Come Holy Spirit!
By Deacon Keith Fournier
( c ) Third Millennium, LLC
“What the soul is to the body of man, the Holy Spirit is in the Body of Jesus Christ which is the Church. The Holy Spirit acts in the Church as the soul acts in the members of a body… .” St Augustine, Sermon 267, 4: PL 38, 1231 D
They were not the most promising lot, this group of early followers of the One who was raised from the dead. Even though they had seen Him defeat the final enemy, death, they were still afraid as they gathered in that upper room where Jesus had told them to wait. He promised, right before he ascended, that they would receive power from on high.
There, in that Cenacle, along with His mother, they prayed for power to overcome their fears. She probably understood more than most of them. After all, she would have remembered another day when she heard an angel tell her to not be afraid. That day, when she was first overshadowed by that same Holy Spirit of God, the Word became flesh.
Now, the Body of her Son and Savior, of which she was a member, waited for the same Holy Spirit. This day, another “overshadowing” would occur and the Church would be born. Again, Christ would be sent into the world through His new family to continue His redemptive mission.
On that great day, that once not so promising lot became the ones who turned the world upside down with their message. When the Holy Spirit came on that day, they became the bearers of the life and promises of God to the whole world. The leader of the crew, the one named Peter who had once denied the Lord out of fear, went out from that upper room on that day of Pentecost and preached to a hostile crowd, only now he was unafraid. Three thousand came to believe on that day alone. Countless billions have followed since then, as He has led the Church for two thousand years from the Chair of authority established in his name.
The Tradition has long referred to this great feast, this day called Pentecost when faithful Jews celebrated the fruits of the harvest, as the Birthday of the Church. So it is. The Church is the first fruits, the seed of the kingdom that is to come, the harvest of what was sown by the grain of wheat that fell to the ground and was raised up, the Lord from whose wounded side she has been fashioned. The Church was born in that upper room. Her members were the first born of many brothers and sisters who are born again through the waters of the womb called Baptism and who continue the mission to the nations.
The Church always needs the Holy Spirit. So does every one of her members. So do you and me. It is the God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, who convicts of sin, consoles, comforts, converts and clothes ordinary men and women with extraordinary grace and power. It is the Holy Spirit who gives light and life to a world filled with shadows and turns dead men walking into new creatures in Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals and leads men and women hungering for meaning to the fountain of truth and makes the mysteries of the living God present among mere mortals.
In his wonderful Encyclical letter “The Lord and Giver of Life” (Dominum Vivicantem), Pope John Paul II reminds us:
“The Church, therefore, instructed by the words of Christ, and drawing on the experience of Pentecost and her own apostolic history, has proclaimed since the earliest centuries her faith in the Holy Spirit, as the giver of life, the one in whom the inscrutable Triune God communicates himself to human beings, constituting in them the source of eternal life… . The Church, therefore, instructed by the words of Christ, and drawing on the experience of Pentecost and her own apostolic history, has proclaimed since the earliest centuries her faith in the Holy Spirit, as the giver of life, the one in whom the inscrutable Triune God communicates himself to human beings, constituting in them the source of eternal life.”
The God whom we profess as Christians is a God who gives Himself to men and women. No mere principle, theory or distant Deity, the God whom we who follow Jesus Christ proclaim to a world waiting to be born can be known. He gives Himself through His Spirit.
“What the soul is to the body of man, the Holy Spirit is in the Body of Jesus Christ which is the Church. The Holy Spirit acts in the Church as the soul acts in the members of a body… .” , wrote the great Western Church Bishop Augustine.
It is by the Holy Spirit that the living God communicates Himself to us and through us to the entire world! In us and through us the Spirit is bearing his fruits that we might live the holiness that is a very manifestation of Jesus Christ for the world. When we receive the Holy Spirit, the Spirit continues that mission that began on that day of Pentecost when those who were once afraid became clothed with power from on high.
We overcome our own fears and thus become His witnesses in our day, when we receive the Holy Spirit. The call of Pentecost is our call as well. That same Spirit that filled the apostles on the day of Pentecost now fills us as we yield to the promise from on high. Then, filled with the very Lord and Giver of Life, we go forth on mission into the entire world. That mission is the source of our joy. Let us be about the work of the Church in the Third Christian millennium.
Come Holy Spirit!
Deacon Keith Fournier serves as the Editor in Chief for Catholic Online. Along with Sandy and Michael Galloway, he is a founder of the “Your Catholic Voice” movement and serves as the President of the “Your Catholic Voice Foundation”
Your Catholic Voice Foundation
http://www.ycvf.org CA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - President, 661 869-1000
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