This weekend, May 19-20, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost, remembering that 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and 10 days after His Ascension, Jesus and the Father sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Upper Room (Acts 1-2). At that first Pentecost, often referred to as the “birthday of the Church,” the Holy Spirit strengthened the Church and the disciples in their mission as witnesses for Jesus – witnesses to His message of Salvation, bringing the Good News to all people, to all nations (Matthew 28; John 15). The Holy Spirit gives strength to the Apostles and to every disciple of Jesus Christ. Indeed, all who believe in, love, and follow Jesus have the duty, the mission, to proclaim that Jesus Christ has come into the world and that He has died and is risen and has ascended into Heaven for our salvation, that Jesus has conquered sin, death and Satan, and has wrought for us Eternal Life in Heaven – in this sense, the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was not an isolated event in the Church’s life, but is to be lived by all disciples of Christ every day (Fr. Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God).
The Holy Spirit (the Paraclete) sanctifies the Church continually as He also sanctifies every soul, Saint Francis de Sales has stated. God strengthens our heart with His blessings, with His care and fatherly love, so as to move, encourage and draw us to live a virtuous life… to heavenly love, to good resolutions: in short, to all that leads us to our Eternal Life in Heaven (Introduction to the Devout Life, III, 18). We received the Holy Spirit when we were baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; He strengthened us further in the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Holy Spirit helps us every day through the Sacraments we have received. And every day, God the Holy Spirit enables us to pray (Romans 8)!
Let us pray, then, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and all the saints – for, like them, we need God’s grace in order to live a virtuous life. We need the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist to give us strength for the journey to Heaven (John 6). Let us pray for an increase in the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, counsel, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12); and let us pray to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity (Galatians 5:22-23). In our prayers, may we ask God for the grace to have a greater openness to welcome the inspirations of His Holy Spirit with purity of heart.
“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created; and You shall renew the face of the earth… Yes, come, Holy Spirit. Veni, Sancte Spiritus.”
With peace and prayers in Christ,