A New Pentecost … Wednesday, July 3

Small Passion: 35. The Descent of the Holy Spirit

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Glorious Mystery, the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Prayer to the Holy Spirit by Pope John XXIII (1961; emphasis added): “Divine Spirit, renew your wonders in our time, as though for a new Pentecost, and grant that the holy church, preserving unanimous and continuous prayer, together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, and also under the guidance of St. Peter, may increase the reign of the Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen.”

What happened on that first Pentecost? I mean, what REALLY happened? There are lots of ifs, ands, buts and details but I think that the real meat is easy to simplify. It boils down to just three things. #1, The Holy Spirit came upon Christ‘s Church as promised. #2, Given this strengthening influence from God the Church was made bold and proclaimed the Truth of God without fear of the consequences. #3, People were converted, people came to know Jesus personally. Pope John XXIII prayed for a new Pentecost. And that’s not about a rushing wind sound or tongues of fire or anything like that. It’s about God giving us the grace to be bold, and honest, enough to declare the Truth regardless. And if we do this, and prayer plus a willing heart is the key, we can know a Pentecost that will outshine even the first one. And if you doubt that remember this: With God? All things are possible.

Today …

St. Acestes

St. Acestes was a soldier assigned to escort St. Paul, the great Apostle, to his death. Acestes and two other soldiers were converted by Paul during their brief encounter. The three Romans, horrified by Paul’s execution, declared their faith before the onlookers and were promptly beheaded. Now here was Pentecost in miniature. Paul, filled with God’s Spirit, in spite of the circumstances, being an honest and open witness to the Truth that is Christ became a tool in God’s hands leading to conversions. Do you think St. Acestes understood what Pentecost was really all about? Maybe he would be a good prayer partner as we work towards a much-needed Pentecost for our day.

Pentecost … “But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words.” Acts 2:14. Peter spoke out, Pope John XXIII spoke up, and we’re going to speak … what?