The Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways. Whenever we are faced with a move, a change, it brings conflicting feelings.
This Pentecost I am in the middle of preparing for a move from my first assignment as a priest to a new assignment later this month. One of my brother priests called it “from one extreme to another” – from two slow-paced, rural parishes to a big suburban parish with a school in a major college town. I have lived here four years, five if you count the times I visited on the weekend as a transitional deacon. The people and the place have left a mark on my heart. Everywhere I look I find more things that belong to me and that I will need to pack and move. I also find things I’ve bought for the rectory with Church money and wonder if I’ll have these same amenities at the new place.
Moving is difficult, not just for me but for the staff and the parish. Each person has to deal with it in their own way. I am filled with conflicting emotions: excitement for the new and unknown and sadness for the places where I experienced God’s love. A part of me is happy to leave behind certain people and memories. In the mess of the move, the preparation, the packing, the schedule hassles, the new pastor moving in early, the waiting for the date of the move, it is easy to feel lost and forgotten. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is advancing while I stand still. Temptations multiply to fill oneself with snacks, TV, iced cappuccinos… and indeed some of those things do seem to take the edge off temporarily. It is hard to pray, to sit and be still in the heart even during prayer. Moving brings up emotions and memories from the past, insecurities and fears.
There is something else too, though, or rather someone. There is a presence, a deep peace, a person who is accompanying me, who gives thoughts such as “Be at peace, it will be all right,” “Be patient, it will work out,” “Keep praying your regular prayers,” “Stay quiet,” “Watch me work this out.” This is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the one we call the Holy Spirit. He is God just like the Father and the Son. He is a person just like the Father and the Son. And His presence is palpable in all those who have been baptized and believe.
The Holy Spirit is all-pervading, the Advocate, the Consoler, the one whom I can trust when all else seems to fail. The Holy Spirit has been there for me in the past and I am even more aware of Him now. The Holy Spirit wants me to be strong and calm:
By waiting and by calm you shall be saved. In quiet and in trust your strength lies.
The Holy Spirit wants me to be holy, to not freak out, not send a quick reply over email, not make a hasty comment, not indulge. The Holy Spirit wants me to enjoy this experience even amid the pain. The Holy Spirit wants me to have a holy transition and His way is indeed the better, wiser way.
Why be up in arms? Why fear, be anxious? Nothing has importance except my relationship with the Son and the Father in the Holy Spirit. Everything else is fluff. May God bless all our moves and transitions!
By Fr. Tom Wasilewski
Fr. Tom was born in Poland, raised in East Lansing, Michigan, and graduated from Central Michigan University. Since his ordination in 2010 he has been a priest in the Diocese of Lansing. In his spare time he likes to mountain bike and work on basic wood projects.