PENTECOST: FEAST OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Catherine Doherty
Today God sends his Spirit into the world to make of mankind his living temple. For the Spirit of God is the light by which we see and understand the fire of charity which enkindles and unites us. It is the living stream of grace which circulates through the sacraments and brings new life everywhere. The Holy Spirit is the creative breath by which the world is impelled toward perfection.
For the Spirit, the Divine Consoler, has come to us as he came to the apostles and gives us inward light, as he did to them. He was sent to help them to grasp the mysteries revealed by Jesus. He does the same for us. He was sent to enable them to expound the inexhaustible depths of those mysteries to man. With his help we in our own way can both live those mysteries and expound them to others.
Thanks to the Holy Spirit we are now dwelling in God's light that purifies us from the darkness in which the world delights. It gives knowledge and taste for the things of God. It is the light that enkindles our understanding, a light that discloses a new world to us.
But the Holy Spirit has come to cast fire on earth! Our hearts are transformed if we receive him with an open heart! In those who receive him, the Holy Spirit infuses a burning charity. For Christ desired that the lives of Christians would set men's hearts on fire. That is why the Spirit came the first time in the shape of tongues of fire.
Truly God has given himself to us in fullness. Together we form the Church, the new creation, ultimate and free. We are destined to be called to the kingdom of heaven. Let us rejoice in this feast and incarnate its fruits into our lives.
Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit, is a great feast and my heart is full. This is the time of hope. A Christian takes many risks and one of the risks that a Christian must take is to hope. What kind of scene are we facing today? We have drugs from age nine upwards. We have kids and adults who are burning property and creating chaos all around the world. To look at the world from top to bottom you might say: Let's forget it! It is in very bad shape all over the place. But that is where the resurgence of hope comes.
Today my heart is filled with hope, because in the mercy of God all things are possible. The woman and man who take drugs can be restored with love, gentleness and kindness, and help in many forms. Chaos is sometimes the most hopeful sign. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." (Jn 15:1) From what was tragedy and chaos come the green shoots full of hope again!
How many times, from the martyrs of the coliseum until today, has the Christian been pruned by the Lord and by the whole world too, for the Christian sometimes is called to be a martyr. What is more hopeful than a martyr? A martyr is someone who has laid his life down for the rest of us. But why is God pruning his vineyard? To renew hope, to renew faith, to renew love! For nothing can separate Christ from us. He said, "I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mt 28:20)
This feast of Pentecost is the moment of hope. But what is hope? It is faith in things unseen. How do we get it? The only way is from a Flame and a Fire! It is kindled in us, by our knowing Christ and his Father, and through the seed of the Holy Spirit. Let us love one another. The Fire is here; it binds and lifts us.
Let us love one another, for God is Love. This is the hour of hope. Nothing really matters except loving one another.
Let us forgive one another, for that is part of loving, and let us without fear enter the world of human beings, wherever they are, for this is the hour of hope and faith and love. We to whom the grace of God is given cannot sit back and leave anyone that we come across to be lonely or sad. We just can't.
The Fire has come, and the Father has sent the Son, for he so loved the world. It doesn't matter that we are in the diaspora, that we Christians are dispersed everywhere. The time is now; let us start the hour of hope. When all appears hopeless to others, nothing appears hopeless to us.
The Spirit who on this day creates the Church is the Spirit who at the beginning of time created the world. If we have recourse to him constantly, he will continue his work in us and we shall become like tongues of fire falling on the earth and renewing it.
The action of the Holy Spirit in each one of us is difficult to realize, yet without him we can do nothing. The "New Law", the words of Christ, have not been written on tablets of stone but engraved in our hearts. It is the Holy Spirit who inwardly, interiorly makes us understand the words of the Gospel and reveals to us all the demands of charity.
May the Lord clean our hearts in the light of the Holy Spirit, by the fire of Love! It burns away all that is of self, all that stands in the way of our loving God and neighbor. Let us not be afraid to allow the fire of the Holy Spirit to enter our hearts and burn away their dross!
Catherine Doherty (1896-1985), born in Russia, was foundress of Madonna House and a prolific writer and teacher. Her passionate zeal impelled her to pass on her faith in God, and she is now being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church.