Today is the glorious solemnity of the Pentecost. Benedict XVI preached that with Pentecost we “reached the 50th day, it marks the fulfilment of the event of the passover, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus through the gift of the Spirit of the Risen One. In the past few days the Church has prepared us for Pentecost with her prayer, with her repeated and intense invocation to God to obtain a fresh outpouring upon us of the Holy Spirit. The Church has thus relived all that happened at her origins, when the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room of Jerusalem ‘with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren’ (Acts 1:14).”
Today we celebrate the birth of the Church with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Blessed 12, the Blessed Mother Mary, the many disciples, indeed, the whole Church.
What is meant by the Holy Spirit? The Pontiff said, “The Holy Spirit is Creator, he is at the same time the Spirit of Jesus Christ, but in such a way that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God.”
How does the Spirit personally affect me? The Pontiff said: “The breath of God is life. Now, the Lord breathes into our soul the new breath of life, the Holy Spirit, his most intimate essence, and in this way welcomes us into God’s family. With Baptism and Confirmation this gift was given to us specifically, and with the sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance it is continuously repeated: the Lord breathes a breath of life into our soul. All the sacraments, each in its own way, communicate divine life to human beings, thanks to the Holy Spirit who works within them.”
Our prayer today, then, is to beg the Holy Spirit to bestow upon us the Seven-fold gifts and the Twelve-fold fruits for our sanctification and for the building up of the Mystical Body of Christ on earth.
Veni sancta Spiritus. Veni per Mariam.
Perhaps this poem by Geoffrey Hill speaks to the feeling of this solemn feast day:
. . . Or say it is Pentecost: the hawthorn-tree,
set with coagulate magnified flowers of may,
blooms in a haze of light; old chalk-pits brim
with seminal verdue from the roots of time.
Landscape is like revelation; it is both
singular crystal and the remotest things.
Cloud-shadows of seasons revisit the earth,
odourless myrrh bourne by the wandering kings . . .