Love is stronger the life!
Each of the three Divine Persons is holy, and each is a
spirit, and we give the name “Holy Spirit” to the Third Person precisely
because He is all that the Father and the Son have
common -their divinity,
their charity, their blessedness, their delight in each other, their holiness
and their spiritual nature. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the
Son, proceeding from both, and He is the unity and charity of them both. The
Holy Spirit is so completely, so truly, God’s gift that unless someone has the
Holy Spirit, he has none of God’s gift, and whoever has any of them, has them
only in the Holy Spirit. Many things are given to us through the Holy Spirit,
but they are valueless if the chief gift of charity is lacking. And the reason
why the Holy Spirit is called “Gift of God” is because “the charity of God is
poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us.”
Nothing is more excellent than this gift, which ultimately
differentiates between the children of the kingdom and the children of
darkness. Even if all the other gifts are lacking, charity will take us to the
kingdom of God. Although faith can exist without charity, only the faith that
works through love can have any value. The Holy Spirit is the charity of the
Father and the Son, by means of which they love each other. He is the unity in
virtue of which they are one. When he is given to us, he enkindles in our
hearts the love of God and of one another. This same love, living in our
hearts, is the love by which God is love.
This is “the Spirit of the Lord which fills the whole world”
with his all-powerful goodness, appointing a perfect harmony among all
creatures, and filling them all with the vast riches of his grace, according to
the capacity of each. It is he who teaches us to pray as we ought, making us
cleave to God, rendering us pleasing to God and not unworthy to have our
prayers answered. He enlightens our minds and forms love in our hearts. All
this is the work of the Holy Spirit. We may even call it his own special work,
if we remember that he is sufficient for this task only because he can never be
separated from the Father and the Son.
William of Saint Thierry
Every year on the Solemnity of Pentecost there’s a shower of red roses during the singing of the Veni Sanctae Spiritus at the Pantheon, the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Martrys.
Come, Holy Ghost, send down those beams,
which sweetly flow in silent streams
from Thy bright throne above.
O come, Thou Father of the poor;
O come, Thou source of all our store,
come, fill our hearts with love.
O Thou, of comforters the best,
O Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
the pilgrim’s sweet relief.
Rest art Thou in our toil, most sweet
refreshment in the noonday heat;
and solace in our grief.
O blessed Light of life Thou art;
fill with Thy light the inmost heart
of those who hope in Thee.
Without Thy Godhead nothing can,
have any price or worth in man,
nothing can harmless be.
Lord, wash our sinful stains away,
refresh from heaven our barren clay,
our wounds and bruises heal.
To Thy sweet yoke our stiff necks bow,
warm with Thy fire our hearts of snow,
our wandering feet recall.
Grant to Thy faithful, dearest Lord,
whose only hope is Thy sure word,
the sevenfold gifts of grace.
Grant us in life Thy grace that we,
in peace may die and ever be,
in joy before Thy face. Amen. Alleluia.
This hymn, Veni, Sancte Spiritus, also known as the Golden
Sequence, is the poetic text (a sequence) for the Mass for Pentecost. It is
sung after the Epistle and before the Alleluia antiphon. It is regarded as one
of the greatest masterpieces of sacred Latin poetry. The hymn has been
attributed to three different authors, King Robert II-the Pious of France
(970-1031), Pope Innocent III (1161-1216), and Stephen Langton (d. 1228),
Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Stephen is most likely the author. The
inclusion of this hymn in the sacred Liturgy is noted in the mid-12th century
or so and sung from Pentecost through the Octave. When the renewal of the
Liturgy happened following the Second Vatican Council the Octave of Pentecost
was suspended and the sequence limited to Pentecost Sunday.
The Holy Spirit makes the Christian experience truly Catholic and universal, open to all human experience. To be Catholic is to be universal and open to the world. Not only to Canada, North America Europe or Asia, or a certain familiar part of the world or segment of society, but it must be open to all, to every single person. The mind of Christ is not intended to be a selective mentality for a few but the perspective from which the whole world will be renewed and redeemed. An insight like this, the universal scope of salvation did not however come easily and without much pain and confusion.
In fact, the whole of the New Testament can be understood precisely as the emergence of the Catholic, the universal, in Christian life. Christianity, had it not moved from where it was particular and small would have just been a small modification of the Jewish experience, a subset of Jewish piety that was still focused in and around Jerusalem and the restoration of a literal kingdom of Israel. The first two generations of Christians discovered that Christianity could not be just that. Because they had received the Holy Spirit, which is the universal principle, the Holy Spirit opened peoples’ eyes to the universal import of the Christian truth and through the encounter with non-Jews who received the Holy Spirit.
The artists of the Middle Ages often contrasted the Tower of Babel with the “Tower” of the Upper Room. Babel symbolizes the divisions of people caused by sin. Pentecost stands for a hope that such separations are not a tragic necessity. The babbling mob of Babel compares poorly with the heartfelt unity of the Pentecost crowd. Babel was a mob. Pentecost was a community. A people without God lost the ability to communicate. A people suffused with the Spirit spoke heart to heart.
At Pentecost the full meaning of Jesus’ life and message is poured into our hearts by the Spirit alive in the community. The New Testament seems to say that – for a fleeting moment – the nations of the earth paused from their customary strife and experienced a community caused by God. The brief and shining hour of Pentecost remains to charm and encourage us to this day.
These paragraphs come from Basilian Father Thomas Rosica’s essay on the Pentecost scriptures published on Zenit.org for May 28, 2009. Father Rosica is the executive director of Salt and Light TV.
A video on Pentecost can be seen here.