The Fiftieth Day

A Rosary Meditation: The Third Glorious Mystery, The Descent of the Holy Spirit.

“When the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all gathered together in one place.” Acts 2:1.

The word Pentecost comes to us via Middle English, from Old English pentecosten, from the Late Latin pentecoste, from the Greek word pentēkostē, which literally means “fiftieth day”, from pentēkostos fiftieth, from pentēkonta fifty, from penta- + -konta (akin to Latin viginti twenty). Short version: Pentecost means fifty days.

Jesus had told his faithful few to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit and they did. Can you imagine what that must’ve been like? You’re told to wait. OK, wait for how long? A week? A month? Years? These people had not the slightest glimmer of an idea. But they waited anyway. Obedience.

From the Rule of St. Benedict, chapter 5: “The first degree of humility is obedience without delay. This is the virtue of those who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ; who, because of the holy service they have professed, and the fear of hell, and the glory of life everlasting, as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior, receive it as a divine command and cannot suffer any delay in executing it. Of these the Lord says, “As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me” (Ps. 17[18]:45). And again to teachers He says, “He who hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10:16).” There’s some more to the chapter. You might like to Google it.

Obedience regardless. It takes a lot of faith and trust. It takes a lot of love to be willing to wait, not knowing for how long. What do you think it was like at the end of week one? Or after twenty seven days? Or on the thirty ninth? Did anyone murmur? Was there fear or discontent? Did faith waver? Did Peter want to get back to his nets and boat and just go fishing? Maybe some of this, maybe all of this, maybe none of this. Any answer we come up with regarding these people and what their thoughts or attitudes may have been probably tells us more about ourselves than it does them. But whatever may or may not have happened they waited anyway, didn’t they?

Sometimes we’re faced with a “something”, it doesn’t matter what it is so you can pick one, that requires us to wait. Its hard. A child on Christmas eve wants morning NOW so they can unwrap their gifts. It doesn’t matter how hard they want they still have to wait. And sometimes so do we. So there’s obedience and patience as well. Its not an easy combination to muster. But its going to be that way, the wait will be there no matter what, so we may as well take a shot at being obedient and patient.

If the folks back then had given up in disgust on, oh, lets say the forty ninth day, where would God’s Church be now? Where would we?

“Be you therefore also patient, and strengthen your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:8, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Don’t give up before the wait is over. The disciples waited and experienced the miracle of Pentecost. Don’t miss your miracle.



  1. It’s encouraging to be reminded to WAIT.

    • Currently I remind myself more of the kid on Christmas eve, but I suppose even that serves a purpose. 🙂

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