This weekend we are celebrating the Pentecost. The gift of the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus; the Spirit is what creates and sustains us. In 2006 Pope Benedict met with members of the ecclesial movements. What follows the points he made on the Holy Spirit that I thought would be good to meditate on today. Our study and prayer to and in the Spirit is not well known in the Church so I think this material appropriate for formation and evangelization. As part of the Year of Faith observances the ecclesial movements are meeting with Pope Francis today and tomorrow. Come, Holy Spirit!

Pentecost detail.jpg

The Holy Spirit, in giving life and freedom, also gives unity. These are three gifts that are inseparable from one another. I have already gone on too long; but let me say a brief word about unity.

To understand it, we might find a sentence useful which at first seems rather to distance us from it. Jesus said to Nicodemus, who came to him with his questions by night:  “The wind blows where it wills” (Jn 3: 8). But the Spirit’s will is not arbitrary. It is the will of truth and goodness. 

Therefore, he does not blow from anywhere, now from one place and then from another; his breath is not wasted but brings us together because the truth unites and love unites.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Spirit who unites the Father with the Son in Love, which in the one God he gives and receives. He unites us so closely that St Paul once said:  “You are all one in Jesus Christ” (Gal 3: 28).

With his breath, the Holy Spirit impels us towards Christ. The Holy Spirit acts corporeally; he does not only act subjectively or “spiritually”.

The Risen Christ said to his disciples, who supposed that they were seeing only a “spirit”:  “It is I myself; touch me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (cf. Lk 24: 39).

This applies for the Risen Christ in every period of history. The Risen Christ is not a ghost, he is not merely a spirit, a thought, only an idea.

He has remained incarnate – it is the Risen One who took on our flesh – and always continues to build his Body, making us his Body. The Spirit breathes where he wills, and his will is unity embodied, a unity that encounters the world and transforms it.

The Holy Spirit desires unity, he desires totality. Therefore, his presence is finally shown above all in missionary zeal.

The Holy Spirit gives believers a superior vision of the world, of life, of history, and makes them custodians of the hope that never disappoints.

Pope Benedict XVI

3 June 2006

Homily for the Vigil of Pentecost & meeting with ecclesial movements, excerpts