At first Vespers of the Solemnity of Pentecost, it is our community's custom to draw for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Each sister draws a small card, shaped like a flame, and on the back of the card is written a gift and a fruit of the Spirit. This year's celebration of the Vigil of Pentecost was a little different than usual since it was a little more "cozy" now that we are in our make-shift chapel (pictures coming soon) ... the chapel of the exiles. It was also different from last year for another reason.
This is a true story (and could be sub-titled, "Life in the monastery is never boring part III") :
Pentecost 2005. We were gathered in choir for Office of Readings on the eve of Pentecost. In the middle of the second reading from St. Irenaeus -- just prior to the responsory which reads "...they had all gathered together in one place. Out of the heavens there came the sound of a great wind, which filled the whole house, alleluia" -- lightening struck the roof of the Monastery. There was a sound which filled the whole house; it was the fire alarm, triggered by the lightening. And yes, we were all gathered in one room. No one began speaking in tongues. There was a moment of calm, while everyone looked around to be sure she was not imagining the sound, before the choir emptied and we each proceeded to our "fire-alarm" responsibilities: some to the school, some to the infirmary, most to the assembly room. The fire department dutifully and promptly arrived and checked out the fourth floor roof-access ladder which we suspected was the manner by which the lightening was conducted into the building.
This year, we are most grateful that the Holy Spirit has decided to make his arrival in a quieter manner. And we leave our faithful readers with St. Francis de Sales' words to St. Jane de Chantal from Pentecost 1620:
"As long as we are in the world we can only love by doing good -- since our love must be active -- we have need of counsel in order to discern what we must practice and do for this love which urges us. And in order that we may know how we are to do good, what particular good we must prefer . . . the Holy Spirit gives us his gift of counsel."