Have any of you had the pleasure to go sailing? You know in a little sailboat like on a little 16 foot Sunfish, or on a catamaran like my neighbor in Dundee has or on a big sailboat with a big sail and a jib that when filled with the wind looks like a half balloon. I personally love silent sports and one of them is sailing. When I am able to sail it truly brings me joy as it amazes me when it feels like something unseen is propelling me through the water. It for me is a great feeling, almost acceleration when you can catch a wind and you don’t realize how fast you are going until you look back at the wake of the boat, the wave you create by way of the speed at which you are travelling. It doesn’t feel like you are in a wind at all, it feels like you are in the middle of a dead calm but when you look around you realize that you are really moving. In our 1st Scripture today from the Acts of the Apostles, God the Holy Spirit came to the apostles in a strong driving wind, took control of them and bestowed on them His seven gifts, wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety and wonder and awe of the Lord. With those gifts the Apostles were able to do marvelous things. Before receiving those gifts they were hiding in the upper room, afraid of those people outside. Afraid that those people would do the same thing to them as they had to Jesus if they professed belief in him and what he taught. After they received those gifts they had abilities that they never thought they had, providing them with at least the beginning of all the tools they needed to spread the truths which Jesus had taught them, and even though that wasn’t their goal, they established the beginning of the Christian faith. They not only had the courage to talk to the people and to preach to them but they had what might be called the gift of tongues, that is, they had the ability to have each person in their audience hear them in their own language. For the apostles it must have made them wonder where all that capability came from.
It was probably like I had described, sailing with the wind and seeing that you are really moving and the ability you have is from the wind just like the wisdom, understanding, knowledge, strength, and piety, that is all the capabilities they had was the result of receiving the Seven Gifts of Holy Spirit.
You and I are given that same Spirit in each of the Sacraments especially in the sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. When we were Confirmed we are reminded that we were sealed with the Holy Spirit and that Spirit permeated our entire being when we are anointed with Holy Chrism oil. We receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit in a special way, at our Baptism symbolized by the Holy Chrism oil. We as well receive not just the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit but as well Jesus and God The Father each time we receive the Eucharist.
Then it is up to each of us to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit just as we tap into the wind when sailing. In sailing we can just let the sail loft, wave in the wind or we can tap into the wind and let it move us. In sailing we tap into the wind by taking hold of the sail rope and let the sail catch the wind. In our lives we tap into the Holy Spirit through prayer. It’s as simple as that, just like pulling the rope attached to the sail. When we do tap into the Spirit, marvelous things will happen just like they did for the apostles, not necessarily all at once but, as we learn to pray, that is communicate with God better and better the results are better. The results will be like the apostles experienced, that is, we will no longer be cowards, unwilling to defend our faith but we can be transformed from being absorbed by material things of this world to become people who value both material and spiritual things. We become people who are never willing to surrender that peace that God is willing and able give each of us. We can become people who are always willing to spread God’s truths, to love unconditionally and forgive everyone.
Don’t you want to be that kind of person? I sure do. All it takes is to allow the wind of the Spirit of God move us in the direction he wants us to go. We need to set our sails to catch the wind of the Spirit.