Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pentecostal Mule

A minister sold a blind mule to a fellow and told him the critter was trained to go when the rider said, "Praise the Lord", and to stop when the rider said "Amen".

The purchaser mounted the beast, said "Praise the Lord", and the mule raced away. Becoming excited, the rider kept saying "Whoah!" with no effect on the animal. Then he remembered, and said "Amen".

The mule stopped abruptly. The rider looked down and found that the animal had stopped right at the edge of the gigantic cliff...
Wiping his brow, he declared gratefully, "Praise the Lord".
Today is Pentecost Sunday.

In today's Gospel (Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15), the Lord said "From the Father, I will send you the Spirit of Truth" . From the day of the Pentecost, the Spirit has acted in the Church. The Acts of the Apostles records how the Spirit worked in the first disciples of Jesus. Before granting miraculous powers, the Spirit gave them joy, peace and mutual love, as well as inner certainty that Jesus has risen and was among them. The Spirit continues to work in every believer, through His bestowed gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (CCC 1831). When we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit, we are actually using these gifts altogether to guide our thoughts and actions. St. Thomas Aquinas says that four of these gifts (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and counsel) direct the intellect, while the other three gifts (fortitude, reverence, and fear of the Lord or Wonder and Awe) direct the will toward God. The trouble begins when we rely too much on our intellect, especially when it is detached from God's inspiration. The trouble also begins when we rely too much on reckless intuition that is far detached from reason and faith. That is why the Psalmist prays, "Teach me to do your will for You are my God. Let your Spirit lead me on a safe path". Pentecost must remind us to be open to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and utilize them with prayerful discernment. Otherwise we will be just like a blind mule.

1 comment:

bill bannon said...

That beginning joke is absolutely priceless.