“The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and it is the divine Person who spreads in the world the possibility of imitating Christ, giving Christ to the world and making him live in us.
Christians initially called Pentecost, the period of fifty days after Easter. Apparently, it was Tertullian, a Christian apologist (155-220), the first to speak of it as a special feast in honor of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the 4th century, Pentecost was a solemn feast, during which baptism was conferred on those who had not been able to receive it during the Easter vigil. The apostolic constitutions testify to the Pentecost Octave for the East, while in the West it appears in the Carolingian age.
The liturgical octave was preserved until 1969; while the feast days of Pentecost were instead reduced in 1094, to the first three days of the week; reduced to two by eighteenth-century reforms.
ON WHICH OCCASIONS IS THE HOLY SPIRIT INVOKED?
In the conferral of the Sacraments, in particular in Baptism and Confirmation and with solemn liturgy in the Holy Order; and more generally in any liturgical ceremony or particularly important occasion, such as the beginning of the Conclave to elect the Pope, where he implores divine help.
The prayer of invocation is contained in the magnificent and suggestive hymn of the Veni Creator, attributed to the archbishop of Mainz Rabano Mauro and dating back to the 9th century. It is a hymn that combines prayer, meditation and invocation.
What is Pentecost?
Pentecost is the solemn anniversary of the day on which the Holy Ghost came down, under the appearance of fiery tongues, upon Mary the Mother of Jesus, and His apostles and disciples, who were assembled in prayer at Jerusalem.
To express her joy at the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Church sings, at the Introit of the Mass, “The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole earth, alleluia, and that which containeth all things, hath knowledge of the voice, alleluia, alleluia” (Wis.i.7). “Let God arise, and His enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Him fly before His face.” Glory be to the Father, etc.
O God, Who on this day didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that we may be truly wise in the same Spirit, and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, etc.
EPISTLE. Acts 2:1-11.
And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: 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 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, Galileans? 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.
Why does the Church celebrate this day so solemnly?
To praise and thank God for sending the Holy Ghost, Who gave so many spiritual graces and fruits to men.
Why did the Holy Ghost appear under visible signs?
It was done to attract attention, and to indicate outwardly what took place inwardly. The roar of the mighty wind, according to the language of the prophets, pointed to the approaching Godhead, and was intended to announce something extraordinary. The appearance of tongues signified the gift of languages, and the division of them the difference of gifts imparted by the Holy Ghost. The fire which lightens, warms, and quickly spreads, denoted the love of God, the power and joy with which the apostles, and mankind through them, should be filled, and indicated the rapid extension of Christianity.
What were the effects of the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles?
Being enlightened and made acquainted with all truth, freed from all fear and faint-heartedness, and undaunted, the apostles preached everywhere Christ crucified, and for love of Him endured with joy all sufferings. Their discourses were understood by all present, as if they had carefully learned each particular language. From that time Christianity spread with wonderful rapidity throughout the whole world. Pray the Holy Ghost to-day to enlighten you also, to inflame you with holy love, and to give you strength daily to increase in all goodness.
GOSPEL. John 14:23–31.
Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard, is not mine; but the Father’s who sent me. These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe. I will not now speak many things with you. For the prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not any thing. But that the world may know, that I love the Father: and as the Father hath given me commandment, so do I: Arise, let us go hence.
Why is the Holy Ghost called a spirit, and the Holy Spirit?
Because He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is, as it were, the Spirit of the Father and the Son.
What does the Holy Ghost effect in men?
He renews their hearts, by cleansing them from sin, by imparting to them the sanctification and likeness to God gained through Christ, together with all these supernatural gifts and graces by which they can become holy and happy, and brings forth in them wonderful fruits of sanctity.
Which are these gifts of the Holy Ghost?
The seven following:
1. The gift of wisdom, which teaches us to value the heavenly more than the earthly, infuses into us a longing for the same, and points out to us the right means to salvation.
2. The gift of understanding, which enlightens us to rightly understand the mysteries and doctrines of our holy religion.
3. The gift of counsel in doubtful cases, which enables us to know what to do or omit, and what to advise others. This gift is particularly necessary for superiors, for those who are changing their state of life, and for those who are entangled in perplexing and unfortunate marriage relations.
4. The gift of fortitude, which banishes all timidity and human respect, strengthens a man to hate sin, and steadfastly to practise virtue; preferring contempt, temporal loss, persecution, and even death, to denying Christ by word or deed.
5. The gift of knowledge, by which the Holy Ghost en lightens us with an inner light, that we may know ourselves, the snares of self-love, of our passions, of the devil, and of the world, and may choose the fittest means to overcome them.
6. The gift of piety and devotion, which infuses into us veneration for God and divine things, and joy in conversing with Him.
7. The gift of the fear of God, that childlike fear, which dreads no other misfortune than that of displeasing God, and which accordingly flees sin as the greatest evil.
Which are the fruits of the HolyGhost?
They are the following twelve:
- Long suffering.
These fruits should be visible in the Christian, for thereby men shall know that the Holy Ghost dwells in him, as the tree is known by its fruit.