Father John J. Lombardi
On this Pentecost feast, pray: Holy Spirit anoint me: release in me any bad thoughts, addictions, desires/ increase within me to become like You: Fire. Comment: this prayer repeatedly in mediation can help free us from all harmful thing within so we can be emptied to be filled with God, and
become, like Him-Fire-i.e., less egoically selfishly-solidified and more spiritual, porous, Trinitarianly-transparent, God-like.
Catholics need the Holy Spirit because we need The Spirit's Fire, His sustaining Love, and His "wildness." Some are afraid of the Spirit because He is Fire--hard to contain and blows where He wills and thus humans cannot control and "tame" Him. The Holy Spirit filled wily John the Baptist and
Moses, the Desert Fathers, and saints Phillip Neri and Francis of Assisi and John Bosco-who are spiritually extraordinary "Christic-characters" who couldn't be pigeon- holed and who were as "un-orthodox" in manner and style as they were orthodox in belief. May this same Spirit dwell in us and liberate us from the
ABC's of: angularity-stiffness, cookie-cutter Christians-and into Godly grittiness; bureaucracy- shuffling paper and over emphasis on order and appearance-and into the spirit's freedom; corporatism's cunningness for money-Catholics rather use money, they shouldn't abuse it. Msgr Phillips wily beloved re-founder of
the Grotto was concerned about this Mystical Mountain always being a spiritual haven for souls
May the Spirit lead us to Truth (to follow and integrate the Ten Commandments), proper holy lifestyles simplicity and spiritual elegance and beauty) and mystical Love (more prayer). The Holy Spirit opens a spiritual passageway to our Higher-Power -God.
So, as I depart from the Grotto here' some snapshots of our Mystical Mountain….
SACRAMENTS: I will not forget the Masses-with people from all over the world. One time we had Mass in French, Latin, Irish brogue-with a French speaking Senegalese bishop, an Irish celebrant and Latin music. It was a beautiful, fun Spirit manifestation… Also, I heard so many confessions
walking around the Grotto of people. One time a pilgrim was passing briskly on Rt. 15 highway and saw the beautiful Mary-golden statue and wondered made U-turn to our Grotto and wondered if a priest was here to make a confession. Voila-a priest showed and the man glowed after making his confession. Mary brings us to
Jesus' Divine Mercy!
MIRACULOUS: so many pilgrims came to me from all over the world and told me about the miraculous water and blessings and healings they've received form Mary's Mountain. A year ago a lady-pilgrim from the Ivory Coast and she and her husband asked for a blessing to conceive. She re-visited last
week and said she was expecting twins!...I was enamored by the couple who said they come here because they feel called to this special place and reminded me of its sacredness by their fervor and Faith.
MYRIAD PEOPLE: from Ethiopians and/Eritreans in scarves and native-elegant dresses who love drinking the water: and often smile when we say to each other, "salaam" (peace) to Koreans who enjoy bowing to you, and the many Vietnamese, who ask for blessings and the Latino's from Central and S.
America who love "La Virgen," -The Virgin, and the Philippinos - who are always kindly and want to kiss your priestly hand -I will miss this Mountain's revelation of God's Love and His people. I'll also miss…I recall Bill & Katie-who pilgrimage here on Sundays-- he often carries his beautiful, autistic daughter up
the Grotto and prays the stations of the Cross.
- I remember the Ethiopian lady - who asked me for wooden rosary - I found and gave her wooden cross and rosary and she lit up with her eyes-and heart-in astounding gratefulness and immediately bowed to me and thanked me profusely…Eamon is a boy with autism and can only seemingly say "Jesus"
when I see him and is a wrestling match for his Pilipino dad to carry. I'm so inspired by this dad's love of this guy, his commitment, and told him so-"Keep up the good holy work!" He then hugged me.
Making my rounds last Sunday I went in Corpus Christ Chapel - and there was Persian ornate rug on the floor before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the statue of Mary Help of Christians. I knew from experience that an Ethiopian visited here and left an offering.
- Raymond and Lauren: who come from nearby regularly, they are "God's little ones," devoted, simple and spiritual-I saw and love their child-like dedication.
- I recall the lady w/ Down's syndrome - and I said to her, "Jesus: I trust in You!" and she said spontaneously in response with that Downs child-likeness, "I do, Father, and I love you, Father!"
- I will remember the Ivory Coast "Mystical Rosa" group - singing so spiritually and sonorously; the great pilgrimage of the Vietnamese every Summer; the holy hoopla of the Peruvian groups for the Virgin of Mt Carmel, and picnics and Marian processions of homeschooling groups, and, also, so
many Africans who exclaim: "God is good, all the time!"
I just saw one of my priest friend's Fr George Restreppo, SJ, whom I admire greatly because, well, The Holy Spirit is in Him-he so spiritual. Anyway I asked him how his new assignment was going and he said it was part of God's Plan, to stretch and prune him and that though he whined just a
little, he was fitting into it and that all the mystery of life is about God's Love and surrender to, and trust in, Him. Hmmm, great advice as I leave Mary's Mountain, and maybe for you too in times of transitions always deeper into God's Will and Kingdom!
I thank all the lay-faithful form nearby Mary's Mountain who have helped me greatly especially the McKenna's and Tiller families, Morris Blake our organist; the Johnsons, Wards and Graupners; the, Horner and Grimes and McGlynn and Seiloff families; and Grotto staff -Bill and Carol and Tink and
Marty and Bill and Al. And I recall with special fondness the many faithful altar boys and their families who served The High Priest Jesus and this present priest at the altar.
Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi