This is the meaning of the word 'Pentecost',
fifty days. Seven times seven plus one. In
biblical language, seven speaks of perfection
and completion; hence seven times seven is
the utmost of perfection.
"Pentecost is my most favorite feast
because it reminds me that I am never alone
in life. The Holy Spirit is always with me,
because this is what Jesus Christ promised
us!" These words coming from Mary, a
married woman with six children from Yigo,
surprised me. Pentecost is the feast of the
Holy Spirit. Very few people show any enthusiasm
about Him. They know He is there but that
is about all they care a propos of the third
person of the Holy Trinity.
You see, many never heard the Good News.
Others heard it but, somehow, it never penetrated
in their hearts and minds. A good number
believe that life is a battle which they
have to fight. Often single handed. The odds
are big and the resources are few. They feel
so alone, so weak, so hopeless. How depressing
because life can be so different!
The Holy Spirit is the Consoler. You see
in life, we need Someone within us who keeps
reminding us that we are never on our own,
who keeps inviting us to look Up. We need
Someone who keeps instructing us to have
patience with ourselves. Someone who knows
us better than we know ourselves and so,
can help us not to be scandalized with ourselves.
Someone who keeps telling us that God is
not disappointed with us - He created us,
He redeemed us, He will save us!
Fifty days after Easter an event happened
that is momentous in the history of the Church.
The Holy Spirit came with power and strength.
And the apostles were transformed. Their
lives were never the same. We need this Someone
within us who keeps pumping courage inside
us. Someone who tells us not to be afraid
but to keep going aheadů
The point to bring to mind constantly is
that Pentecost is not a yesterday event.
The Holy Spirit is not yesterday. He is today.
As the Bishop Ignatius of Latikon asserted
once during a meeting in Uppsala, "Without
the Holy Spirit, God is far away, Christ
stays in the past, the Gospel is a dead letter,
the Church is simply an organization, authority
is a matter of domination, mission is a matter
or propaganda, liturgy no more than a simple
evocation of the past, Christian living a
slave mentality." The Holy Spirit can
and should make a difference in our lives
I could not verify the veracity of this story
but what it does say is very true. Soon after
Saint Augustine's conversion, he was walking
down the street in Milan, Italy. There he
met a prostitute whom he had known. She called
but he would not answer. He kept right on
walking. "Augustine," she called
again. "It is I!"
Without missing a beat and with the assurance
of Christ in his heart, he replied, "Yes,
but it is no longer I."
The Holy Spirit changed Augustine. The Holy
Spirit can make us a brand new creation.
A dead balloon has no life, it is flat. It
lies wherever you put it. It doesn't move.
It has no power. Even when you blow in it,
it remains dead, going nowhere until that
power inside it, is released. Release the
power and it will soar high and mighty!
Reading the Fathers of the Church, one cannot
but be surprised with the intensity of the
emotions they utilized when they tried to
articulate their experience of the Holy Spirit.
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, one of the main
instructor of catechumens in the early Church,
was just enthusiastic, "The Spirit comes
gently and makes himself known by his fragrance.
He is not felt like a burden, for he is light,
very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream
before him as he approaches. The Spirit comes
with the tenderness of a true friend and
protector to save, to heal, to teach, to
counsel, to strengthen, to console."
Saint Basil, the Father of Eastern Monasticism,
is even more emphatic, "The Spirit is
the source of holiness. Like the sunshine
which permeates all the atmosphere, spreading
over land and sea, and yet it is enjoyed
by each person as though it were for him
alone, so the Spirit pours forth his grace
in full measure, sufficient for all, and
yet is present as though exclusively to everyone
who can receive him. To all creatures that
share in him he gives a delight limited only
by their own nature not by his ability to
"The Spirit - he continues - raises
our hearts to heaven, guides the steps of
the weak and brings to perfection those who
are making progress. He enlightens those
who have been cleansed from every stain of
sin and makes them spiritual by communion
Only fifty years ago, the Second Vatican
II was stating, "The Holy Spirit
the Church to remain young!" Perhaps
this is it! If we refer more to Him
lives, we also shall remain young and
The secret of eternal youthfulness
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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