One of the optional readings for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord contains this quotation from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians:
“I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”
Saint Paul, the master of endurance for the sake of the Gospel, urges us to humility, gentleness, and patience! We are tempted to respond to trials with sarcasm, anger, spite, and contempt. Such actions are unworthy of the call we have received! None of these things build up the Body of Christ. Humility, gentleness, and patience, however, are the spiritual mortar that will bind us together to build up the Church. These are the weapons that Paul used to conquer even his captors and win them for Christ.
Jesus ascended into heaven so that He might shower down upon us the Spirit Who unites us. It is the Spirit who provides us with the gifts that keep us together despite our human weakness: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. These gifts in turn bear Fruits in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
As we look forward to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, let us pray to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit anew. May our charity bear great fruit and our unity be strengthened by the Spirit in all that we do.