The Descent of the Holy Spirit Upon the Apostles
…when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.
Today we celebrate the birthday of the Church with all the apostles and disciples who received the Holy Spirit on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, or Shavu’ot. Remember how our Easter Season began with the lighting of the Paschal flame and we sang the praises of the Easter Candle, a symbol of Christ’s light and power over death. On that Easter Vigil night it was us who lighted candles and held them as a sign that we bear the light of Christ in our hearts. Today we celebrate God lighting us with a fire that burns without consuming. Let us surrender to the power and goodness of the Holy Spirit who desires to fill us with Divine gifts.
Pope Benedict on the Holy SpiritSaint Augustine’s experience of the love of God present in the Church led him to three particular insights about the Holy Spirit as the bond of unity within the Blessed Trinity: unity as communion, unity as abiding love, and unity as giving and gift. These three insights help explain how the Spirit works. In a world where both individuals and communities often suffer from an absence of unity or cohesion, these insights help us remain attuned to the Spirit and to extend and clarify the scope of our witness.
Augustine noted that the two words “Holy “ and “Spirit” refer to what is divine about God; in other words, what is shared by the Father and the Son – their communion. So, if the distinguishing characteristic of the Hoy Spirit is to be what is shared by the Father and the Son, Augustine concluded that the Spirit’s particular quality is unity. It is a unity of lived communion: a unity of persons in a relationship of constant fibbing, the Father and the Son giving themselves to each other….True unity could never be founded upon relationships which deny the equal dignity of other persons. Nor is unity simply the sum total of the groups through which we sometimes attempt to “define” ourselves. In fact, only in the life of communion is unity sustained and human identity fulfilled: we recognize the common need for God, we respond to the unifying presence of the Holy Spirit, and we give ourselves to one another in service.
Augustine’s second insight [is that of] the Holy Spirit as abiding love. Reflecting on the lasting nature of love – “whoever abides in love remains in God and God in him” – he wondered: is it love or the Holy Spirit which grants the abiding? This is the conclusion he reaches: “The Holy Spirit makes us remain in God and God in us; yet it is love that effects this. The Spirit therefore is God as love!”…God share himself as love in the Holy Spirit…Love is the sing of the presence of the Holy Spirit! Ideas or voices which lack love – even if they seem sophisticated or knowledgeable – cannot be “of the Spirit.” Furthermore, love has a particular trait: far from being indulgent or fickle, it has a task or purpose to fulfill: to abide. By its nature love is enduring. Again we catch a further glimpse of how much the Holy Spirit offers our world: love which dispels uncertainty; love which overcome the fear of betrayal; love which carries eternity within; the true love which draws us into a unity that abides!
The third insight: the Holy Spirit as gift. The Spirit is “God’s gift” (Jn 4:10) the internal spring (cf. Jn 4:14), who truly satisfies our deepest thirst and leads us to the Father. From this observation Augustine concludes that God sharing himself with us as gift is the Holy Spirit…Again we catch a glimpse of the Trinity at work: the Holy Spirit is God eternally giving himself; like a never-ending spring he pours forth nothing less than himself…We begin to understand why the quest for novelty leaves us unsatisfied and wanting. Are we not looking for an eternal gift? The Spring that will never run dry?...
Inspired by the insights of Saint Augustine: let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; self-giving love your mission!
- Pope Benedict XVI
Manninos’ Going Away Concert!Our Dear Manninos, Jim, Denise, and Aaron have decided to move to Florida for various good reasons. We will miss them after 15 years of providing beautiful prayerful music at our 11am Mass and other liturgies. This Sunday, May 27th, the Manninos' music group “The Priest and the Publicans” (including Fr. Armando Guzman), will be playing at our first multicultural lunch in honor of Pentecost. It will follow the 11 am Mass, all are welcome. Please come and say goodbye to these great friends who were so generous with their time and talent. A free-will offering will be taken to help in their moving if you would like to express your gratitude to them in that way. May God bless them abundantly in their new home and parish.