Pentecost: Come Holy Spirit

Author: Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C.

Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C.

In the Congregation of Holy Cross, what always stands out is the zeal of the brothers and priests to announce the hope of the gospel and to accompany in their sufferings those who are passing through difficult moments of their lives. We are also a community in which the people who work with us, or who know us more closely, frequently ask us: How can you show so much affection for each other being so different?

This question reflects a nagging reality that each Christian, the entire Church, many families, and even each young person must face: how, in the midst of our differences, even with competing convictions, can I live in such a way to show the love that allows us to be light in the world and have the strength to announce it day by day?

One of the important figures in our Congregation was Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., who for 37 years was President of the University of Notre Dame in the United States. Fr. Hesburgh lived in times of great change. He faced great challenges to know how to guide the university, but above all to know how to live with our differences in times of war, racial violence, great social and cultural transformations, and to be able to transmit a light of hope in the midst of darkness. Fr. Hesburgh was always seen as an optimistic person with a lot of hope.

Fr. Ted Hesburgh, CSC

What was the recipe to be able to cope with those hardest moments? Among his writings, he says that his favorite prayer was very simple: “Come, Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit.” At the beginning of the day and at the end of it, he said again: “Come, Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit was undoubtedly the light and strength that guided his entire life.

Learn more about the life of Fr. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C.

The current times are not new. In the gospel, we read how fear had taken hold of the disciples, and while they were hiding, with the doors locked, for fear of the Jews, they received the Holy Spirit who not only disarmed their fears but made them come out to announce Jesus Christ as crucified, yet risen from the dead. In that same room, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.… We hear them speaking in our own language of the wonders of God” (Acts 2:4.11).

The Holy Spirit breaks down our fears, enables us to speak, and opens us to the wonder of being able to understand each other despite our diverse convictions or languages. What a very precious gift in this time of division and conflict. To achieve it, we need to walk in the way of Jesus—knowing how to listen, without fear of speaking, without diluting our own convictions, keeping silent so as to let our chains be broken, returning again and again to prayer—that is the only way to encounter Jesus and receive the truth of God.


It is in the Eucharist where the Spirit brings us together as one family. At the table of the Eucharist, we are reminded how Jesus Christ has been “made one of us by the power of the Holy Spirit.” It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies, through the priest, the gifts that we present to him. He is the one who gathers into one body those of us who participate in the Body and Blood of Christ.

Let us ask day by day, with the same words of Fr. Hesburgh: Come, Holy Spirit, and pour out Your light and Your strength on the decisions that we should not postpone and in the difficulties that must be faced. Above all, help us to embrace the conviction that You will lead us to be living stones of the temple of God, rekindling that fraternal love to which we are called since our Baptism.

Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C.

Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C., served for the previous 9 years as Superior of the Congregation’s District of Chile-Peru. Among other previous ministries, he had served two stints as Rector of St. George’s College in Santiago, Chile. He wrote this reflection for the Feast of Pentecost.