Memories - Thought for the day on Whit Monday, 1st June
Today is Pentecost Sunday or as I remember it - Whit Sunday. The service today took my mind back to my childhood. I am sure that many of you remember the old traditions of Whitsuntide. Whit Sunday, followed by Whit Monday, was usually a Bank Holiday. Whitsuntide in 1967 was replaced by Spring Bank Holiday which was the last Monday in May. This year, Spring Bank Holiday in Ireland has fallen on Pentecost Sunday and Monday which I regard as the proper dates, but I'm old fashioned.
I was brought up in Dronfield Woodhouse in Derbyshire, which was then a small village. The town of Dronfield is between Sheffield and Chesterfield and is about 2 miles from the village of Dronfield Woodhouse. My family church and the one which I attended is St Swithin's in Holmesfield which is 1 mile from my home. Every Whitsuntide we had new Whitsuntide clothes and shoes, which I believe was traditional in some areas, and we had to wear them on Whit Sunday. On Whit Monday, a number of people from the Church went on the Whit Walk, round the village of Holmesfield, pausing outside the homes of people who were somewhat wealthy, singing a hymn and the Vicar holding out his hand, expecting to be given some money. My father who was an avid church person and used to train the choirboys, strongly disagreed with what he regarded as begging, but the church needed the money, of course and the Whit Walk used to generate quite a sum. One of my main memories as a child is of doing the Whit Walk in new shoes and usually getting blisters on my feet and having sore feet for days.
A thought for Pentecost - quote from Second Vatican Council - The Church Today:
'Christ is now at work in the hearts of men through the energy of His Spirit. He arouses not only a desire for the age to come, but, by that very fact, He animates, purifies, and strengthens those noble longings too, by which the human family strives to make its life more human and to tender the whole earth submissive to this goal.'
I was looking on the internet for some suitable prayers for this time and came across this prayer for the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the current climate of the COVID19 virus, the lockdown and the resultant unhappiness, human greed and the general feeling of being fed up, I thought some of the wording rather appropriate.
Christ Jesus, before ascending to Heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in our lives the work of Your grace and love.
• Grant us the Spirit of Fear Of The Lord, that we may be filled with a loving reverence towards You;
• The Spirit of Piety that we may find peace and fulfilment in the service of God while serving others;
• The Spirit of Fortitude that we may bear our cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with our salvation;
• The Spirit of Knowledge that we may know You and know ourselves and grow in holiness;
• The Spirit of Understanding to enlighten our minds with the light of Your truth;
• The Spirit of Counsel that we may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom;
• Grant us the Spirit of Wisdom that we may aspire to the things that last forever;
Teach us to be your faithful disciples and animate us in every way with Your Spirit.