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Pentecost (2)

THE SOUL OF THE CHURCH

Pentecost is the Feast of God the Holy Spirit.

In our devotion to the Holy Spirit we should be wary of equating His action with our own feelings. Such confusion is at the root of much of what is attributed to the Holy Spirit in certain types of prayer meetings.

We do not say that the Holy Spirit is necessarily absent from such gatherings. We do say that in such gatherings much of what is claimed to be direct inspiration, personal revelation, prophetic utterance, is often simply a manifestation of various human emotional responses.

Those human emotions are often triggered by a particularly secular style of music, and helped along by a warm and cosy atmosphere of support and affirmation. None of that necessarily precludes the working of the Holy Spirit of course, but neither does it guarantee His presence.

The varied gifts of the Holy Spirit are imparted for edification, for building-up the Church. That is clearly seen at Pentecost. The Third Person of the Godhead descended in majesty and power upon the Apostles, and they were caught up by the Spirit in an ecstasy that we can scarcely imagine, praising and proclaiming the mighty works of God in ecstatic words which far surpassed the power of human speech.

The Spirit of the living God was given to them ad robur, for strength; not for their own consolation, but in order to launch and empower the supra-national mission of the universal Church.

The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Catholic Church. That life-giving soul does not turn the Church inwards on herself. The Spirit stirs the Church to look outwards ad gentes, to the as yet unevangelized and unconverted multitudes of the non-Christian world.

The Spirit drives us further and further outwards from Jerusalem (so to speak) into what is often a faithless wilderness. In and through the Holy Spirit we play our small part in converting that desert into the Lord’s own vineyard. The work of the Spirit is a work of conversion and re-creation, bringing order out of chaos.

If ever there was a time of chaos in Christ’s Holy Church and in the world, it is now. Only God the Holy Spirit can bring order out of such chaos. Only the truth of Christ can heal the wounds inflicted by lies, heresy, and disingenuous barefaced denial.