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Come, Holy Spirit!

In the time between the celebrations of Easter and Pentecost, an interim of 49 days, it is my privilege as bishop to travel southern Colorado over the western slope and administer the sacrament of confirmation.  We have now completed 12 such celebrations in Durango, Pagosa Springs, Alamosa, Antonito, Capulin, and Pueblo; and are now moving into Grand Junction, Montrose, Gunnison, and points between. 

Each celebration brings from 14-50+ candidates, as young as 9 years and upwards, into the anointing and sealing of the Holy Spirit which was given to each of them in their baptisms.  They have been prepared to know and affirm that this sealing in the Holy Spirit has now become their personal choice, which now brings their human spirit into a new, permanent communion with the Spirit of God, in conformity to Jesus Christ.

"It is my privilege as bishop to travel southern Colorado over the western slope and administer the sacrament of confirmation." 

We are all given many different natural gifts.  Of all these, the human spirit is the strongest.  Whether we are gifted for sports, academics, leadership, arts, caregiving, relationships, whatever, the human spirit is the strongest gift by far.  It makes the other gifts connect:  We know when our spirit is “up” and when it is “down,” whether we feel connected or not.  The other natural gifts will one day fade and die.  However, the human spirit, the last to leave our body when we die, is meant to live forever.  It is the image of God.   

The joy of the sealing of the Holy Spirit is best described as the joining of our human desire for transcendence and God’s desire for our salvation.  As the Holy Spirit is sealed into the hearts of believers, The Spirit enters into a permanent communion with the human spirit.  Since the gift of the Holy Spirit is God—not a “piece” or “symbol” of God but truly God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit—it is permanent and cannot be given back.  Once chosen and accepted, God lives in us, and we in Him.  We can turn away, but He will never let go.  His intention is to guide and carry us to the eternal life which is promised through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

"We are all given many different natural gifts.  Of all these, the human spirit is the strongest."

Along with this, this communion of human and Holy Spirit is the threshold of the divine, supernatural zone of hidden and fascinating surprises:  God’s world.   There is a certain power here.  As the believer awakens to this supernatural relationship through prayer, worship, and service to others, especially the poor, a new vision gradually unfolds.  The Spirit advocates and facilitates new gifts, relationships, and horizons.  Even beyond understanding that Jesus died for our salvation, we now realize that He truly, simply, wants to be part of our ordinary, daily lives, to be along for the ride.  He takes joy in our journey.  He loves us!

It has taken me years to wake up to the reality of the Holy Spirit in my life.  Even still I sometimes try to go it alone, and that’s not a bad thing.  It lets me know my limitations and brings me back to deeper participation.  After all, when it comes to the things of God, we are all just beginners.   Please pray for our candidates as our confirmation season unfolds and know that our prayers are with you.

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful,

And kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created,

And they shall renew the face of the earth.”

+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg

Bishop of Pueblo

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