“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew the right Spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and with your governing Spirit establish me.” (Ps 50: 10-12, Septuagint-translation)
This Monday, the day right after Pentecost, is called “The Day of the Holy Spirit,” because it is traditional for our church-calendar to celebrate the main “actor/s” of a great feast one day after the feast (e.g., one day after Christmas we celebrate the Theotokos; one day after Theophany/The Baptism of the Lord we celebrate St. John the Baptist; one day after The Meeting of the Lord we celebrate Sts. Symeon and Anna). So today we “celebrate” (from the Latin “celebrare” that means “to assemble to honor”) the Holy Spirit in a special manner, even though we do gratefully note His ever-life-changing and life-creating Presence in our lives on a daily basis, as in the oft-recited Psalm 50, quoted above.
Psalm 50 teaches me to recognize that the Holy Spirit, the “Good One,” is always present to me, the sinner. Just as He was present to King David, the author of this Psalm, who composed it as he was repenting, having committed adultery and murder. “Take not your Holy Spirit from me,” says David, not doubting that the Holy Spirit is with him, in his repentance, – hence David prays that He “not” be “taken away.” The Psalm also teaches me to want, and ask for, the “renewal” of His “right” Spirit “within me,” – not because the Holy Spirit Himself can become old or rusty, but because I, “within me,” can slip away into “old” habits, of conversing with “wrong” spirits, which have me going around in pointless circles, so I don’t move forward and grow as God wants me to.
Today I choose to step out of the circles, once again, letting God “renew” and “establish” me on the firm and fertile ground of His life-creating Spirit. In Him, and by His grace, I receive a new and healthy perspective on things, like gratitude and humility, so I can do the next “right” thing, according to His purpose for me. “Your right Spirit shall lead me into the land of uprightness (ἐν γῇ εὐθείᾳ, на землю праву).” (Ps 142: 12) (Happy Day of the Holy Spirit, dear friends who celebrate it today! I’ve been absent for a few days, because I was preparing a talk for the upcoming Orientale Lumen Conference on Icons in Liturgy. Get a sneak-preview of this talk, on the symbolism & practical implications of the much-discussed Communion-spoon, here: https://vimeo.com/426620725?fbclid=IwAR37NgK0gwDIwHZW3l-UEVxQjaF8r32y8Li_a03RDRItHRXOd-mnKRfm8YU.)