SOLEMNITY OF THE PENTECOST (A).
Let God the Holy Spirit act in our soul.
AV summary + full text
- Summary of today’s readings
- Allow God the Holy Spirit to act in our soul.
- POINTS OF THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE CHURCH’S ORIGIN, FOUNDATION AND MISSION
Today we commemorate the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. His outpouring formalizes the public revelation of the Church as the mystery of salvation (cfr. Catechism n. 767), the new People of God, the people of the new and eternal Covenant which is not written on stone tablets but in our hearts by the Spirit we have received during Baptism.
- The new People of God, composed of every race and nation, baptized into one Spirit, and called to form one body: For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. (2nd reading: 1 Cor 12:3b–7, 12–13)
- Universal and diverse, the people of God, though speaking in different tongues, hear a common language of the “mighty acts of God” because of the Holy Spirit which filled the Apostles and enabled them to boldly proclaim God’s Word in different tongues (1st reading: Acts 2:1–11).
- A Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son and who was “bestowed” by the Risen Christ to the apostles “upon the Church at its birth when he breathed on the apostles after the Resurrection” (Compendium of the Catechism, 143) and sending them as Christ was sent by the Father to forgive sins or retain them (Gospel: Jn 20:19–23).
The commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles which formally marks the “birth” (understood as a public manifestation and revelation) of the one, true, holy, universal (catholic), and apostolic Church which was prepared, founded and built by Our Lord Jesus Christ with all his actions (cfr. Catechism 765-766) is not an event which belongs to the past.
Rather, the action of the Holy Spirit is actual in the life of every Christian and of the Church, better yet, is continuous and will transcend even the definitive coming of the Kingdom of God for He is the Love which was poured into our hearts.
Unfortunately, in spite of the indispensable role of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying us, in transforming us into “other Christs”, and in the mission of the Church, He has remained, as St. Josemaria put it, the “Great Unknown,” being the least dealt with among the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity.
Dear brethren in Christ, together with the acts of thanksgiving we elevate to God for sending His Love in our hearts, and founding His Church, it would be fitting to make the firm resolution to deal with God the Holy Spirit in a constant, daily and docile manner, opening our hearts to Him and really letting Him act in our souls, God’s grace has the primacy in our sanctification (holiness).
Be devout: don’t fail to keep up a constant relationship with the Great Unknown and the Great Solitary One. This is what I call the Holy Spirit and Christ humbled and hidden in our tabernacles. Through the Holy Humanity of Christ you will meet the Paraclete, who comes as the fruit of the Cross. You will reach the Father: our whole life, in which the divine and the human are intimately united, will be a lasting dialogue with the Blessed Trinity….
To live according to the Holy Spirit means to live by faith and hope and charity – to allow God to take possession of our lives and to change our hearts, to make us resemble him more and more. A mature and profound Christian life cannot be improvised, because it is the result of the growth of God’s grace in us (St. Josemaria).
Let us also ask God the Holy Spirit for to increase in us the virtues of faith, hope and love, his gifts and fruits, so as to be better children of God who passionately love Him and His Church.
O God, who by the mystery of today’s great feast sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation, pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit across the face of the earth and, with the divine grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, fill now once more the hearts of believers. Through our Lord. (Opening prayer, Mass during the day).
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AUDIO CREDIT, SOURCE & LICENSE: “Veni, Creator Spiritus” Gregorian chant performed by Portuguese vocal ensemble Coral Vértice (based in Lisbon, Portugal) Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 in https://archive.org/details/VeniCreatorSpiritus
758 We begin our investigation of the Church’s mystery by meditating on her origin in the Holy Trinity’s plan and her progressive realization in history.
A plan born in the Father’s heart
759 “The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life,”150 to which he calls all men in his Son. “The Father . . . determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ.”151 This “family of God” is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father’s plan. In fact, “already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Advance. Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time.”152
The Church- foreshadowed from the world’s beginning
760 Christians of the first centuries said, “The world was created for the sake of the Church.”153 God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the “convocation” of men in Christ, and this “convocation” is the Church. The Church is the goal of all things,154 and God permitted such painful upheavals as the angels’ fall and man’s sin only as occasions and means for displaying all the power of his arm and the whole measure of the love he wanted to give the world:
Just as God’s will is creation and is called “the world,” so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called “the Church.”155
The Church – prepared for in the Old Covenant
761 The gathering together of the People of God began at the moment when sin destroyed the communion of men with God, and that of men among themselves. The gathering together of the Church is, as it were, God’s reaction to the chaos provoked by sin. This reunification is achieved secretly in the heart of all peoples: “In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable” to God.156
762 The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people.157 Its immediate preparation begins with Israel’s election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of All nations.158 But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. “Christ instituted this New Covenant.”159
The Church – instituted by Christ Jesus
763 It was the Son’s task to accomplish the Father’s plan of salvation in the fullness of time. Its accomplishment was the reason for his being sent.160 “The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures.”161 To fulfill the Father’s will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church “is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery.”162
764 “This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ.”163 To welcome Jesus’ word is to welcome “the Kingdom itself.”164 The seed and beginning of the Kingdom are the “little flock” of those whom Jesus came to gather around him, the flock whose shepherd he is.165 They form Jesus’ true family.166 To those whom he thus gathered around him, he taught a new “way of acting” and a prayer of their own.167
765 The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the Twelve with Peter as their head.168 Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem.169 The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ’s mission and his power, but also in his lot.170 By all his actions, Christ prepares and builds his Church.
766 The Church is born primarily of Christ’s total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross. “The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus.”171 “For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the ‘wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.'”172 As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam’s side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the cross.173
The Church – revealed by the Holy Spirit
767 “When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church.”174 Then “the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun.”175 As the “convocation” of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176
768 So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit “bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her.”177 “Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom.”178
The Church – perfected in glory
769 “The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven,”179 at the time of Christ’s glorious return. Until that day, “the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world’s persecutions and God’s consolations.”180 Here below she knows that she is in exile far from the Lord, and longs for the full coming of the Kingdom, when she will “be united in glory with her king.”181 The Church, and through her the world, will not be perfected in glory without great trials. Only then will “all the just from the time of Adam, ‘from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect,’ . . . be gathered together in the universal Church in the Father’s presence.”182