O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of your Holy Spirit, Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
My grandfather and his brother, two years older, grew up helping their father farm in northwestern Iowa. Every day their mother sent a lunch with them when they were out working in the fields. One day she included 5 cookies for them. Perhaps she miscounted or perhaps there was just one left over and she put it in the box. Being an odd number, there was no way to equally distribute and a disagreement ensued between the brothers. I am not sure why division of the one remaining cookie was not an option for them, but apparently it was not. The solution they reached to the impasse was to bury the single left-over cookie lest one of them have more than the other.
Today we notice that the Holy Spirit teaches the hearts of people and we pray that he would teach our hearts as well. We like to think that teaching involves the mind. It surely does involve the mind but also the whole person and especially the heart. My grandfather related that story about himself and his brother with a rueful smile. He and his older brother went on to farm together for decades and to live next door to one another until they both died in their 90’s, loving brothers to the end of their lives. The Holy Spirit had taught their hearts how to love and share and sacrifice for the other.
I can imagine those two brothers, close in age, simply not being able to agree on the proper consumption of a single cookie and finally coming to this strange solution. I can imagine it because I too have brothers and sisters and there was a day when such fights might have occupied us as well. Praise God, the Holy Spirit educates our hearts. His consolation means there is not competition, not really, among the people of God. We all have the greatest treasure of all, God’s love freely and fully given in Christ.
Do you have a sibling, cousin, or an old friend with whom there is some dispute? That can happen even when we are adults. Take this time of reflection to exercise some “right understanding” and to “rejoice in His holy consolation.” Pick up the phone or write the letter; restore a relationship in the light of Christ’s love. The Spirit teaches us that every sin stands forgiven.