Come, Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit

HOMILY AT VESPERS – 7:30 PM, SUNDAY, JUNE 4

It is good to gather in prayer tonight on the feast of Pentecost.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful,

And kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.

And you shall renew the face of the earth.

I would like to begin by thanking Archbishop Paul Etienne.  Paul, I appreciate your encouragement and guidance the last three months.  Also, it is a blessing to have so many family members here.  My family is large, supportive and entertaining.  I have 12 siblings, and sometimes they tell tall tales, so if they say something about me that seems crazy, just ignore it!

I bring to Cheyenne a strong sense of FAMILY.  My family of origin shaped my identity, instilled in me a strong work ethic and nourished the gift of faith.  What a gift my family has been!

For me, the CHURCH has become a second family.  It was bittersweet to leave S. Dakota because of such strong relationships.  In a special way, I have been blessed with the bond of brotherhood among the priests in Rapid City.  I have been in a Iesu Caritas fraternity with some of them for 24 years.  I hope to build on the gift of FAMILY here in Cheyenne.

To begin, I want to tell a story of a good brother priest.  He taught me what it means to live as a brother in a family of faith.  I spent six years on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation with Msgr. Bill O’Connell.  Ministry on the rez is so challenging because of the tragic suffering in people’s lives.  However, of all the assignments which I had, that one was one of the best.…. because we had such a good team spirit, not only as brother priests, but also with the sisters and deacon couples with us.

Often we were at a mission parish until late at night.  But in the morning Msgr. O’C made a point of discussing with me what time we would be back, so that we could plan the evening meal together, even if that meant that we waited to eat until 8 or 9 PM.  Whoever, came back first was on to cook.

When we drove for four hours to and from Rapid City, he stopped to see the priests along the way…. to show them his concern. He was a master at listening to people and asking about their family.

He often would call priests who had problems.  At times, he disagreed strongly with personal decisions that they had made, and he told them so in no uncertain terms.  But he never cut off the relationship, even when he felt that a man was wrong.

In The Joy of the Gospel (#169), Pope Francis said, The Church will have to initiate everyone—priests, religious and laity—into this “art of accompaniment” which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5).”  Msgr. O’Connell initiated me in the “art of accompaniment.”  He listened to people, walked alongside them, encouraged, challenged and prayed for them …. as a humble, sinful and merciful brother.

As a bishop, I hope to practice the art of accompaniment both as a spiritual Father and as a brother in Christ.  In the ritual, the priest being ordained as a bishop is told, “With the charity of a father and brother, love all whom God places in your care.”

I have learned from Msgr. Bill O’C and from my own family the sustaining power of brothers and sisters who hang together…. who accompany each other.  But also I have known the discouraging division when siblings bicker & fight.  We all know this in our families, but I am especially speaking about it in regard to our family of faith.  One of the greatest delights of the Evil One is to discourage us or divide us through back-biting and bickering.

As a Church family, we need to pray for one another, speak about each other with goodness and reach out with compassion to brothers or sisters in distress.

This is the hardest work.

One of the benefits of coming from a large family is that you get lots of practice in disagreeing and compromising, in fighting and forgiveness. I have learned to never give up on this process, to never give up with family members and with my Church family.

But not giving up on family requires that I do not give up on myself, as a beloved son of a merciful Father.  I mean that I need to humbly accept God’s mercy each day, even when I fail to be a good brother to others.  The KEY to never giving up lies in what Jesus taught us about the Holy Spirit.

He said that the Holy Spirit is the Paraclete.  Paraclete means the “One who stands beside you,” or literally the “One whom you call to your side.”  The Latin word is Advocate, which we use for a lawyer who stands beside you to defend you.

I believe wholeheartedly in the Paraclete.  The Holy Spirit always stands with me when I am faithful and unfaithful, if only I cry out with humble trust. The Holy Spirit always stands with you when you are faithful and unfaithful, if only you cry out with humble trust.  This is one of the most important truths of the faith.  Jesus’ last words in Matthew’s gospel are, “I am with you always, to the end of time” (Matt. 28:20).

Pope Francis insists on the art of accompaniment…. of standing beside others and never giving up on them, even when they sin against us.  Why?  Because that is how God treats us.  We need to accompany one another with the same patient love as the Paraclete.  We must never give up on forgiveness and unity in our families and in our Church family.

This kind of UNITY is the work of the Holy Spirit.  St. Paul says, “Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force” (Eph. 4:3). So tonight, let us pray for the grace to never give up on unity in our church family and to practice the art of accompaniment, like the Paraclete.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful,

And kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.

And you shall renew the face of the earth.

 


8 thoughts on “Come, Holy Spirit

  1. Your message is so full of mercury and the love of our Lord. He is always with us. I repeat this numerous times a day. The Holy Spirit is within me, always, that is my strength.
    Bishop Steven, you are gifted with a way of speaking/writing God’s word. You are an eloquent speaker. Your openness in sharing and love draws your flock near.
    I pray for you always. We will miss you deeply however WY is near. Your messages through email keeps you close. I shall keep you updated on my annulment process. God bless you! Peace Be With You!

  2. Bishop Steven,
    I absolutely love this message and am so excited to have your kind, compassionate and door open leadership in our diocese. Thank you so much for the gifts you are bringing and sharing with us. I’m really looking forward to your ordination tomorrow. Congratulations!e

  3. Hi Bishop Steven! Our thoughts & Prayers are for you on this feast of the Pentecost. “May the Holy Spirit guide you & strengthen you & always remain with you.” “Oh Blessed Mother Mary, we pray that you watch over Bishop Steven & all the Holy Order of Bishops & all the religious men & women of God.”

  4. The Solemn Vespers were beautiful. The homily was inspirational. The Diocese of Cheyenne has been blessed to have the Most Reverend Steven R. Beigler come to be our Bishop.

  5. Thank you for your post about the Holy Spirit tonight. I will keep you in prayer tomorrow as you accompany us as Bishop. Congratulations on this most special day!

  6. My prayers are with you today and every day as you become Bishop. you will be greatly missed in South Dakota. I am so happy that I can say I was able to share your time in McLaughlin along with Msg O’C. Cheyenne is not far!!

  7. Congratulations Bishop Steven. It was an honor to attend the ordination and installation ceremony. Your message is inspirational, yet humbling…a positive lesson, not only for Wyoming, but for the rest of the world. I pray for you as you pray for all of us.

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