Pentecost and the Incarnation

Pentecost
‘And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a driving wind … and there appeared to them tongues as of fire … and they were filled with the Holy Spirit’
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Beloved in Jesus Christ, Today is Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. It is the day that the Holy Spirit brings the Church alive. After Our Lord had ascended to heaven, there he told the Holy Spirit, ‘now, You must go! Go down to my disciples, to the Holy Church, and give them your Life. And so down came the Good Holy Spirit in a Wind, into the souls of the followers of Jesus; into the souls of those sons and daughters of God, and into us – at our baptism.
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Some[i] people wrongly think, that the Holy Spirit has come to ‘finish the job’ of what Jesus started, as if Christ’s work was imperfect. No, this is not it. How the Holy Spirit has brought the Church alive – how the Holy Spirit acts in us, dwells in us, moves us – the explanation of the work of this Divine Consoler must be found in Jesus Christ. If we wish to know how WE possess the Holy Spirit, all we have to do is know how JESUS possesses him.
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St. Paul says: ‘As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.’
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The Holy Church is literally the Body of Christ. The Church continues the Incarnation; this ‘birthing of Christ’ is essentially prolonged in the world – in us, and as we shall see, the Holy Spirit is the one who accomplishes this. We call the Church the Body of Christ, and so it is. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says #1108: The Holy Spirit is sent, in order to bring us into communion with Christ and so to form his Body.’ So the Church is the prolongation, the continuing of the Incarnation through history.
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See what a happened, when Jesus came into the world. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ is made present in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Well, on Pentecost, we can say that by the power of the HOly Spirit, Christ is made present in the womb of the Church; the Spirit of Jesus is born his people. In fact, the entire Book of the Acts of the Apostles shows how the Apostles began to live and do what Jesus did. The Holy Spirit is making them into ‘other Jesus’s’. So what happens at Pentecost, is really the same as what happened at the Incarnation.
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At Baptism, we are born new, of water and Spirit. And here at Holy Mass, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ becomes present in the womb of Mother Church; so we are, more and more, being incorporated into the Body of Christ. Father Mersch in his book says:[ii] He who fashioned Christ’s physical Body – the Holy Spirit – is also fashioning his Mystical Body, the Church. St. Irenaus beautifully says: ‘When the Son of God became Man, the Spirit descended upon him, and in this way, the Holy Spirit became accustomed to dwelling with the human race.[iii]
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So the birth of the Church extends over the centuries. The Holy Spirit is continually being sent, and Pentecost never comes to an end; this is a reality: This Divine Paraclete, this Holy Spirit, is in us! ‘Do you not know that you are temples of the Holy Spirit?,’ says St. Paul.
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By his Gifts, this Divine Consoler wishes to do great things in us, really make us ‘other Christs.’ Jesus wishes to reproduce his life in us. You know, when St. Teresa of Avila would pray in the chapel, sometimes the Holy Spirit came with such power, that she was lifted off the ground, levitating in the air while she prayed. Many saw this.[iv]
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One time, St. Anthony was preaching at a Church at 9:30 in the morning, and during the Homily, he suddenly realized he was supposed to be leading the chant at a monastery 30 miles away, he had forgotten. He prayed to the Holy Spirit, and sat down for about 4 minutes, then rose to continue his homily. It was reported the next day that St. Anthony WAS at that distant Church leading the chant at 9:30 in the morning.
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Levitation, miraculous transport – the saints show the power of the Holy Spirit; but this Great Friend will work daily, real miracles in our own lives, if we ask him. I can’t tell you how many times I faced a difficult situation, or a problem with no seeming solution; a short prayer to the Holy Spirit, and then – well, the results could only be caused by that great Friend.
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A lady had a terrible argument with her cousin, but she prayed for help to the Holy Spirit, then went to see the cousin. It seems that just the right words came out, and they were accepted. The quarrel was over that fast.
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We should speak often to this dear Consoler, this Divine Friend, this Advocate. ‘Oh Holy Spirit, I love you. Guide me; animate me and help me.
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Friends, we are like a ship with a sail. When there is no wind, we can paddle along, but we make little progress. Yet when we pray to the Holy Spirit, that Breath of God fills our sails and we go much farther and faster than we ever could ourselves. St. John Vianney says it is the Holy Spirit that makes unlearned people wiser than many others. But we must listen to Him.
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Let us give the Holy Spirit what he wants, what we know he is asking of us. Give the Holy Spirit what he wants – and then he will ask for more! May the dear Blessed Virgin intercede for us; Mary, pray for us, that by the help of the Holy Spirit, we ourselves will build up the beautiful Body of Christ.

 

Entrusted to the prayers of St. Nicholas

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[i] Introductory ideas here are taken from Fr. Mersch’s ‘Theology of the Mystical Body,’ pp. 415-417.

[ii] Theology of the Mystical Body, p. 417

[iii] Office for Pentecost

[iv] She says: though I tried to resist, it seemed that I was being lifted by a force so powerful that it can compare with nothing else…. (Mysteries Marvels, Miracles /Cruz…p. 19)

 

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