A Sigh of Love
As Bishop Barron, quoting Archbishop Fulton Sheen, mentions in a commentary: from all eternity the Father looks at the Son and the Son looks at the Father. What each sees is utter perfection and beauty. Each sighs his love for the other, and this shared breath is the Spirits Sanctus, love breathed back and forth between Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is a sigh of love, born of beauty. We begin life breathing, so to speak, in union with our mothers, enclosed in their wombs, under their hearts, two hearts beating as one. Once born, we take our first breath of this world’s air and begin to cry, seeking to regain closeness to the maternal heart. We grow older, taking deep breaths, learning to receive and give love, but learning also that all human love is limited. Most of us eventually find love in a particular person, a boy or a girl whose beauty captivates us. We long to breathe together, to become one beating heart again. But this love, only human, disappoints us.
A Refining Fire
Pentecost draws us into the perfect love between the Father and the Son. Their sigh of love fills the world: “a driving wind” fills the house in which the apostles were. They begin to speak with this same breath, speaking only one word: “Jesus.” Jesus is my all in all, as Mother Teresa put it. “Only by the Holy Spirit,” St. Paul testifies, “can anyone say that Jesus is Lord.” Only by the Holy Spirit do we even know that we have a Savior, one who can purify our hobbled human love. The Holy Spirit, however, is not only oxygen to people who are suffocating, but also the fire that feeds on that oxygen. Not only a strong driving wind filled the house, but fire filled the air above the apostles. The sigh of love between Father and Son becomes a fire animating the entire world. Human love needs to be purified. The human embrace can only be fruitful—can bring us to “flourishing” to use a popular word—by virtue of the Holy Spirit. A man and a woman in love humbly ask God’s permission to enter a true embrace, begging the Holy Spirit to fill them on their wedding day. Only after they make their vows before the God’s altar may they kiss. Recklessly entering a “relationship” without first begging help from the Holy Spirit will disappoint us, and eventually hurt everyone around us.
The Sacred Heart
June is the month of Pentecost, and also the month of the Sacred Heart, whose feast follows Pentecost by three weeks (this year, June 23). Jesus opened his heart to us from the Cross, his supreme act of love for his Father. It is when he breathed his last with the words “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” I think, that the Father most loved his Son. God’s love died, and we buried it, on a Friday afternoon, but the Father raised it up again. To “love without limits” (St. Maximilian Kolbe’s aspiration) is now not only possible but certain. But human love must be enclosed within the Sacred Heart, which pours itself out for mankind both from the Cross and on Pentecost.
The Immaculate Heart
Finally, the month of June also is also the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose feast day occurs the day after the feast of the Sacred Heart. In Christ’s Mother, we return to Our Mother. Even the Beatles knew that “Mother Mary comes to me” in times of trouble. When we pray to God in and through Our Lady, we recover the lost love we had in the womb of our earthly mothers. Let pray this June, beginning with the Feast of the Holy Spirit, and marked by the Feasts of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, brings us the joy of knowing Jesus.