Beyond Lawn Games: The Holy Spirit as personal trainer

croquetLast week I was invited to play a game of croquet, a game I always associated with aristocrats and long skirts (a priest’s cassock is not a skirt). But many families have a croquet set somewhere in the house, and perhaps most kids have tried it at some point, but like many lawn games, rules are important, and if someone isn’t available to explain them, then we remain in a kind of lazy ignorance, staring at the equipment, wondering if we ever will get to that activity. Perhaps we swing the mallet around a few times, and give the croquet balls a few hits, but we’re soon bored, and turn back to familiar diversions. As one gets older, these “familiar diversions” become more important, and even essential to our health and happiness, and so we write off new activities as “stupid”, “out of date”, or simply a big “waste of time”. Of course the problem is that we are probably wasting too much time on “familiar diversions” that we lose the energy to stretch out to new things.

From a spiritual point of view, we face similar challenges, and the particular time of preparation for Pentecost is the right time to open ourselves to “new things” like the coming of the Holy Spirit in a more personal way to us. Think of this year’s solemnity of Pentecost as a perfect opportunity to grow in a new virtue you have “written off” as too hard or complicated to acquire (for examples: courage, temperance, generosity, or detachment from material things). Unlike lawn games, we are given the Holy Spirit as divine, personal trainer, ready to address our difficulties and bad habits with kindness and power. In faith, let’s be guided by Him through the seemingly complex rules of life, holiness and evangelization. Veni Sancte Spiritus!

By the way, the rules for croquet really aren’t that difficult after all; you have just one minute to decide whether it will become your lawn game of choice 2015…

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