You go away, Jesus, and yet you do not leave us,
for by ascending into heaven you do not withdraw,
except from our sight and palpable touch.
Rather, you immerse yourself, your whole being,
in the bosom of your eternal Father,
there simply to communicate yourself to us
in a deeper, more intimate, more universal way.
“If you loved me, you would rejoice,
because I am going to the Father…
and if I do not go, the Spirit will not come,
but if I go, I will send him to you.”
Yes, your very risen Body, Jesus,
utterly open in the expansiveness of love,
passes into the boundlessness of the Father
in his infinity and his transcendent mystery,
and yet this mystery that is infinitely near,
shrouded around us at every instant like a blanket,
and filling us more tenderly, more intimately,
than the very air that we breathe.
The Spirit is sent from you and the Father,
not “in place” of you, Jesus, as a replacement,
but rather as the Gift of your own love and presence.
“For he will not speak on his own,
but he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
All that the Father has is mine,
therefore I said that he will take this
and unveil it in your mind and heart…
This is the anointing that teaches you all things,
which is within you, so that you have no need
for anyone to teach you, for within, in faith,
the Spirit leads you into all the truth.”
Yes, the Spirit, coming to us powerfully,
reveals to us the Son and the Father,
whose very Breath he is.
And through this Spirit, loving Jesus,
you communicate yourself to us:
as he comes upon the waters of Baptism
and, silently and hiddenly,
washes away the stain of original sin,
bringing to birth the children of God
through water and the Spirit,
and the inner fire of divine love.
The three Persons of the Trinity,
pouring themselves out through this sacramental act,
fill the soul of the believer, and irradiate the body,
such that you, eternal God, dwell in us, and us in you.
The Spirit of Confirmation seals us,
the sign of the Holy One on our forehead,
marking us as those who follow the Lamb
wherever he goes, in purity and faith.
The Spirit marks us as beloved, as chosen,
as sent to share this love with the world.
The Spirit shields us with his presence,
he arms us within and without
against the tempests of the spiritual combat
—the world, the flesh, and the devil—
so that, through fighting in trust and love,
carried by the flame of ceaseless hope,
we may grow up unto the fullness of maturity,
which is “Christ come to full stature,”
the image of the beloved Son and Spouse
alive and living within each of us.
Through the Spirit too, dear Jesus,
you transform the lowly gifts of bread and wine,
as he descends like the dew-fall silently on the grass,
and makes them no longer bread and wine,
but your very Flesh and Blood, your own Self.
Through the Spirit of Love and Truth
you come to us and unite us to yourself,
in this sacred marriage-bond of Communion.
The Spirit is the vibrating intensity of love
passing between Lover and beloved
and joining them together in a single embrace.
The Spirit, too, is present and active
in every other Sacrament of your Church,
for in each he is called upon,
and in each he descends silently to work:
in the raised hand of the priest,
speaking the words of absolution;
in the bond of love witnessing the union
of husband and wife before the Church;
in the laying on of hands,
in which a man is ordained to the sacred ministry,
conformed for diaconal service, as you washed our feet,
or configured to be a very alter Christus
in his priestly-victimhood and silent communion with you;
in the anointing of those who are ill,
that the Spirit of strength, and of childlike trust,
may fill and invigorate them anew
to bear in their own bodies
the suffering through which you, Jesus,
redeemed and transformed the world.
Yes, and at the last moment of our life,
when the veil of this life is at last rent,
it is the Spirit who, like a gentle mother,
cradles us in his arms, and carries us
—he who has been so tenderly present
at every moment of our life, in our every prayer,
our every hope and desire, joy and pain—
it is he who carries us at last to you,
to be immersed, eternally, in the inmost embrace,
Holy Trinity, blessed God, that is yours,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in an ecstasy of joy.