16 October 2019 10:16
The Christian holy day commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ..- Without the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Christians lack that which animates them and gives them internal life and harmony, Pope Francis said on Pentecost. "Without the Spirit, our Christian life unravels, lacking the love that brings everything together," Pope Francis said at Mass in St. Peter's Square June 9. At Mass for Pentecost, one of the most important feast days of the year, Pope Francis spoke about the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, which he said is "far from being an abstract reality," but is the "most concrete and close, the, the one who changes our lives." Pentecost is the celebration of the person of the Holy Spirit coming upon the Apostles, Mary, and the first followers of Jesus, who were gathered together in the Upper Room. Pope Francis said what the Holy Spirit brought was harmony: something deeply needed also in "today's frenzied pace of life." – "Pulled in a thousand directions, we run the risk of nervous exhaustion," so we look for quick fixes like pills and thrill-seeking "to feel alive." "We need the Spirit of unity to regenerate us as Church, as God's People and as a human family." "Let us daily implore the gift of the Spirit," Pope Francis urged, explaining that it is easy to stay at surface levels; that "rather than seeking the Spirit, we try to keep afloat, thinking that everything will improve once this or that problem is over, once I no longer see that person, once things get better." What makes a difference is the peace of Jesus, the harmony of the Spirit." The peace bestowed on the apostles, the peace that does not bring freedom from problems but in problems, is offered to each of us," he said, explaining that: "Filled with his peace, our hearts are like a deep sea, which remains peaceful, even when its surface is swept by waves." It is important to recognize, he said, that just like for the Apostles, seeing the Risen Lord is not enough, "unless we welcome him into our hearts." Quoting St. Bonaventure, the pope said the Holy Spirit "comes where he is loved, where he is invited, where he is expected." "Holy Spirit, harmony of God, you who turn fear into trust and self-centeredness into self-gift, come to us," Pope Francis prayed. "Holy Spirit, our harmony, you who make of us one body, pour forth your peace upon the Church and our world.
RAPTURE: Some believe Pentecost signals the second coming of Jesus Christ (Pic: GETTY) He explained a number of factors had allowed him to pinpoint the end of times – which coincides with Pentecost - a day commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks. Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass on the feast of Pentecost lamenting divisions and urging believers to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit who brings harmony and unity. Celebrating Mass on the solemnity of Pentecost in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis urged the faithful to implore the gift of the Spirit that makes us artisans of concord, sowers of goodness, apostles of hope. Reflecting on the liturgy of the day, the Pope explained that thanks to the Holy Spirit, the disciples' worries disappeared. "How does he do this?" the Pope asked: "The Holy Spirit did not make things easier for them," he said, "he didn't work spectacular miracles, he didn't take away their difficulties and their opponents.
Without the Spirit, the Pope continued, our Christian life unravels, lacking the love that brings everything together. The Pope noted that the Holy Spirit does not bring only harmony within us but also among us, distributing the great variety of the Church's qualities and gifts creatively. Underscoring the fact that lack of harmony in today's world has led to stark divisions, the Pope said "There are those who have too much and those who have nothing, those who want to live to a hundred and those who cannot even be born". We need the Spirit of unity, Pope Francis said, to regenerate us as Church, as God's People and as a human family. The Pope continued saying "He looks at individuals before looking at their mistakes, at persons before their actions" and explained that the Spirit shapes the Church and the world as a place of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Those who live by the Spirit, he said, "bring peace where there is discord, concord where there is conflict. Pope Francis concluded his homily with the invitation to adopt the Spirit's way of seeing things: "Then everything changes: with the Spirit, the Church is the holy People of God, mission is the spread of joy, as others become our brothers and sisters, all loved by the same Father". "Let us daily implore the gift of the Spirit," he said: "Holy Spirit, harmony of God, you who turn fear into trust and self-centredness into self-gift, come to us. Once on Pentecost Sunday I received the Holy Spirit in such a manner that I understood all the will of Love in all, and all the modes of this will of the heavens and of heavenly things, and all the perfection of perfect justice, and all the shortcomings of the lost; and with regard to all, I saw the will in which they then were, either of truth or of falsehood. Pentecost, Hadewijch said, changed her, so that she learned to love all people. It did not matter who they were, what they were like, what spiritual condition or shortcomings they had, she was able to see that there was something good within each and every person, something worthy of being loved. Those who open themselves up to the Spirit on Pentecost should experience a call towards love of all in their lives. Pentecost, with the coming of the Holy Spirit, promotes true greatness through holiness. The Spirit of Love comes to heal what has been damaged including, and especially human unity. The church, by its nature, overturns sexism and nationalism as it brings humanity together as one, showing that divisions based upon such distinctions have no place in Christ. This is what we should get out of the book of Acts when we read that the early believers came together as one: they came together, became filled with the Holy Spirit, and all barriers between then vanished (represented by the way they spoke in tongues): When the prompting of the Holy Spirit is ignored, when the temptation towards sin is accepted, rivalries form; power struggles emerge, and people within the church suffer. What is needed is unity, and not any kind of unity, but unity in the Holy Spirit, a unity formed out of love and respect. If we want to embrace the Holy Spirit, if we want to experience the blessings of Pentecost, we must open up to the Spirit and embrace its dictates, the dictates of love. This should not be surprising: if we are transformed into a similitude of the Spirit, of the fiery love, then we become like a flame: when two flames come together, they merge as one. The Holy Spirit on Pentecost came down upon the believers who had come to wait for its blessings. The tongues of fire, the fiery love of the Spirit, continues to abide within the church, allowing the church to speak the Word of God and to transform the world. All the sacraments, prayers, and sacramentalia of the Church are the tongues of fire of Pentecost which abides in the world. And the entire holiness of the Church, the spiritual gifts and achievements, is realized by the power of Pentecost. It is in and through the Holy Spirit, through the invocation of the Spirit, the church is able to bring the grace of the Word into the whole world, transforming it, spiritualizing it. Pentecost is the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church. Will we negate it through sin and dissension, or will we like Hadewijch open ourselves up to it, allowing us to see and know all things in the Spirit of Love? The Spirit transforms us; where needed, it cauterizes spiritual wounds, so that in the end, all the evil of suffering can be overcome and we can find ourselves no longer in pain, but experiencing life eternal in beatitude. Christ, who came to bring all together as one has sent the Holy Spirit among us.