Pentecost is the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, that is, on the Church. It is the Holy Spirit illuminating the Church, vivifying souls and establishing his abode in them.
Before ascending to heaven, Jesus Christ had recommended to his apostles that they retire to the upper room and there await the coming of the Holy Spirit. Obeying the Master, the Apostles remained in Jerusalem and began to pray with Mary, Mother of Jesus, with the disciples and the holy women, waiting for the Holy Spirit, who descended on them all, nine days after the Ascension.
Collected in the Upper Room by order of the Savior, Peter and his companions meditated on the Master’s last words. Should they, poor, illiterate, ignorant, preach the Gospel? Should they, despised by the Jews, present to the worship of the world that Cross, on which their Master had just expired? Wasn’t that trying the impossible?
“Suddenly, a noise came from the sky like a strong wind, which filled the house where they were. Then there appeared tongues as of fire, which separated and came to rest on each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit inspired them.”
The Work of the Holy Spirit
The work of the Holy Spirit in the souls of the Apostles was a transformation that took place in their spirit, will, and heart.
The spirit needs truth, the will needs courage, and the heart needs love.
He really fills them. Jesus had taught them the truths, which involved their disposition, their ability, their needs, but he reserved the crowning of their work for the Holy Spirit. That is why the Apostles, by the coming of the Holy Spirit, understood better what Jesus had taught them, acquired the new sciences, which their new position as Doctors and propagandists of the Church demanded.
The second transformation was that of your will. Until then this will was languid, without resistance or firmness. Saint Peter knew how to give his cry of energy, however, at the first opportunity of danger, his will wavered, and it turned into a weakness that reached the point of cowardice. We know very well the weakness of the Apostles. They were full of goodwill and sincerity, but they were all vacillating, fearful, lacking energy.
After Pentecost, none of this fear exists. They preach everywhere, and to the leaders of the Jews, who try to frighten them with threats and punishments, they respond without hesitation: We cannot be silent! And they are not silent: they speak before princes, kings, governors and before the Sanhedrin, with inspired pride, and they rejoice to be able to suffer in the name of Jesus.
The third transformation is that of love. The Apostles loved the divine Master, there was no doubt, but how selfish was that love! Behold, the Holy Spirit, in the form of tongues of fire, breathes upon them and their hearts burn with love and they begin to preach everywhere. This love, deposited by God in the hearts of the Apostles, produces the flames that burn the hearts of the children of the Catholic Church until the end of time.
How we need the feast of Pentecost, for these same transformations to take place in us. We are as vacillating in spirit as in will and love. We need religious conviction, light for the spirit, to better understand the grandeur, beauty and necessity of religious truths.
We need firmness for our will weakened by the worldly environment in which we live. Ill-will, the plaything of occasions, dangers, ideas of despondency and sadness; she wants to react and act, but she feels paralyzed by the weight of temptations, the world, the flesh and the devil.
We need love, that noble and pure love, which does not selfishly seek its own fulfillment or the satisfaction of its desires, but simply seeks to please the one it loves.
To love is to give, not to be selfish. Giving yourself is forgetting yourself, to please the one you love. Let us implore the Holy Spirit to descend on us, as he descended on the Apostles, and work in us the same transformations. Let us note that this grace was granted to the Apostles, who persevered in prayer, together with the Mother of Jesus;
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
The Church reserves a sequence for the day of Pentecost, a beautiful prayer for Holy Mass, it is the oldest prayer to the Holy Spirit.
Come Holy Spirit and from heaven send a ray of light.
Come father of the poor giver of gifts, light of hearts.
Great defender in us, you dwell and comfort us.
In fatigue you are resting, in ardor you are meekness and in pain you are tenderness.
O blissful light, may your radiance fill hearts.
Without its power in any living being there is nothing innocent.
Wash the unclean and water the dry, heal the sick.
Double the hardness, warm the cold, release from the deviation.
To your faithful who pray with vibrant sounds, give the seven gifts.
Give virtue and reward and at the end of days eternal joy. Amen.