained.  The Eucharistic moment?  It is not my grandstanding of the elements but it is when you get out of bed on a Sunday morning to link yourself with a community of believers that form the Body of Christ.  Marriage?  I would suspect that its sacramental moment is better placed after the first argument when a couple realizes that another, separate and individual person in standing in front of them.  That moment is not found in the wedding rings.

This third person of the Trinity cannot be restricted to a “moment” but rather is a process with often a surprising end.  It is a process where our all of our senses are keenly tuned to what’s occurring within our hearts and the hearts of our community.  As best we can respond to those senses, we can begin to get a flavor of where the Spirit or something beneficial resides or is leading us.

The Catholic Church in its early wisdom recognized and acknowledged the Holy Spirit as closely united to God’s unfolding Kingdom.  The institutional Catholic Church, to its dismay, must also recognize and respond to this wonderful, wily and uncreated Person in its life and the lives of its believers; as this moment and in all moments.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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