This week, we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for Pentecost, Mass during the Day.
O God, who by the mystery of today’s great feast sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation, pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit across the face of the earth and, with the divine grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, fill now once more the hearts of believers. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
I don’t know about you, but for Pentecost Sunday I was expecting a prayer with fire and wind and conviction, not a calm, soothing one.
As we look at the Who of the prayer, we learn that the Holy Spirit is the sanctifier. The Holy Spirit is God’s divine life within us. We are sanctified when the Holy Spirit perfects our spirit, helping us to choose the right actions or thoughts out of love for God not out of fear of him. Servant of God Luis Maria Martinez wrote that the Holy Spirit does not give himself to us without pouring charity into our heart.
Speaking of pouring, asking God to pour out and to fill are the verbs of our petitions of the prayer.
O God, pour out the gifts of the Holy Spirit across the face of the earth. Sometimes it’s easy to watch the news, local or national, and get wrapped up in how we want God to move and when we want him to do it. However, it’s not just about us. This weekend, everywhere around the world, there will be people like us, members of the Body of Christ, praying that God will pour his gifts down, and that hearts will change.
I’ve been thinking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, too. At Confirmation, we all received the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of God. These gifts are for us, for our own holiness.
However, did you realize that the Holy Spirit has more gifts for us. These gifts are for us to give away, these gifts build up the church. Just a few examples of these gifts are hospitality, teaching, intercessory prayer, healing, prophecy. Not only do each one of us have gifts, we are expected to discover them and to use them. Perhaps that’s where the grace comes in.
With the divine grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, fill now once more the hearts of believers. It’s easy to think about grace as the nice healing balm, the calmness, the help, but we should never underestimate the power of divine grace. Divine grace also gives us courage, and strength, just what we need to step out in faith and use our gifts.
You can see that it is a nice soothing prayer, but then I laid the prayer, like an overlay, over the events of Upper Room. Through the overlay, I could see sanctification as the Holy Spirit was being poured over the Apostles and the others in that room. Their sanctification grew as their love of Jesus and their desire for the Kingdom of Heaven replaced their own desires.
We can see them, reaching to heaven, God pouring into them the gifts they need to build the Kingdom. Their hearts are now filled, and probably even burning, with divine grace. Their fear of saying something right, or doing something wrong is replaced with courage and zeal. They leave their room, unafraid to step out of the boat onto the water, unafraid to speak, confident that what they had received from God could change the world.
Notice in the first reading this weekend, Acts 2:11, that there are no Christians mentioned as being Jerusalem that day. Also note that the Jewish people there reported that they heard the Apostles speaking of the mighty acts of God. Later in the chapter, we read where Peter, in his new holy boldness, explains to the Jews how Jesus fulfilled the words of Joel in the Old Testament. He also tells them that “God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (v. 36)
What happens next? Over 3,000 people were baptized and became Christians that day. As we pray for our own outpouring the Holy Spirit this week, may we follow through like the Apostles did, and go forth speaking of the wonders of our God.
Thank you for praying with me,