JN 15:26-27; 16:12-15
May 20, 2018
I was invited to share a meal, after sharing Eucharist, with the Sisters of St. Clare in their monastery on Shattuck Road. It was Pentecost Sunday, and the sisters had taken special care in setting the table to celebrate the Feast Day. But it wasn’t until I sat down at my place that I noticed how extra special the table had been prepared. At each place, there was the usual knife, fork, and spoon. But there was something very unusual about the flatware. The base of each utensil was engraved with one of the Gifts, or Fruits, of the Holy Spirit. A friend had given this tableware to the Sisters as a gift, and they only brought it out on special occasions.
Whoever had arranged the place settings did so without taking notice of who was sitting in a particular spot. She left it to the Holy Spirit to determine who was in most need of a particular gift or was challenged to use the gifts they had been given “to bear fruit.” After taking a moment to consider what was placed before us and how we use these gifts, we spent a little time sharing. We passed a fork or spoon across the table to someone who felt they had a particular need for that gift, and we recognized the work of one another in using a gift in a fruitful way, by passing around a spoon. It was fun, but it was also serious.
I can’t recall what was on the silverware at my place when I sat down, or what was passed on to me, or what I passed on with a compliment to one of the Sisters. What I do recall is thinking that I needed the entire set of flatware…all of the gifts. I also recall that the little exercise was, for me anyway, as much an “examination of conscience” as a Pentecost celebration.
Through our Baptisms and Confirmations, we are infused with the same gifts which the Apostles and disciples were given on that first Pentecost: WISDOM, UNDERSTANDING, KNOWLEDGE, FORTITUDE, KNOWLEDGE, PIETY, and FEAR OF THE LORD.
This is a good time to ask ourselves if we use what has been given to us to bring about “the Fruit of The Holy Spirit” — LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENEROSITY, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL, MODESTY, CHASTITY!