Posts Tagged ‘Pentecost’

Unity of Pentecost Overcomes Division and Emnity

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2014/06/06 at 12:00 AM

A few years ago, now Pope Emeritus

Benedict XVI focused his homily on an essential aspect of the mystery of Pentecost which, he said, is particularly important in our own times. “Pentecost is the feast of union, of human understanding and communion. Yet it is evident to everyone that in our world, although are closer to one another than ever before thanks to the development of the communications media, … understanding and communion among people is often superficial and difficult. Imbalances remain and not infrequently lead to conflict; dialogue among generations is problematic; … we daily witness events which seem to show that mankind is becoming more aggressive and quarrelsome; understanding one another seems too arduous an undertaking, and we prefer to remain within ourselves and focus on our own our interests”.”Thanks to scientific and technological progress we have acquired the power to dominate the forces of nature, to manipulate the elements, to fabricate living beings, almost going so far as to fabricate human beings. In such a situation praying to God seems outmoded and useless, because we ourselves can construct and achieve anything we want”. Yet “men are nursing a sense of diffidence, suspicion and reciprocal fear, to the extent that they have even become a danger to one another”. We have greater power to communicate but, paradoxically, we understand one another less.Harmony and unity “can only come with the gift of God’s Spirit, which will give us a new heart and a new voice, a new ability to communicate. This is what happened at Pentecost. That morning … the Holy Spirit descended on the gathering of the disciples. It rested upon each of them and set the divine fire alight within them, a fire of love with the power to transform. Their fear disappeared, in their hearts they felt a new strength, their tongues were loosened and they began to speak frankly so that everyone could understand the announcement of Jesus Christ, Who died and rose again.At Pentecost division and estrangement gave way to unity and understanding”.In today’s Gospel Jesus, “speaking of the Holy Spirit, tells us what the Church is and how she must live in order to be … a place of unity and communion in the Truth. He tells us that acting as Christians means not remaining closed in one’s own self but being open to all things; it means welcoming the entire Church into our own lives or, better still, allowing her to welcome us in our hearts. … Thus the Holt Spirit, the Spirit of unity and truth, can continue to resound in the hearts and minds of men, encouraging them to meet and accept one another”.

The Holy Spirit leads us to understand the truth, which is Jesus,”but only if we are able to listen and to share, only in the ‘us’ of the Church and with an attitude of profound inner humility. … When men wish to set themselves up as God, they only succeed in setting themselves against one other. On the other hand, when they abide in the truth of the Lord, they open themselves to the action of His spirit which sustains and unites them”.

St. Paul tells us that the life of man is marked by an inner conflict between the impulses of the flesh and those of the spirit. The former are “the sins of selfishness and violence, such as enmity, discord, jealousy and dissension. … They can lead us to lose our lives. However, the Holy Spirit guides us to the pinnacle of God so that, already in this life, we may experience the seed of divine live which is within us. St. Paul says, in fact, that ‘the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace'”.

In conclusion, the Pope exhorted the faithful to live “according to the Spirit of unity and truth. To this end we must pray that the Spirit may illuminate us, guiding us to overcome the lure of our own truths and to accept the truth of Christ, as transmitted by the Church”.



Vatican City, 26 May 2012 (VIS) – “We must form people’s consciences in the light of the Word of God, whence all plans of the Church and of men draw meaning and strength, also as regards the construction of the earthly city. We must renew the soul of our institutions and make history fertile with the seeds of new life”. Benedict XVI pronounced these words this morning in St. Peter’s Square where he received thousands of members of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Association,which is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of its foundation in Italy.

The Pope expressed the view that “in modern society we are experiencing a situation which is in some ways precarious, characterised by insecurity and the fragmentary nature of decisions. Often there is a lack of points of reference from which to draw inspiration for our lives. It is, then, increasingly important to construct the edifice of life and social relationships on the stable rock of the Word of God”.

Today, the Holy Father said, believers are called to show a “convincing, sincere and credible witness of faith, one closely united to charitable commitment, It is, in fact, through charity, that people far removed from and indifferent to the the message of the Gospel are able to approach the truth and to become converted to the merciful love of the heavenly Father”.

Pope Benedict also dedicated his attention to the work of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Association over recent decades. “Your apostolic efforts have contributed to the development of spiritual life in the Italian ecclesial and social fabric through paths of conversion which have helped many people to be profoundly healed by the love of God, and many families to overcome moments of crisis”, he said. “Your groups have not been lacking in young people ready to respond generously to the vocation of special consecration to God in the priesthood and in the religious life”. The Holy Father also underlined the movement’s support for people in situations of need and marginalisation, especially in the field of the spiritual and material rebirth of prisoners.

The Pope concluded by exhorting those present: “Never cease to look to heaven; the world has need of prayer. We need men and women who feel the draw of heaven in their lives, who make praising the Lord the basis of a new lifestyle. Be joyous Christians! I entrust you all to Mary Most Holy, who was present in the Upper Room at the moment of Pentecost”.

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The Holy Spirit Teaches Us to See with Christ’s Eyes

In Uncategorized on 2013/05/16 at 12:00 AM

Eastertide, which culminates with the Solemnity of Pentecost when the Church relives the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is the perfect time of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope explained to the 75,000 persons present in St. Peter’s Square to attend his Wednesday general audience.

“In the Creed,” Francis said, “we profess with faith: ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life’. The first truth that we adhere to in the Creed is that the Holy Spirit is ‘Kyrios’, that is, Lord. This means that He is truly God as are the Father and the Son … but I want to mainly focus on the fact that the Holy Spirit is the inexhaustible source of God’s life in us.”

“Men and women of all times and all places desire a full and beautiful life … a life that is not threatened by death but that can mature and grow to its fullness. The human being is like a traveller who, crossing the deserts of life, is thirsty for living water, gushing and fresh, capable of deeply quenching that profound desire for light, love, beauty, and peace. We all feel that desire! And Jesus gives us this living water. It is the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and whom Jesus pours out into our hearts. ‘I have come so that you might have life and have it more abundantly’, Jesus says.”

Jesus has come to give us the living water that is the Holy Spirit “so that our lives might be guided by God.” That is why, “when we say that the Christian is a spiritual being we mean precisely this: the Christian is a person who thinks and acts in accordance with God, in accordance with the Holy Spirit. … We know that water is essential to life. Without water we die. It quenches our thirst, washes us, makes the land fertile. … The ‘living water’, the Holy Spirit, Gift of the Risen One who abides in us, purifies us, enlightens us, renews us, and transforms us so that we might be made to participate in the very life of God who is Love.”

Paul the Apostle, the Bishop of Rome noted, affirms that the Christian life “is enlivened by the Spirit and and by his fruits, which are ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control’. … The Spirit himself, together with our spirit, attests that we are God’s children. And, if we are children, we are also inheritors, inheritors of God and co-inheritors with Christ if we truly take part in his suffering so that we might also be glorified with him. This is the precious gift that that the Holy Spirit brings to our hearts: the very life of God, the life of true children, a relationship of confidence, freedom, and trust in the love and mercy of God, which also has the effect of a new vision of others, near and far, seen always as brothers and sisters in Jesus to respect and to love. The Holy Spirit teaches us to see with Christ’s eyes.”

“That is why,” he concluded, “the living water that is the Holy Spirit quenches the thirst of our lives, because He tells us that we are loved by God as children, that we can love God as his children, and that, with his grace, we can live as children of God, as Jesus does.”

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“The solemn coming of the Holy Spirit”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/06/12 at 7:07 AM

 There are three important things you need to do to draw people to God. Forget yourself, and think only of the glory of your Father God.  Subject your will filially to the Will of Heaven, as Jesus Christ taught you. Follow with docility the lights of the Holy Spirit. (Furrow, 793)

The solemn coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was not an isolated event. There is hardly a page in the Acts of the Apostles where we fail to read about him and the action by which he guides, directs and enlivens the life and work of the early christian community.

The strength and the power of God light up the face of the earth. The Holy Spirit is present in the Church of Christ for all time, so that it may be, always and in everything, a sign raised up before all nations, announcing to all men the goodness and the love of God. In spite of our great limitations, we can look up to heaven with confidence and joy: God loves us and frees us from our sins. The presence and the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church are a foretaste of eternal happiness, of the joy and peace for which we are destined by God.

For this reason, Christian tradition has summarized the attitude we should adopt toward the Holy Spirit in just one idea: docility. That means we should be aware of the work of the Holy Spirit all around us, and in our own selves we should recognize the gifts he distributes, the movements and institutions he inspires, the affections and decisions he provokes in our hearts. The Holy Spirit carries out in the world the works of God. He is, as we read in a liturgical hymn, the giver of grace, the light of our hearts, the soul’s guest, our rest in work, our consolation in sorrow. Without his help there is nothing innocent or valuable in man, since he is the one who cleanses the soiled, heals what is sick, sets on fire what is cold, straightens what is bent and guides men toward the safe harbor of salvation and eternal joy.  (Christ is passing by, 127-130)

Solemnity of Pentecost by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2011/06/11 at 7:00 AM

• Immediately before the Alleluia today we heard the singing of the Pentecost Sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus, which is a poetic text set to a Gregorian chant mode.

• While there have many sequences for various Masses composed over the centuries, since 1570 there are only four feast days in the liturgical calendar that still employ these beautiful chants: Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and All Souls Day.

• The purpose of the sequence is to help us delve more deeply into the mystery of Faith that we are celebrating, but to do so in a way that not only provides some measure of catechesis, but that also inspires us with its artistic beauty.

• Moreover, the use of a sequence at Mass marks a feast day as being particularly important to the life of the Church. As such, today’s feast of Pentecost is one of the most important feasts that we celebrate each year!

• This is because this is the particular day of the year that we honor the 3rd Person of the Holy Trinity: the Holy Spirit, who is the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Comforter, and the Sanctifier.

• The sequence that we used today serves as an invitation to the Holy Spirit to come to us. Indeed, Veni Sancte Spiritus means “Come, Holy Spirit!” And in this sequence we invite Him to come and impart to us His gifts of holiness, comfort, and peace.

• On this glorious feast of Pentecost, not only should we beg for the Holy Spirit to come to us, but we should also meditate on His nature and role in salvation history.

• As the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, because He is God, it is impossible to fully understand Him, but there is much that we do know.

• As we mediate on the Holy Spirit and contemplate His role in salvation history, we can see that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Love, and the Spirit of Power.

• It is Jesus who, in the Gospel of John, refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth, and in doing so Jesus tells us that when the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth – comes, He will guide us to all truth.

• This is because the Holy Spirit is a unifying force who has come not only to enlighten our hearts and minds, but Who also safeguards the Church’s teachings from error. He is also a light that shines upon our intellects so that we may know and accept the teachings of Christ.

• Jesus knew that He would not be staying on earth forever and that He would need a mechanism for continuing His mission on earth after He ascended into Heaven.

• Thus He created the Church, built upon the foundation of the apostles, to be both the repository for His teachings and the means for spreading those teachings throughout the world.

• Because man’s salvation depends upon His teachings, it makes perfect sense that Jesus would want some means in place to protect the truth of His teachings, and that means of protection is the Holy Spirit.

• Thus, because of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth, we can be confident that the teachings of the Catholic Church in matters of faith and morals are all objectively true and therefore can never be changed.

• While Church leaders may themselves fall into sin or have lapses of judgment, the Holy Spirit is our guarantee that what we believe as Catholics in matters of faith and morals is true and has been revealed by Christ Himself.

• The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Love, enflaming our hearts with desire for our Lord.

• The Scriptures tells us that when Our Lady and the Apostles were gathered in prayer at

Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon them like tongues of fire. In fact, the red vestments that we wear today are meant to symbolize this fire of the Holy Spirit.

• This fire of the Holy Spirit is a fire of love, which purifies our hearts of sin and evil desires and enflames us with a desire to serve our Lord and our fellow man.

• As the Spirit of Love, the Holy Spirit enkindles within us a burning charity that helps us reach out to others and that ultimately sanctifies us.

• Thirdly, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Power, a power that not only can affect natural phenomena, as we hear in the first reading today, but that can also change and purify hearts and bring unity and peace to people of disparate lands, cultures, and languages.

• As we consider the mystery of Pentecost, we must realize that the Pentecost is not an isolated event in Church history. Indeed, the Holy Spirit continues to come upon His Church in this way, particularly through the Sacrament of Confirmation.

• While we may not experience the same phenomena of tongues of fire and rushing winds that our Lady and the apostles experienced at the first Pentecost 2000 years ago, the Holy Spirit is no less powerful today.

• We experience the power of the Holy Spirit within ourselves. At times we experience Him as an inspiration or a sudden thought to do or say something. At other times we experience Him as a deep and abiding sense of peace in the midst of trials and sufferings.

• The history of the Church is suffused with examples of the Holy Spirit working in and through the saints. The Spirit has guided many holy men and women to witness to the Faith with their very lives, to found religious orders, and to teach and explain the doctrines of Catholicism.

• It was the Holy Spirit that led St. Augustine to conversion and inspired his teachings that the Church still relies upon today. It was the Holy Spirit that gave St. Paul the courage to preach the truth of Christ in the midst of terrible sufferings and persecutions, even to the point of death.

• It was the Holy Spirit who inspired Blessed Mother Teresa to found a religious order to care for the poorest of the poor. And it was the Holy Spirit who nurtured and stirred the young heart of St. Therese of Lisieux to teach the Church how to love.

• As we consider how the Holy Spirit works through us and in us as the Spirit of Truth, Love, and Power, we must do our best to receive Him and cooperate with Him.

• We do this first by exercising the virtue of docility, which enables us to be obedient to the teachings of Christ and His Church, which guide us and protect us from sin.

• We do this by seeking to unite ourselves to Him in prayer, conversing with Him, listening to His promptings, and asking Him to fill us with His love.

• And finally, we do this by exercising the virtue of courage, which enables us to embrace the cross, which is the heart of living our Christian faith and which is absolutely essential for growing in a life of holiness.

• Suffering comes to all of us, and this is not because God doesn’t love us. God allows suffering because He does love us! And it is the Holy Spirit that enables us to courageously accept our sufferings so that we may become more like Jesus.

• My dear friends, as we invite the Holy Spirit to come to us today, may we truly receive Him. Through humble docility, prayer, and the exercise of courage, may He transform us, comfort us, and sanctify us. And may He bless us always with His peace.

Copyright 2010 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC