Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | May 7, 2008

For the Sunday of Pentecost.

Acts 2, 1-11; St. John 14, 23-31 (Su of Pentecost, TLM Lectionary)

I find Pentecost to be interesting for many different reasons. There are so many Sacramental, Theological, and devotional riches that you can find in the 1st and 2nd Chapter of Acts of the Apostles’.

CCC 2623: On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of Promise was poured out on the disciples, gathered “together in one place.” While awaiting the Spirit, “all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer.” The Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls for her everything that Jesus said was also to form her in the life of prayer.

Sacred Tradition has it that the Apostles’ were in the upper room for 9 days (ref Acts 1, 13-14). For those of you that haven’t heard of what we Catholics call a Novena. (This is why traditionally the Novena to the Holy Spirit asking for the graces to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit that have already been given to us in our Baptism)

We read in the Gospel of St. John starting from 26: “But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you”. This is exactly the Spirit that they are waiting for the one that Jesus promises here. This verse is the foreshadowing of Pentecost for the Church. (hence its reading for this Sunday). The Holy Spirit has not and will never ditch the Catholic Church. (even if it sees that things are bad (e.g. Religious Ed Congress, Potatohead Mass, Liturgical abuses)). It was promised to her and will always be there to guide her and protect her.

Jn 14, 23 says: “Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him.” In my last note, when I was teaching I stressed the point of obedience to the Church in matters of Faith and Morals. Which means listening to the Church on Liturgy (saying the Black, doing the red), not abusing the Mass, Sacred Music everything possible that deals with Faith and Morals requires our obedience. I’m not talking about a blind obedience, but an authentic obedience. Only when Tradition and Magisterium are followed are you obliged to obey (No, that doesn’t mean you disobey Vatican II and not attend the Novus Ordo Mass, as both are valid). Not just the Commandments my friends but the Church is Christ’s representative on Earth, to disobey the Church is to disobey Christ.

Jn 14, 28 says: You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I. We as Catholics believe in the Most Holy Trinity (1 God 3 Persons). We also believe that Jesus is full God and full Man. If Jesus is God, (and He is), the only way for this verse to make sense is if it was talking about His human nature, which is exactly what was going on in this verse. The early Church schools had trouble at first with the thought of Jesus being full God and full Man. It took the Council of Nicea to defeat the Arianism heresy (Jesus only a man, better practiced today by the Jehovah’s Witnesses (who while you’re at it, should pray for, as well as convert when they come to your house (well, the Holy Spirit does the converting, but be its agent))

As far as a Sacramental Theology on Pentecost. I think of two Sacraments, the Sacrament of Confirmation, and the Sacrament of Baptism.

“Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (Jn 3, 5). This verse is obviously pointing to the Sacrament of Baptism, now I know the million dollar question: What role does Baptism play in Pentecost? well, I’m about to tell you.

The Spirit comes down and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized…The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son o David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them.. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. (CCC 701, 1831). These gifts are given to us in Baptism. But like anything if we don’t use them, we lose them. (well, not lose, but they go to the back of the brain). It is not at all like the Charismatic movement when you’re seeking these gifts! Why seek when you already have. What we see in Acts 2, 1-11 is the effects of Confirmation. The sealing of the Holy Spirit as St. Ambrose puts it “Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of right judgement and courage, the Spirit of knowledge and reverence, the Spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign, Christ the Lord has confirmed you ad has placed his pledge, the Spirit in your hearts.”

The sealing of the Holy Spirit makes us better soldiers in Christ (hence martyrdom’s by 10/12 Apostles’)…

The Apostles’ went into all the nations and taught the Words that Jesus taught them, as well as offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…How was this possible when the Apostles’ knew 1 or 2 languages at the most This was the gift of tongues that happened in Acts (12 Apostles’ 15 men from different areas, you do the Math). None of this praying in tongues things that the Charismatics would like you to believe.

The great thing about the Catholic Church is that we have a language that brings everyone, East and West together (we communicate with the East in Latin, though they celebrate Liturgy in whatever language) . Latin. It used to be in the old days that you could go ANYWHERE in the world and the Mass was exactly the same. True unity, never was it celebrated what divided us, but what united us. People from Mexico, France, and the US would pray together in Latin.

For this coming Sunday being Pentecost, let us ask for the Holy Spirit to be in our lives to help us understand the mysteries of Faith, for the graces to use the gifts that we’ve been given, and for the graces to see the levels of Spirituality that come from ths day, Amen!


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