Third Glorious Mystery:|
The Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles and the Blessed Mother
Fifty days after our Lord Jesus Christ conquered death and ten days after He bodily ascended into Heaven, He made good on His promise to send His Spirit. The Holy Ghost came with a rush of grace and inspiration, transforming the formerly apprehensive Apostles into men of virtuous courage who were now ready to fully take up the command Christ had given them. The charism of the Church was born that day and the Faith spread rapidly with three thousand on the first day. A glorious day it was!
"The Pentecost itself is the birth of the Church with the baptism of her first three thousand members and thus shows the authority of our first Pope, Saint Peter who now reigns forever in eternal bliss but remaining ever watchful over the Primacy he was first charged with by our Lord. Imagine the consternation of the stubborn Jews, who realized that by killing Jesus, had only opened a whole Pandora's box for themselves for this God-man would not only rise from the dead and be seen in and around Jerusalem for 40 days after His death, but would ascend bodily into Heaven. Now His followers which hitherto were cautious, timid, yes, afraid, were now boldly going out and daring to convert others, confidently spreading the same message Jesus had taught. Truly they were His followers. What then really happened on that Sunday that changed these men? That is what many asked themselves and those who truly were sincere in questioning the events, were open to conversion. Yet even today, many still resist the Holy Ghost and His works, and resist the Church Jesus founded; while others have infiltrated His very Church and sought to undermine the Faith He gave the Apostles and subsequently all Catholics."
For the Third Glorious Mystery the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary, I will once again go to the commentaries found in my handy-dandy Douay-Rheims Bible which is an actual copy of the original with the strange typing characters and spelling for all. Please bear with me as I try to translate it into a more readable sequence. The verses italicized are the verses where the commentary found in Rheims is made.
Before I provide the scriptural account in Chapters one and two of the Acts of the Apostles written by Saint Luke the Evangelist, think of being there with the Apostles and the Blessed Mother. We know that she intuitively knew the Holy Ghost was about to manifest Himself to them. Imagine her joy then when the Dove descended. Imagine the Apostles' eyes and hearts when they felt the presence of the very "Spirit of Truth" Jesus had promised them (John 15: 26). Imagine their eyes growing larger as the tongues of fire hovered over each one. Imagine their sense of thrill and chills, and the genuine zeal that followed when they realized they could communicate in languages previously unknown, and truly fulfill our Lord's command in Mark 16: 15-16. Imagine the sense of awe and wonderment by the throngs who saw that these Apostles were speaking in their language as Acts documents. Truly there were all kinds of wonders on that day and ever since for the power of the Holy Ghost continues, even in a world, which grows darker by the day in the prince of the world's vice-grip.
Acts 1:13-14 "And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James of Alpheus and Simon Zelotes and Jude the brother of James. All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren."
What follows is even more encompassing in commentary than the standard Comprehensive Catholic Commentary by Father George Leo Haydock, appropriately referred to as the "Haydock Commentary" with the Douay-Rheims Bible comments on Verse 14. I have translated from the Old English into a more readable form, albeit still in some places a form of Old English:
"This is the last mention that is made in Scripture of the blessed Virgin Mary. She lived the rest of her time with the Christians (as here she is particularly named and noted amongst them) and especially with S. John, the apostle, to whom our Lord recommended her. S. John xix 26, 27. She undoubtedly communicated to the evangelists many circumstances relative to the actions, words, and mysteries of her divine Son."
Acts 1:15-26: "In those days Peter rising up in the midst of the brethren, said (now the number of persons together was about an hundred and twenty): Men, brethren, the scripture must needs be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was the leader of them that apprehended Jesus: Who was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. And he indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity, and being hanged, burst asunder in the midst: and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: so that the same field was called in their tongue, Haceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein. And his bishopric let another take. Wherefore of these men who have companied with us, all the time that the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, until the day wherein he was taken up from us, one of these must be made a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And praying, they said: Thou, Lord, who knowest the heart of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, To take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place. And they gave them lot, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
Acts 2:1 "And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place"
Again, I refer to the original commentary in the Douay-Rheims version:
"(As Christ our Pasche, for correspondence to the figure, was offered at the Jews great feast of Pasche, so fifty days after (in Greek, Pentecost) for accomplishing the like figure of the Law-giving in Mount Sinai, He sent down the Holy Ghost just on the day of their Pentecost. Which was always on Sunday, appeareth Leuit. 23, 15. Both which days the Church keeps and yearly for memory of Christ's death and Resurrection, and the sending down of the Holy Ghost: as they did the like for record of their delivery out of Egypt, and their Lawgiving aforesaid, with us continuing the said Feasts as well as the remembrance of the benefits of the past, great Sacraments which provide the grace for the life to come. Aug. ep. 119, C. 16.)"
Acts 2: 2-13 "And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them. And they were all filled (replenished) with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these that speak Galilean? And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all astonished, and wondered, saying one to another: What meaneth this? But others mocking, said: These men are full of new wine."
"Peter, the head of the rest and now newly replenished with all knowledge and fortitude, makes the first sermon." (Rheims Commentary)
Acts 2: 14-24:
"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. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day: But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord), I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit: and they shall prophesy. And I will shew wonders in the Heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord to come. And it shalt come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know: This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell,"
"Who but an infidel (saith S. Augustine) will deny Christ to have descended to Hell." (Rheims Commentary)
Acts 2: 24-27:
"as it was impossible that he should be holden by it. For David saith concerning him: I foresaw the Lord before my face: because he is at my right hand, that I may not be moved. For this my heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath rejoiced: moreover my flesh also shall rest in hope. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption."
"As his soul suffered no pains in Hell, so neither did his body take any corruption in the grave." (Rheims Commentary)
Acts 2: 28-47: "Thou hast made known to me the ways of life: thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Ye men, brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David: that he died and was buried; and his sepulchre is with us to this present say. Whereas therefore he was a prophet and knew that God hath sworn to him with an oath, that of the fruit of his loins one should sit upon his throne. Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell: neither did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses. Being exalted therefore by the right hand of God and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath poured forth this which you see and hear. For David ascended not into heaven; but he himself said: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy enemies thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, whom you have crucified. Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren? But Peter said to them: Do penance: and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation. They therefore that received his word were baptized: and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul. Many wonders also and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem: and there was great fervor in all. And all they that believed were together and had all things common. Their possessions and goods they sold and divided them to all, according as every one had need. And continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart: Praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved."
Though this is the Rheims commentary on the verses of the Pentecost it seems the commentaries didn't focus as much on the actual Pentecost itself but gave us some profound insights on our Lady and clearly articulated the truth about our Lord's descent into Hell, both articles of the Apostles' Creed.
The Pentecost itself is the birth of the Church with the baptism of her first three thousand members and thus shows the authority of our first Pope, Saint Peter who now reigns forever in eternal bliss but remaining ever watchful over the Primacy he was first charged with by our Lord. Imagine the consternation of the stubborn Jews, who realized that by killing Jesus, had only opened a whole Pandora's box for themselves for this God-man would not only rise from the dead and be seen in and around Jerusalem for 40 days after His death, but would ascend bodily into Heaven. Now His followers which hitherto were cautious, timid, yes, afraid, were now boldly going out and daring to convert others, confidently spreading the same message Jesus had taught. Truly they were His followers. What then really happened on that Sunday that changed these men? That is what many asked themselves and those who truly were sincere in questioning the events, were open to conversion. Yet even today, many still resist the Holy Ghost and His works, and resist the Church Jesus founded; while others have infiltrated His very Church and sought to undermine the Faith He gave the Apostles and subsequently all Catholics.
Pentecost shows the significance of the often-times over-looked Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Ghost Who is the Soul of the Church. This (from the moment of the Descent until Christ comes again) is the age of the Holy Ghost. This is His time. Or at least it is supposed to be though the current Vatican leaders have done their best to snuff Him out these past 48 years. They never refer to the Third Person as the "Holy Ghost" any more but always the "holy Spirit" and it could very well be, from the total lack of good fruits (cf. Matthew 7: 15-20) that it was not the Holy Ghost, but an unholy "Spirit" which hovered over Vatican II. The results and aftermath devastation speak for themselves.
It only follows course that if you squelch the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, held sacred for nearly two millenniums, and change the Sacraments to accommodate man, not God, then you squelch the means through which the same Holy Ghost works. The "New Pentecost" which the church of Vatican II constantly talks about has no resemblance to the first and only Pentecost for the Holy Ghost of that first Whitsunday shone quite clearly from the time of Christ and Blessed Peter through the reign of Pope Pius XII and I would surmise and pray that He will shine all the more brilliantly when holy Mother Church is restored to her former majesty and grace after the Robber Barons are driven from the gates of Rome and a holy Pope once again reigns on the Chair of Peter. Come Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of the faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
"Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are THE TRUE CHURCH" Saint Athanasius, "Apostle of Tradition" AD 373