GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

"Holy Spirit, Fill us with Your Love!"

Frequently when I have prayerfully considered that first Pentecost, I think of myself as an invisible person, in a corner somewhere in the room, viewing the situation. There the Apostles are...nervous, confused, uncertain, astonished, and fearful. They are probing their intellects to endeavor to understand all they had seen and heard in the past three years. They were also probing their hearts. How could they live and walk with Jesus for three years and still run away in fear when Jesus was arrested? Did they struggle with this dilemma...this guilt? Perhaps some are praying intently while others are acknowledging to God and offering to Him, as prayer, their state of weakness. These men, who are physically strong, judge themselves now as cowards. They realize that they had less inner strength than the women. (No compliment for any macho man!) How marvelous are God's works! For He brings down the mighty only to raise them up again when they can acknowledge that there is no good apart from God...no strength...no wisdom...no accomplishment. Only when man experiences his weakness, can the strength of God take over his work. Only when man realizes that he can do nothing by himself, can he experientially confess that God is the Source of all that is Good. Ah, poor weak Apostles! Are you doomed to stay in your misery? Will depression and confusion be your lot until you draw your last breath? Indeed not! What you need is an enlightened mind...a courageous heart. Did Jesus not tell you? "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name -- he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. (John 14:26)

We know that Our Lady, who was with them, certainly was in deep prayer. I doubt that the pain of seeing her Son suffer so much for the love of us was something that she could readily dismiss from her mind, however, she had also seen Him again. Her Son is alive...glorious, beautiful...never to die again. She knows that her earthly relationship with Jesus would not be the same as it was, but she had more sons now, as she gazes upon them in the room. They needed this Mother. All children need their mothers and usually call on them in times of trouble. These now are her sons. These men who had abandoned Him. These are the replacements. A gift from her Son as He hung on the cross...as we all are...that gift! What is the Mother to do with them? What can she say to them that will strengthen them? Surely her very presence provides some strength to them. Yet they need what Jesus promised to send them. The Holy Spirit...the Spirit of Truth, Who would bring to their minds the clarity, the insight, the understanding of all that He had taught them.

Our Lady was not foreign to the Holy Spirit. Was He not her Spouse? Did the Angel at the Annunciation not say: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you..." (Luke 1: 35) And so she longed for the Holy Spirit to come again. Not for herself alone, but for her new sons...her weak sons. They were like sheep without a shepherd. She had experienced first-handedly the power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles now needed the strength, the courage, and the enlightenment that only He could give.

The new Church needed a birthday. Our Lord's Passover needed to be completed. The new Church needed to be revealed to the world. The entire Trinity needed to be revealed.

The CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH states: "On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of His fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. (Paragraph 731)
"On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in Him: in the humility of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy Trinity. By His coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to enter into the 'last days,' the time of the Church, the Kingdom already inherited though not yet consummated." (Paragraph 732)

And so we needed...and need today...this Holy Spirit...the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. The Church teaches that the Holy Spirit is the LOVE that exists between the Father and the Son. That Love is so great that that LOVE is the Holy Spirit Himself. That LOVE is so great that it forms, for want of weak human language, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity...the Holy Spirit.

Upon receiving the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost, the Apostles became courageous beyond words. They threw open the windows. They proclaimed fearlessly and to all that "Jesus Christ is Lord!"

Come Holy Spirit, fill us to the brim with Yourself, Who is LOVE.