Mass of the Holy Spirit
Student Reflection by Reiley Macicek, Class of 2022
As a young child, I was taught a few ways to recognize the Holy Spirit: the third person of the Trinity; a dove; a vague, invisible guidance from above. We were always told in grammar school to “keep room for the Holy Spirit” between you and your middle school classmates. While we all might know of the Holy Spirit, do we truly know the Holy Spirit?
For the longest time, my answer to this question was no. I thought the whole idea of the Holy Spirit was something I might understand when I am older, not someone I could have a relationship with. How is it possible to get to know and feel someone whom you can’t see or hear? How are you supposed to have any connection to this unknown being? I could not give you an answer to these questions for the longest time. However, my getting-to-know the Holy Spirit finally began at a very unusual time – quarantine. I am one of those people who loves to have something to do, to be on my toes, always be active. Not being able to do that because of Covid restrictions, got me doing just the opposite. I found myself with time to just breathe, to sit in peace, and to learn to be ok with the silence of the world.
I started using my free time to make trips to the Adoration Chapel. At first, this was intimidating. How was I expected to sit in a confined space with strangers being absolutely silent and just praying? It sounded pretty weird to me, but I went. I started writing in my journal and when I looked up at the clock, I noticed an hour had gone by already. Soon after that, every other day I was in there reading a book. Again, weird. Since when would I read a book for fun? But something, or someone, was drawing me back to the chapel again and again, and I was loving it. This new change was a blessing for me. Being away from home, in a different environment, sitting in the quiet, was exactly what I needed, even if it took a whole pandemic to figure it out.
But one day this new, quiet routine changed. I walked in and there were six people in the chapel, and for those who don’t go pray there regularly, that’s a lot of people. I was jotting down some things in my journal, when all of a sudden, I heard an older lady begin to cry. I then watched as a woman stood up and started talking. I thought to myself, you never talk in the Adoration Chapel, right? Wrong. She talked and prayed out loud. She looked at all of us and said, “Sisters, please pray for your hurt sister over here. She is going through a hard time and needs some extra prayers. Help her to feel your love, Oh God.” And she sat back down and that was it. The first thought that came to my mind was. Why me? Why was I in the room with her to pray for her? What was special about me?
I thought about this for a second, and as I looked up at the big open skylight above me, I felt as if someone was telling me the answer: you are a light, be a light, and be a leader. In that moment, I didn’t think much of it. I couldn’t tell if I imagined the voice, or if God had truly whispered something to me. I decided to let it go and ask Him to continue to guide me. A month later I was sitting in church, still praying and still seeking His guidance in my life. To be quite honest I didn’t want to. I was scared I would be classified as the Church girl or the girl who was always praying and never had fun. I was angry with God for bringing me back to Him every day, and somehow, I was still left feeling lost, impatient, and unfulfilled.
As I was about to just get up and give up, I suddenly saw a flash out of the side of my eye. I looked over, but it had gone away. I walked up to my sister and asked if she had seen it too. She said she did, and that it was just the light bulb flickering. That simple, logical answer made the small feeling of excitement fade away. I walked over to the broken light which had happened to be under a statue of St. Lucy. I had never heard of St. Lucy. Who was she? What did she do? I grabbed my phone and quickly looked her up on Google. The first thing that came up was: St. Lucy, The Patron Saint of Light. In that moment, I broke down. I ran to my mom and told her that God wants me to be a light. I was sure that the Holy Spirit had patiently guided me then and will continue to do so always. He opened my eyes and heart to the possibility of being different and being open about my love for the Lord.
In the Gospel today, we heard Jesus say repeatedly, “Peace be with you.” Let’s take these words to heart. Everyone, no matter where you are, or how tired you may be, or how stressed you may feel, close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and take a deep breath out. Place your hands out in front of you, palms up. Breathe in again. Think about all your worries, anxieties, and stresses. Breathe out. Let go of all of it. Let this new space be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let Him take those things. Be at Peace, feel at home. The Lord is within you now. He is holding your hands and with you always. Now open your eyes. Take today and the rest of your life to find moments of peace. Try to pray with your arms open to accept the Holy Spirit. He is there and guiding you today and always. I don’t know exactly how the Holy Spirit will reveal Himself to you. It might not be a woman asking for prayers or a flickering light in a church. But I can assure you He will reveal Himself to you in a personal and meaningful way – one you might not expect or even come to realize until months later. But the truth is, He wants to be in your heart. All you need to do is open your heart for Him.