Please God, more Scriptural and Patristic sources will be added to the present “rant style” meditations when circumstances at Holy Souls Hermitage aren’t quite so utterly barbaric.
The purpose of this first run through these mysteries is to note especially the goodness and kindness of Jesus amidst the violence and chaos back in the day… and today. Hang on, it might be a bit of a rough ride, as rough and tumble as we focus on, in this post, the Descent of the Holy Spirit:
Acts 2,1-41 1 When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. 2 And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. 3 Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. 6 At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? 9 We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, 11 both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” 12 They were all astounded and bewildered, and said to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others said, scoffing, “They have had too much new wine.” 14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘It will come to pass in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will work wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below: blood, fire, and a cloud of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of the Lord, 21 and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.’ 22 You who are Israelites, hear these words. Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. 23 This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. 24 But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says of him: ‘I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. 26 Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, 27 because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 29 My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day. 30 But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. 33 Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you (both) see and hear. 34 For David did not go up into heaven, but he himself said: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”‘ 36 Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” 38 Peter (said) to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” 40 He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day. (nab)
[[ It was my great joy to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraorinary Form in the "upper basilica" of the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes on Pentecost Sunday in the spring of 2009, getting very close to the time when I would round out my two years in Lourdes as a chaplain for the Italian, English, French and Latin chaplaincies. It was my great joy to sing the Veni Sancte Spiritus. I remember that clear as a bell.]]
There is just one comment in Saint Peter’s preaching that I’d like to emphasize:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
This is the Pentecost preaching of our Holy Father, Saint Peter, who was filled with the Holy Spirit in uttering these words. No, he hasn’t forgotten that he is an Israelite, indeed, one who scrupulously kept the Law of Moses. No, he hasn’t forgotten that he himself denied the Lord three times. No, he doesn’t fall under the condemnation of our Holy Father, the Successor of Saint Peter, Benedict XVI, in that Peter himself does not say that only the Jews put Jesus to death, and not us also be way of our sins.
The fact is that the Holy Spirit — all charismatics take note — came also upon Peter at Pentecost, and to this precise end of making converts to the firey truth and charity of God, revealing hyposcrisy, promoting repentance and humble thanksgiving.
Did Peter’s speech promote unity? Yes. Peter is the sign of unity. Do politically correct tyranny of relativism “concensus builders” despise Peter? Well, they wouldn’t say so. But, yes, they do. So where’s the unity in that? Everyone, without exception, is subject to the Lord, though many do not want this, many others do. There are many won for the Lord. There is clarity, not ambiguous nothingness in which all go to hell. No, many are won. And those who are lost want to be lost. But many are won to the Lord in a unified way.
Other than that, something rather spiritual in a different way:
We do not know how to pray as we ought. The Holy Spirit takes us and transforms us into the image of Jesus, making us members of His Mystical Body, having us look through, with and in Jesus to the Father. This is how things will be in eternity. Inasmuch as we carry about the death of Jesus in this world in this way, that is how much we are already proclaiming the resurrection, not only of Jesus, but also of our own future resurrection at the Last Judgment. The Holy Spirit prepares us for eternity by uniting us always more to Jesus.
Oh, and all those languages which were understood. Very cool, that. I wish the charismatics would just follow Paul’s rules for speaking in tongues. The one common language that must always be spoken is that one Word, that Logos, now Jesus, spoken by the Father, and resounding within us. The Holy Spirit has us “sound down” (see Luke 1,1-4) the Sacred Tradition of the Church, of which He is the author.
Remember, Sacred Tradition does NOT mean handing down the faith. That’s a tyranny of relativism definition. Although Vatican II uses two sentences to describe this, Trent just comes right out and says it. Sacred Tradition is a handing down of the faith quasi per manus, almost as if my hand, as if it were something so the same that we were handing down an inanimate object, the same for all generation. Instead, we pass down a living faith, but the author of that living faith, of those traditiones, is the Holy Spirit, who speaks univocally to all, throughout the ages. The Holy Spirit is the author of Sacred Tradition, not us, not our efforts. The Holy Spirit leads us to know the truth, the living truth, Christ Jesus, whom we crucified, but who, by His grace, has us be in humble thanksgiving for His goodness and kindness. Very wonderful, that. Happy Feast!