The Feast of Pentecost always gives me a chance to reflect on and give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life. As I journey through parish ministry, I have become all that more aware and thankful for the gift of the Spirit. Like many folks, I think I often took the Spirit for granted when
I was younger. Even after the Sacrament of Confirmation it was sometimes difficult to see how the Spirit was active and present in my life. As I began to discern my vocation and journeyed through formation, I began to grow more attentive to the working of the Spirit in my life. To see how He might be calling me in prayer, in my relationships, in my interests and desires.
However, it really was not until I began active ministry that I came to a much greater appreciation for the work of the Spirit in my life. There are countless moments throughout my time at the parish where I have found myself in absolute wonder at the Spirit’s working. Whether it is someone who has thanked me for a point in my homily that I did not intend to make, or being at just the right place and time to encounter someone who really needed to talk to a priest, it has become a bit easier for me to see the place of the Spirit in my life.
Although my seminary formation was excellent, there are still numerous times I find myself in situations where I still feel unprepared, whether in a difficult pastoral situation or a new administrative challenge. It is in these moments, when I am most acutely aware of my human limitations, that I am constantly astounded by the grace of the Spirit because somehow things usually manage to turn out well.
It is often when we are most cognizant of our human flaws that we are able to see the grace of the Holy Spirit present in our lives. It takes true and genuine humility to admit that there are times when we don’t know all the answers or that we don’t have it all sorted out, but with that humility comes the grace of knowing that Christ has sent His Spirit upon us to be with us and guide us at all times.
Fr. Brian Ching, C.S.C., is associate pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in South Bend, Ind. He is originally from Flushing, N.Y., and is a graduate of Holy Cross High School. He entered seminary while a student at the University of Notre Dame. He professed Final Vows in 2012 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2013. Learn more about Holy Cross parish ministry here.