COME HOLY SPIRIT ENLIGHTEN THE HEARTS OF THE FAITHFUL, KINDLE IN THEM THE FIRE OF THY LOVE

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There is some sense to calling Pentecost the birthday of the Church, but it can be somewhat glib.

You might say that the Church was born when Christ was born, or when water and blood, Baptism and Eucharist, flowed from Christ’s side on the Cross. You might even say that the Church was born with Adam and Eve and came to maturity when Jesus, the new Adam, and his mother Mary, the new Eve, greeted each other in the unrecorded instant before the break of Easter dawn. What we can say with precision is that on Pentecost the bond of love between the Eternal Father and the Eternal Son filled the Church. When Christ prayed  the night before he died, he spoke of that unifier which is the Holy Spirit: “I made known to them your name, and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them” (John 17:26).

The Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI is to put to work the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are given in Confirmation: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They give life to the Seven Holy Virtues and defeat the Seven Deadly Sins. He who has never been tempted by those sins would be an oyster or a rock rather than a human.

Perhaps the most underestimated sin is sloth. It is not simple laziness: sloth is spiritual apathy that dampens ardor for serving God in our short lifespan. An example of this is an individual who recently complained about Pope Francis canonizing the 813 martyrs of Otranto,[ who were killed by Muslims ] since it might be taken as an affront to Islam. We cannot pretend that they were martyred by wild Methodists brandishing water pistols, but the real problem is that slothful souls cannot understand why anyone would give one’s life for Christ.

Rather,  Pope Francis said, “As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and that he give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good.”

In our corner of the Church, which is New York, sloth is more subtle than heresy or blasphemy or wrath. Notwithstanding all the good things in our archdiocese, it is significantly below many other areas of our nation in attendance at Holy Mass and in priestly vocations. This is not what one would expect of a people filled with the Holy Spirit. With the beauty of worship in our parish, and the springtime of vocations exemplified by two of our young men being ordained this month, we too may risk becoming smug, a condition as ugly as it sounds, forgetting that there is much more to do. “Come Holy Spirit. Enlighten the hearts of your faithful people.” 

– Father George W. Rutler  

  

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
This entry was posted in FREEDOM OF RELIGION, INTOLERANCE, JESUS CHRIST, LORD AND CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, MAN, MUSLIMS, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, POPE FRANCIS, RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION, SANCTITY, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, WITNESS TO THE TRUTH. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to COME HOLY SPIRIT ENLIGHTEN THE HEARTS OF THE FAITHFUL, KINDLE IN THEM THE FIRE OF THY LOVE

  1. Curt Stoller says:

    On this Holy Feast of Pentecost I feel as though I need to look at my life soberly and acknowledge or try to acknowledge, with the grace of God, how I am almost infinitely far from what God wishes me to be and not just in obvious ways. If I could just be truthful enough with myself to see that my own mediocre faith, hope and charity and my own lackluster and lukewarm life also contribute to the evil in the world which I fight against with my lips. How do I, by not allowing God to fully work through me; how do I bear some responsibility for the doctor who becomes an abortionist and the girl who seeks to kill her own child? Of course I can say they have their freewill and it is true. But I cannot hide from my own part of evil in the world. I squander the precious moments God gives me and each squandered moment adds a brick of hate or indifference which should be a brick of love. I also have a hand in a world where some become mass murderers and serial killers. And that has to sink in and not in a sense of my false humility which is just perhaps the most monstrous face of pride.

    My life is subterfuge after subterfuge of excuses, like layer after layer on the skin of an onion. I neither walk without presumption nor without despair, sometimes alternating between the two like a schizophrenic pendulum. When I point my finger at others, I do not see that three of my fingers are pointed back at me. How quickly am I drawn to subtle distinctions and casuistry. How quick I am to explain away the hard sayings of Jesus mostly as they apply to me. My faith and hope is that my High Priest whose words spoken from the Cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” is my Judge at the Last Judgement because I have slept many peaceful nights while my brothers and sisters have gone to bed with hungry and thirst stomachs and I have walked past Lazarus many and many times. Even my words today are filled with false humility and smug pride. “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. Bring all souls to Heaven especially those most in need of Thy mercy!”

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