Tag Archives: Pentecost

The Time of the Holy Spirit is now

Issac Hecker.jpg

In the days leading up to the great feast of Pentecost which we celebrate next week, it seems right that we look to what we know and believe about the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate sent to us by the Trinity. 


We need to work in a concerted way to educate our religious sense on the gifts of the Holy Spirit that were given in the sacraments of Initiation. The Holy Spirit is not talked about too often in the teaching of the faith and you rarely hear of the Spirit in homilies. I would love to see a parish provide as part of their formation of adults an in-depth course on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

It is noted by many that we lack a firm grasp of how the Holy Spirit leads and guides each one of us, and how the Spirit is the agent in the sacred Liturgy (Mass and the Divine Office). The Paulist Fathers’ evangelization work has mentioned recently that “Until we appropriate the Holy Spirit more fully in our Catholic consciousness, we will not have the spirituality to do the reaching out, welcoming, inviting, and sharing that are essential parts of our Catholic life and mission. Father Isaac Hecker, Servant of God, founded the Paulist Fathers will a strong spirituality of the Holy Spirit. Part of his cause for canonization might well include a greater awareness of the Spirit in our American/Canadian Catholic lives.”


Father Isaac Hecker is one of America’s priests who took evangelization and adult faith formation seriously. Let’s take inspiration from him.

The Spirit changes us

At the Sacrifice of the Mass in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis also celebrated the Rite of Confirmation with 44 people from around the world. As we approach Pentecost, this excerpt from his short homily is very instructive. Pay attention. Don’t forget to daily ask, no beg, for the Holy Spirit to have a special grace to embrace the day. May the Spirit be with these 44 newly confirmed in the Faith, indeed, all those around the world who are receiving the sacrament of Confirmation these days.


Francis with a young confirmand 2013.jpg

This is the work of the Holy Spirit: he brings us the new things of God. He comes to us and makes all things new; he changes us. The Spirit changes us! And Saint John’s vision reminds us that all of us are journeying towards the heavenly Jerusalem, the ultimate newness which awaits us and all reality, the happy day when we will see the Lord’s face – that marvelous face, the most beautiful face of the Lord Jesus – and be with him for ever, in his love.

You see, the new things of God are not like the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary; they come and go, and we keep looking for more. The new things which God gives to our lives are lasting, not only in the future, when we will be with him, but today as well. God is even now making all things new; the Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live. Let us open the doors to the Spirit, let ourselves be guided by him, and allow God’s constant help to make us new men and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us! How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person!

The loss of the Pentecost octave

The desire and capacity to linger in joy, beauty and truth is liturgically not easy to do these days with the absence of octaves following a major feasts. Eight days are not too long, not too complicated, not too esoteric to extend our prayer! And I don’t mean to merely lament the ansence of an official 8-day period of liturgical prayer. The Church has retained the octaves of Christmas and Easter but the rest are sadly gone. At least for now. I think it was a colossal mistake of the reform of the Missal by Pope Paul VI to jettison the octave, especially the octave of Pentecost.

How often do we need to slowly meditate on the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit and beg for the grace to integrate grace into our lives. We need the opportunity to understand concretely the action of the Spirit in our lives and we need to hear the beautify music, poetry and preaching connected with the Pentecost’s octave. The Pope even he wepted when he realized the change he made without thinking the whole thing through; the implications are significant; the absence of the Pentecost octave is diasasterous event for the Church. Why is it problematic? It is so because we are Church, a people of the Way, who rely on the Holy Spirit to guide each-and-every step we take in living the Gospel and seeking the face of God.

I share the opinion with many others that one of the re-reforms of the Missal that still needs to be investigated is the restauration of the Pentecost Octave. However, I would also advocate the implementation of the Assumption and Epiphany octaves. Apparently, I am not alone: the editor of America magazine Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen is saying the same thing and he’s quoting a friend, Benedictine Father Mark Daniel Kirby in his “Of Many Things” article this week.

More Pentecost to celebrate

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The Roman Church celebrated Pentecost last weekend thus concluding the Easter season. This weekend the same Church observes the feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

Also this weekend, our Orthodox sisters and brothers are celebrating the Coming of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:1-4).

Let us beg for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

You may read more about the Spirit’s feast here.

Holy Spirit Day


Pentecost by IDorffmeister.jpgHeavenly King,

Advocate, Spirit of Truth,

Who are everywhere
present
and fill all things,
Treasury of Blessings,
Bestower of Life:
Come and
dwell within us,
cleanse us of all that defiles us,
and, O Good One, save our
souls!

The days following Pentecost used to have an Octave like other feasts (e.g., Christmas, Easter, Epiphany, Assumption, etc.) but few remain in the present liturgical form, sadly. My hope is that in due time the Church will restore some of the octaves. In the Byzantine Church the day after Pentecost is known as Holy Spirit Day. The above text comes from one of the hymns of the sacred Liturgy.

My hope is that the priests of the Latin Church celebrated a Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit to accommodate the lack we presently experience in the Roman liturgy.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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