Pentecost Sunday, 5th June 2022
Today completes the Pascal Mystery: the great reversal of our fortunes brought about by Christ: the undoing of the devil’s work one might say, begun in that garden so long ago when fallen humanity is sent out to labour in the world without ultimate success; with any attempt at universal peace and power overturned by God until Christ comes – so that what is done is done in God. It is not that human activity no longer matters but that it can only achieve its true end when surrendered to God, when God is recognised as its beginning and end, when the creative word is allowed its say. When the Spirit comes to the disciples they are enlivened: the confusion inflicted on humanity at Babel is replaced by another confusion which now makes sense – a babble of voices which speaks one truth, and the law given to Moses is re- created so that it too now makes sense as an inner principle guiding each and every one of us to the full truth – making us all in a sense a law unto ourselves and yet a law understood by all. So this is a visionary moment for we recognise that it’s still a work in process, that discord still exists, that mission is a perennial remit, not least that mission we have to make to ourselves each day to rediscover and put into practice the life of the Spirit. But the possibility is now there for us in a way it wasn’t before, won for us by the life, death and resurrection of Christ – the one who has given himself for us so that we may be re- created in him – the one we must follow through the same pattern of life, death and resurrection as the Spirit leads us. So what appears destruction we can now understand to be creative: an impossibility apart from this larger vision. This is not to excuse us from the daily labour of combatting suffering, of re- creating the world by human effort; but to recognise, in the words of Teilhard de Chardin that
‘by virtue of the Creation, and still more of the Incarnation, ( and one might add of the Pascal Mystery implicit in the Incarnation) nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see.’(p.38 Le Milieu Divin)
And later he will add that every true creative action of our own necessarily entails suffering.
‘An honest workman not only surrenders his calm and peace once and for all, but must learn continually to jettison the form which his labour or art or thought first took, and go in search of new forms.’ .(p45)
So the Spirit has come but suffering continues – not least in the suffering of love. In the Spirit the Father and Son make their home in us – a creative turmoil if ever there was one – in which we become both a place of peace and a place of suffering and great activity.