In learning how to be an actor, one of my greatest frustrations was that I couldn't make it happen on my own.
I could learn my lines word for word, knowing them so well that I could say them automatically without thinking. I could know my blocking, understand my character, have myself prepared mentally and physically for the show.
But none of that work would be enough. I could give a technically perfect performance that was dull and lifeless. Unless there passed between us - my fellow actors and myself - a certain spark or spirit, nothing interesting would happen.
But if this happened - if we were inspired - amazing and unpredictable things would fall into place. Scenes that were routine and mechanical in rehearsal would become electrifying and vivid in performance ... and while I learned how to channel and control this inspiration, this spontaneity, I also learned that I quite literally depended upon it. I could prepare for and invite this "life force", this "creative spirit", as I called it, in - but I could not force it or fake it.
This was my first tangible experience of the Holy Spirit, and the first proof that I had (young atheist as I was) that there were things beyond this material realm. He has inspired my whole life ever since.
He stirs us up. He is the Great Consoler, the Comforter, but only by way of Disturbance. He is not stingy, and is not seeking to give a shallow peace or comfort. He wants to give a great peace that can only be known by tearing away our sins and our pride and the facade that we build to shield us from the world and from our own true selves.
He is the life of God within us. He is the source of our being. He is how we know what is true, what is beautiful and what is good. He is our conscience. He is the still, small voice. He is the nagging and difficult way of bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things. He remakes us, when we let Him.
We can do all the work - learning our lines, learning our blocking, researching our character, staying in shape. But that is merely the effort of preparing His temple.
The life comes when He descends to dwell in it - to dwell in us.
Holy Spirit, come!
Let us pray a decade of the Rosary meditating upon the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost. And let us pray ...
To you, Immaculate Heart of Mary, we consecrate ourselves – our hearts, minds, wills and lives and all those works we undertake so they may be for the glory of God, for the sake of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Holy Mother, our Queen and our Joy, give to our hearts the dimensions of yours and form us in the image of your beloved Son.