Homily for Pentecost 2019

June 9, 2019 | Reflections from Abbess Hilda

Years ago when I was teaching little children, we used to read poetry some afternoons and there is one I have never forgotten. It was “The Wind” by Robert Louis Stevenson. It went like this

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies’ skirts across the grass—

O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all–

O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?

O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

At the time and even now, it struck and strikes me as a magnificent description of the Spirit in action.

Yet who is it that sees Spirit of God and hears His call? Who is the person who actually feels the spirit propel them, push them through their life? Who is it that is so sensitive to the ways of God, that even His slightest breath is felt against the doors of the soul? Furthermore who is it when their eyes are blinded by tears, can still see hope in the midst of their pain?

I would put to you that person,is the one who continually goes looking, the one who expects to find, the one whose continual practice it is to look for the marks of God. This is the person who so desperately needs and wants the Spirit, that they cannot but be in touch with it.

If Pentecost Sunday is to have its full impact then I would invite to look inside your own life right now and ask yourself “Where do I need the Spirit of God”. If you go through the Sequence for Pentecost and I suggest you all to do that during the next twenty four hours, you will get a bit of clue as to where the Spirit is for you this year 2019.

For instance:

  • Has grief or disturbance of whatever kind invaded your life and do you need an understanding consoler?
  • Is there darkness in your life for whatever reason and do you need light and clarity?
  • Are you feeling unloved and unappreciated so that you need the warmth of a loved companion in your heart?
  • Have the pressures of your life been so great recently that you stand in need of “refreshing coolness” and someone bigger and stronger than you to bear the load?
  • Are you feeling incredibly empty, again for whatever reason, and do you need someone with enduring treasures to open an account in your name and give you the password?
  • Are you feeling as though nothing much is working in your life right now? Things are perhaps dry and uninspiring? Do you need the morning dew of the Spirit to descend gently on your heart and give you the energy to start again?
  • Finally are you carrying a burden that makes every step feel like the journey of a thousand miles? Do you therefore stand in need of the Spirit who will guide your step in the direction of joy?

If we ask God, then all of us will sense the Spirit in a different way and people from all over the world tonight will have their souls turned in the direction of the consuming fire on this mountain of ours; the fire that thrives on the tinder of weakness, need and pleading. We will know that fire has come because we will sense the fruits of the Spirit in one another, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


And we will sing together as with one voice:

We saw you toss our lives on high
And blow our worries about the sky;
And all around we heard you pass,
Like habit hems across the grass.

We saw the different things you did,
Though you yourself you hid.
We felt you push, we heard you call,
We knew that you were with us all.

O Flame a burning all day long,
O Breath that sings so loud a song!

You all have a copy of the Pentecost Sequence in front of you, I invite you to pick it up now and look at it.

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,
From Thy clear celestial height,
Thy pure beaming radiance give:
Come, Thou Father of the poor!
Come, with treasures which endure!
Come, Thou Light of all that live!
Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou the soul’s delightful guest
Dost refreshing peace bestow;
Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.
Light immortal! Light divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill;
If thou take thy grace away
Nothing pure in many can stay
All his good is turned to ill
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away;
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold gifts, descend:
Give them comfort when they die,
Give them life with Thee on high,
Give them joys that never end.


To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener.
It is to keep the vigil of mystery,
earthless and still.
One leans to catch the stirring of the Spirit,
strange as the wind’s will.

The soul that walks where the wind of the Spirit blows
turns like a wandering weather-vane toward love.
It may lament like Job or Jeremiah,
echo the wounded hart, the mateless dove.
It may rejoice in spaciousness of meadow
that emulates the freedom of the sky.

Always it walks in waylessness, unknowing;
it has cast down forever from its hand
the compass of the whither and the why.

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a lover.
It is becoming love, and like to Him
toward Whom we strain with metaphors of creatures:
fire-sweep and water-rush and the wind’s whim.
The soul is all activity, all silence;
and though it surges Godward to its goal,
it holds, as moving earth holds sleeping noonday,
the peace that is the listening of the soul.

Poem by Jessica Powers ocd


Abbess Hilda Scott osb