“Come, Father of the poor! Come, source of all our store! Come, within our bosoms shine!” (Ama ng mga maralita, dulot mo’y pagpapala upang kami’y magkusa.)
We bring to an end today a journey which began ninety days ago when we all came to church in order to receive ashes on our foreheads. At that time, we heard the ministers of the Church remind us of the poverty of our human nature: “Remember man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” God created the human being out of clay and breathed into him so that the human being became a living being. He gave us a spirit, a Divine consciousness (isang maka-Diyos na kamalayan) so that we can say that man, consisting of body, soul, and spirit, is the image and likeness of God. Something so low, so humble as clay, is given the dignity of being the image and likeness of God.
But sin destroyed our likeness unto God. Sin brought us to the depth of human misery which is death. We said that at death, man loses everything. That is why death is the ultimate poverty: man is reduced to dust. Seeing the poverty of man, God sent his Son who descended not only by embracing our human nature but went further down by humbly accepting death on a Cross. Last week, we saw how the Father exalted Jesus far above the principalities and powers. The Lord Jesus, at his ascension, brought our lowly human nature with himself. It was not only the Divine nature that returned to heaven. The human nature which is assumed at the incarnation we brought up to heaven as well. The ascension was the deification of the human nature.
Today, from the Father’s throne, the Risen Lord sends to us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the Father and the Son descended upon the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday. We received the same Holy Spirit on the day of our baptism. God descends upon man to dwell in us as in a temple. The Holy Spirit restores to us what sin took away, that is, our likeness unto God. He refines our human nature and then deifies it. The Holy Spirit gives us more than just enlightenment during examinations. He gives us Divine life. He gives us himself. Thus, he is called the “Father of the poor.” He is sent to us and transforms our poverty into the Divine likeness. The Holy Spirit is the forgiveness of our sins. He is the “most blessed Light divine” who fills our innermost being. He is the closest that God could be with us because he dwells within us.
And so the journey is complete. Man, who came from dust and was reduced to dust, now is the living temple of God. Let us always cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Let us allow him to heal the wounds of our sins and to renew our strength. Let us beg him to wash away the stains of our guilt. Let us ask him to refine our human nature, to “bend our stubborn heart and will.” By our obedience to the Holy Spirit, may we, at the end, receive the sure reward of virtue, which is salvation. Holy Spirit, renew our hearts. Renew the face of the earth!
Jesus, I trust in you! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!