Today, the Solemnity of Pentecost, or rather the descent of the Holy Spirit on the fearful apostles, is surely an event of transformation and recreation. The Spirit transforms those fearing men, closed in themselves due to their fear and recreates them into courageous witnesses of the Risen Jesus.
The principal agent for this outstanding transformation is, as the Bible says, the Holy Spirit. As my Capuchin confrere and preacher of the Pontifical Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, rightly explains in his commentary on the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time on November 11, 2005: “In Hebrew, the name of the Holy Spirit, ‘Ruah,’ is feminine. But, without stressing this fact too much, it is true that there is a certain affinity, a conniving, and a partnership between the Holy Spirit and woman. He is called the paraclete, which means consoler, and ‘spirit of life,’ which ‘warms what is cold, heals what is sick.’ And who better than woman shares, at the human level, these prerogatives?”
And, when my eminent Capuchin brother preacher, hints in his exposition at the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the feminine side of God, since and obviously, “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27), this led me to view the Holy Spirit as God’s music. In his intriguing book Meet the Holy Spirit, Pastor Dr. Jack Hyles writes: “
“We are also taught concerning the use of music as it relates to the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:19, ‘Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.’ It is very interesting that this follows the statement in Ephesians 5:18, ‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.’ We would be tempted to follow such a statement about Spirit-fulness with an activity such as preaching or soul winning, but the first statement that is made by the Holy Spirit after His fulness is mentioned is that of music!”
Yes! The Holy Spirit is God’s music! It is the Spirit who inspires the musican to compose his and her musical masterpiece. As Pope Benedict XVI perfectly showed in his speech at the conclusion of a concert by the International Piano Academy of Imola, marking the twenty years since its foundation, on October 17 2009: “Music, great music distends the spirit, arouses profound emotions and almost naturally invites us to raise our minds and hearts to God in all situations of human existence, the joyful and the sad. Music can become prayer”.
Recently I was particularly struck by the famous 1995 song Vivo per lei (I live for her) recorded by Italian artist Andrea Bocelli as duet with Giorgia Todrani to be inserted in his album Bocelli. The word for music, in Italian, is feminine, “musica”. The deeper I went into my appreciation of its undying lyrics the more Vivo per leimade me realize how the Holy Spirit is, in fact, musica, music.
“Since I first met her [the Holy Spirit] I don’t remember how, but she [the Holy Spirit] entered my soul [the Holy Spirit] and stayed there. I live for her [the Holy Spirit] because she [the Holy Spirit] makes my heart vibrate strongly I live for her [the Holy Spirit] and its not a burden … She [the Holy Spirit] belongs to everyone who has an insatiable need like a radio in a room of the one who is alone but now knows that she’s [the Holy Spirit] also for him, and that’s why I live for her [the Holy Spirit]… Even if tomorrow will be rough. I live to the limit for her [the Holy Spirit]. Every day a conquest, the protagonist will always be her [the Holy Spirit]. I live for her [the Holy Spirit] because from now on I have no other way out … because she [the Holy Spirit] gives me pauses and notes in freedom. If had another life l’d live it, I’d live it for her [the Holy Spirit]”.
How beautiful when Pentecost is seen and experienced as God’s never ending music in you and me!
Holy Spirit, you are the Father’s music played by the Son in my heart. Tune me to Yourself to dance to Your rhytm and sing Your life-giving lyrics. Holy Spirit, I live for You alone. Amen.