Hurricane Katrina and the Holy Spirit

May 30, 2012

Denise at Loyola Press invited me to write a reflection on the Holy Spirit for my recent dotMagis post.   My experience in the months after Hurricane Katrina at my Baton Rouge parish instantly came to mind.  Here is part of my post: 

To say that Katrina was a major turning event in my life and especially my faith life is an understatement. Katrina brought me to my knees, and with my total surrender to God, the Holy Spirit entered into my life in full force. Within the confusion and disbelief in the months following the storm, I began to understand the gift of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives in Ordinary Time. I began to understand Pentecost, not as a single feast day to celebrate, but as a way to live our lives, fully aware of God at work through the Spirit.

To name all the moments of suffering embraced in grace, full of the fruits of the Spirit, would be impossible. There is one, though, that stays with me and I draw from on a daily basis. Our parish in Baton Rouge adopted an African-American parish in New Orleans which had literally lost everything. Many of the members sought refuge in Baton Rouge because their homes and everything they owned were washed away in Katrina’s flooding. Within weeks of being within our parish, St. Gabriel’s parishioners taught us a new prayer. Right after the Gospel and before the homily, we would all pause for a moment of silence and then sing this prayer:

Holy Spirit, come and fill this place.
Bring us healing and your warm embrace.
Show your power; make your presence known.
Holy Spirit, come fill this place.
Breath of God, we need a touch from you.
Shine down on us with the light of truth.
Stir our hearts and set our spirits free.
Holy Spirit, come fill this place.

To read the rest…..

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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