“I will ask the Father, and He will send you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth” (John 14: 16-17).
Today, we rejoice in the great celebration of Pentecost! The Catholic Church was born from the side of Christ’s wounded Heart on the Cross, but she received her visible mission to the world on Pentecost day when the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, came upon the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the other disciples gathered in the upper room waiting for Him. Immediately, the courage and strength of the Holy Spirit filled the Apostles and transformed them from men of fear and insecurity to men of strength and grace. This transformation should not be surprising because Pentecost was a Jewish grain feast in which the corn, the last crop to ripen, was offered to God in thanksgiving. In the same way, the Apostles now reached maturity in God’s harvest, as it were, and they were impelled by the Holy Spirit to go out into the whole world now and proclaim Jesus’ truth, His Good News (see Matthew 28: 19-20). Today, we are the beneficiaries of Jesus’ truth that has not changed in two thousand years!
Who is the Holy Spirit, therefore? As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends His Son, He always sends His Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable” (no. 743). He is known by hundreds of titles, and His primary mission is to sanctify each of us. He makes us holy as Jesus Christ is holy as the eternal Son of God. By adoption, we are made divine as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are divine by their very nature. In short, the Holy Spirit is actively working for each of us constantly to see that we remain in the life of Jesus Himself. The more that we take on the likeness of Jesus, the more the Father is pleased with us and promises us eternal union within His family, the Trinity. Eternal life within God’s very household is the destiny offered to us beginning in Baptism. The Holy Spirit then strengthens and nourishes this divine life within us through the sacraments of the Catholic Church. As the Church is the living Body of Christ in this world, so every living body needs a soul to animate it. The Holy Spirit is the soul, as it were, of the Catholic Church serving our daily sanctification.
Yet, it is difficult to imagine the Holy Spirit. He does not speak with His own voice in the Scriptural texts like we hear from Jesus and even God the Father at certain points in the Gospels. What does He sound like and what does He look like? Because He is a Spirit, the Holy Ghost does not have a bodily form but He is a distinct Person of the Trinity. In a very real way, each one of us is to be the voice and the image of the Holy Spirit! We should be so united to Him and connected with His mission that He wants to accomplish in us every day that when people encounter us, they should be encountering the presence of the Holy Spirit. That is why He has so many titles: no one title can fully encapsulate Him because His mission to build up the Body of Christ through faithful believers is so varied. Yet, the Holy Spirit unites us in the one Body of Christ through a great multiplicity of different gifts, charisms, and inspirations. On this Pentecost Sunday, may we respond readily to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, Who leads us to all truth and grace in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Himself.
May you have a most blessed and holy week!
Fr. Shawn William Cutler
LITANY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Divine Essence, one true God, have mercy on us.
Spirit of truth and wisdom, have mercy on us.
Spirit of holiness and justice, have mercy on us.
Spirit of understanding and counsel, have mercy on us.
Spirit of love and joy, have mercy on us.
Spirit of peace and patience, have mercy on us.
Spirit of longanimity and meekness, have mercy on us.
Spirit of benignity and goodness, have mercy on us.
Love substantial of the Father and the Son, have mercy on us.
Love and life of saintly souls, have mercy on us.
Fire ever-burning, have mercy on us.
Living water to quench the thirst of hearts, have mercy on us.
From all evil, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From all impurity of soul and body, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From all gluttony and sensuality, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From all attachments to the things of the earth, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From all hypocrisy and pretense, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From all imperfections and deliberate faults, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From our own will, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From slander, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From deceiving our neighbors, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From our passions and disorderly appetites, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From our inattentiveness to Your holy inspirations, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From despising little things, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From debauchery and malice, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From love of comfort and luxury, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From wishing to seek or desire anything other than You, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
From everything that displeases You, deliver us, O Holy Spirit.
Most loving Father, forgive us.
Divine Word, have pity on us.
Holy and Divine Spirit, do not leave us until we are in possession of Your Divine Life, O Heaven of heavens.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, send us the Divine Consoler.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, fill us with the gifts of Your Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, make the fruits of the Holy Spirit increase within us.
V. Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful,
R. And enkindle in them the fire of Your love.
V. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created,
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us Pray:
O God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructed the hearts of the faithful, grant us by the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.