Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Pentecost Sunday—23 May AD 2021
Ave Maria!

  The Virgin Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[English Mass Text]
[Latin Mass Text]
[Pentecost Holy Water]

Today we witness what is, essentially, the completion of the Easter cycle.  Our Lord has died, risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now has sent the Holy Ghost as He had promised the Apostles.

Like most of the things which affected the Apostles, this event of Pentecost also has a direct effect on us.  Remember that God intervened in human history, at a particular place and time.  He knew that He would not be with us personally as we live out each of our lives.  It was for that reason that He established the priesthood, the Blessed Sacrament, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass—these three things would enable us to be with Him personally, and to take part in the Sacrifice He offered on the Cross.  It is the way provided to us to conquer the barriers of time and place.

However, even with these great Sacraments, it is not possible for us to be continually with God.  Even the most cloistered of monks does not spend all of his time receiving Communion, attending Mass, or kneeling before the tabernacle.  And God knows that we will probably have even less opportunity to bask in His Real Presence.

It is for this reason that God sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, and sends the same Holy Ghost upon us when we receive Confirmation, or any of the Sacraments.  Remember that all of the Sacraments are said to confer “sanctifying grace,” in addition to certain “actual graces,” which vary with the particular Sacrament.  The actual graces give us the strength to do the things required of us by our state in life—eg: to be a good husband or wife, to avoid the occasion of sin, and so on.

Sanctifying grace, on the other hand—sometimes called uncreated grace—is the actual dwelling of God in our souls.  This union with God is not just for a few moments, nor is it restricted to any particular place.  Even though we may not be able to stay in church all day, sanctifying grace allows us to be continually in the direct presence of God.  We are, as the phrase goes, “temples of the Holy Ghost.”

Now, this sanctifying grace ought to prompt a reaction on our part.  Just as we ought to attend Mass and visit our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament frequently, we ought to take advantage of being in the state of grace by frequently pausing to commune with God in our souls.  We can, and ideally we will, live in continual awareness of God's presence;  in a state of constant prayer, even if it is not on a fully conscious level.

Let me point out though, that this constant prayer with the Holy Ghost should not be accompanied by a lot of external affectations.  There is no need to wave one's hands in the air, nor to make strange noises, nor to strain to hear voices or see visions that are not there.  Such “Pentecostalism” is a borrowing from Protestantism—an attempt to make non-Christian behavior seem legitimate, or even blessed by God.  It has no place in Catholicism, and is nothing like the charisms (gifts) granted the Apostles to enable them to carry out their mission of establishing the Catholic Church in the pagan world.

Trying to have such extraordinary mystical experiences is a dangerous thing.  Leaving ourselves “open to the Spirit,” or hoping to see “visions” is an invitation to the devil, for him to come and exercise his influence by deluding us into thinking that his actions are divine favors.  It is certainly sinful to dabble in such matters willfully—both a lack of faith, and an offer to the devil.  And if you should experience such a thing unintentionally, talk it over with your confessor before you do anything else.

But, please don't let me end on a negative note.  Good common sense is all that is needed for most of us to stay out of spiritual trouble.

Far more important is the significance of the gift of the Holy Ghost that we commemorate on this feast of Pentecost.  For this is the Holy Ghost, who fills the whole world, who enabled the Apostles to preach to the multitude in their own languages;  who gives wisdom, understanding, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord.  This is the Holy Ghost, the uncreated Grace that gives life to each of the Sacraments    which in turn give life to our souls.  This is God, the Holy Ghost, who crosses all barriers of space and time to be with us.  This is the Holy Ghost, the sigh of love between the Father and the Son—the God who gives us all because He loves us, and asks only our love in return.


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