PENTECOST SUNDAY JUNE 4, 2017

BE SURE TO WEAR RED TO MASS!

PRAYER TO HOLY SPIRIT (ST. AUGUSTINE)

Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.

CATECHESIS ON HOLY SPIRIT

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit…” Acts 2:1-3

In the First Creation Story in Genesis 1:2 “the Spirit of God was moving over the face of deep waters,” bringing order out of chaos.  In the Second Creation Story, Genesis 2:7, “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the land and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.”

In addition to the Creation stories we find other references in the Old Testament to the Holy Spirit. In Exodus 13:15, God dried up the waters by sending a dry wind, once the waters were parted the Israelites escaped the Egyptians on dry land.

The Spirit inspired Joseph’s dreams in Egypt.  The Spirit spoke at the anointing of David by Samuel.  And the great prophets, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah prophesied that the Spirit would renew and restore the chosen people if only they would repent and turn back to God.

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and the Word became flesh.  “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and therefore the Holy Being, Who shall be born of you, shall be called the Son of God.”  (Lk. 1:35)

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised his disciples that he would pray to his Father that the Holy Spirit be given to them. (John 14:10)  Jesus promised (John 14:26) “The Spirit will teach you all things and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you.” 

Through the Holy Spirit, our faith is awakened.  We are inspired to know Jesus and the One who sent Him.  The Holy Spirit stirs up in us repentance for sin and conversion.   Until the end of time, the Spirit guides, protects, and inspires the Church and its members.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit received on Pentecost by the disciples were foretold by the prophet Isaiah 11:2-4 The gifts of the Holy Spirit are perfected in Jesus, the perfect Davidic King.

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.  The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:  a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, (Isaiah 11:2)

On Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, they were granted the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Those gifts helped them to fulfill their mission to preach the Gospel to all nations.

For us, too, those gifts help us to live a fuller Christian life.  We first receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism when we received sanctifying grace, a share in divine life and heirs to heaven.  This sanctifying grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit is emboldened in other sacraments such as Confirmation, the Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation..

GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Wisdom is the perfection of faith. As Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., notes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, “Where faith is a simple knowledge of the articles of Christian belief, wisdom goes on to a certain divine penetration of the truths themselves.” Through wisdom, we judge the things of the world in light of the highest end of man—the contemplation of God.

Understanding differs from wisdom in that wisdom is the desire to contemplate the things of God, while understanding allows us, as Fr. John A. Hardon writes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, to “penetrate to the very core of revealed truths. Such certitude moves beyond faith, which “merely assents to what God has revealed.”

Counsel, is the perfection of the cardinal virtue of prudence Like prudence, counsel allows us to judge rightly what we should do in a particular circumstance. It goes beyond prudence, though, in allowing such judgments to be made promptly. We respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as if by instinct.

Fortitude is the virtue that allows us to overcome fear and to remain steady in our will in the face of obstacles. Fortitude is not foolhardiness or rashness.  Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., notes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, fortitude is the “curbing of recklessness.” Putting our bodies or lives in danger when it is not necessary is not fortitude but foolishness. , Fortitude is the virtue that helps us to stand up for what is right, even when others say that Christian belief or moral action is “outdated

Knowledge, like wisdom, knowledge perfects the theological virtue of faith. The aims of knowledge and wisdom are different, however. Whereas wisdom helps us to penetrate divine truth and prepares us to judge all things according to that truth, knowledge gives us that ability to judge. Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., writes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, “The object of this gift is the whole spectrum of created things insofar as they lead one to God.” Father Hardon notes, “it enables those who have the gift to discern easily and effectively between the impulses of temptation and the inspirations of grace.”

Piety perfects religion, which, as Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., notes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, is “The moral virtue by which a person is disposed to render to God the worship and service he deserves.” Far from being a drudgery, worship should be an act of love, and piety is the instinctive affection for God that makes us desire to render worship to Him, just as we voluntarily honor our parents.  Piety draws us to Mass; it prompts us to pray, even when we may not feel like doing so.

Fear of the Lord confirms the theological virtue of hope. We often think of hope and fear as mutually exclusive, but the fear of the Lord is the desire not to offend Him, and the certainty that He will give us the grace necessary to keep from doing so. It is that certainty that gives us hope. The fear of the Lord is like the respect we have for our parents. We do not wish to offend them, but we also do not live in fear of them, in the sense of being frightened.

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

Through the Holy Spirit, our faith is awakened!  We are inspired to know Jesus and the One who sent Him.  The Holy Spirit stirs up in us repentance for sin and conversion. And ’til the end of time, the Spirit guides, protects, and inspires the Church and its members. If Christ is the head of the Church, as He most certainly is, the Holy Spirit is the soul and inspiration (breath) of the Church.

REFLECTION

How do we interact with the Holy Spirit… pray for inspiration…what prayers do I say, am I aware of the his assistance… do I call on it, before reading scripture, before making difficult decisions, for protection against temptation,… how can my relationship to the Spirit assist me to overcome tendencies in pride, anger, lust, greed, envy, excess, and laziness…do we ever thank the Holy Spirit for his assistance.???

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