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May pockets brim with Spirit's fires, fruits.

Pentecost continues to be my favorite celebration among all the lovely feasts of the year. The Holy Spirit came upon us at the First Pentecost, the day the church of Christ formally began.

Pentecost (a name that comes from the fact that it happens 50 days after Easter) fascinates, absorbs and inspires me in ways different from and perhaps superior to every other feast.

The coming of the Holy Spirit to the apostles gathered together with Mary in the cenacle is more comprehensible than the Crucifixion or Resurrection. Indeed, Pentecost seems to explain those events since it creates the church that is the voice and vicar of Christ across time and through space.

Pentecost also introduces the Spirit described by Jesus at the Last Supper in such a stunning way. At that time, Jesus said the Holy Spirit will "reveal to your minds everything I have said to you."

Those words of Christ describing the mission of the Holy. Spirit permeate the haunting liturgy and hymns surrounding the feast of Pentecost What a magnificent thing to have the Holy Spirit in our souls and to know he will reveal all the things Christ said to his apostles.

For centuries God revealed himself to his chosen people. For 33 years God was incarnate. But be so wanted us to remember his message that the Holy Spirit, which spirated from the father and the son acting together, is within our souls at all times.

The Holy Spirit, Christ revealed to us, is our Paraclete or our consoler and our advocate; he is a person who, if you will, is our lawyer or attorney. He represents us. We are his clients. He pleads for us, as St. Paul puts it, with "unutterable groanings."

The Holy Spirit makes us the tabernacle of God. We are shrines, temples, holy places. Pentecost reminds us of this in several dramatic ways.

If enough of us understood the mystical message of Pentecost, we could transform the church into a body of people intoxicated with the presence of God. The church would not be a vast autocratic and bureaucratic organization but rather a beautiful entity whose bride is Christ and whose constant companion is the Holy Spirit.

The devotion to the Holy Spirit that permeates medieval Catholicism was lost in the din of the Reformation. Indeed, Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, the modern founder of the Catholic church in England, said the loss by the faithful of their collective belief in the Holy Spirit was one of the major causes of the Reformation.

I learned about the Holy Spirit - almost for the first time - when as a novice I read a splendid book titled The Holy Ghost, by Fr. Edward Leen. A recent rereading demonstrates that despite all of the renewal of Vatican II, the profound place of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian has not been fully recovered.

The first Penteoost energized the apostles in remarkable ways. They preached far and wide, and prepared for the martyrdom that would come to many of them. Christ had told them that the Spirit he would send would reveal "everything I have said to you."

The same spirit that came in tongues of fire at the first Pentecost indwells in a special, intimate way in the souls of the just. What an awesome and transforming truth!

God himself is within - counseling, consoling, teaching, advocating! This, the very heart of the Catholic faith, could make saints, mystics and millions inebriated with God himself.

But the Holy Spirit will not raise his voice or seek to pressure us. If we treat the Spirit with courtesy, we will find on Pentecost the world is again new and dazzling.

We will appreciate the gifts of the Holy Spirit and his 12 fruits. Then we will understand the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit poet, that the Holy Spirit "over the bent world broods with warm breasts and with ah! bright wings."

An ancient piece of Hasidic wisdom says everyone should have two pockets. In the pocket on the left a piece of paper reminds us that "I am only dust and ashes." But in the right pocket a message proclaims: "For me alone the entire universe has been created."
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Title Annotation:Pentecost; Starting Point
Author:Drinan, Robert F.
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Column
Date:May 21, 1993
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