Thought for the Day – 5 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Feast of Pentecost
“What kind of men were the Apostles before the Miracle of Pentecost?” They were rough men of the people, generous and fond of Jesus perhaps but ignorant, timid and ambitious. They were hoping for personal glory in an earthly kingdom. Then came the catasrophe of Calvary. Their simple trust disappeared and left their hearts filled with regret. “Then all the disciples left Him and fled” (Mt 25:56). It seemed to them that Jesus had failed, so they deserted Him!
The Miracle of the Resurrection restored their faith. But, they were still lacking in courage and enterprise.
They gathered together in the Cenacle to pray and shut themselves up there, for fear of the Jews. But before He had ascended into Heaven, Jesus had promised that He would send the Holy Spirit, to enlighten them concerning His teaching and to give them the courage and ability to spread it, throughout the world. Now this promise was fulfilled. On the feast of Pentecost, which was fifty days after that of the Passover, there was a sudden sound from Heaven, “as of a violent wind blowing.” Then there appeared “tongues of fire, which settled upon each of them” (Acts 2:1).
From the moment when they received the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were utterly transformed! Their intellects were filled with a supernatural light, their hearts were overflowing with love and their wills received the Divine strength to withstand human opposition. They left the Cenacle and began to preach openly, the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Their words sounded in the ears of each listener as if they were spoken in his own language, so that the Light of the Gospel, was given to all. Nor did the men show the slightest fear when they had to face the anger of the Synagogue and of the Jewish people. Like peaceful conquerors, without any human weapons but backed by by the power of God, they divided the world amongst themselves, so that they might win it for Christ!
The Roman Empire was small to them. They travelled, moreover, to the distant shores of Ethiopia and India, where the Eagle of Rome had never found its way!
Surely, this is the most extraordinary Miracle of history?!
The Holy Spirit accomplished that which human armies had never been able to do, save in part or for a limited period of time. In this achievement, He used the weakest possible human means, namely, twelve poor fishermen!
The earthly Empire of Rome, passed away but the Spiritual domain of Christ still remains, with its centre at Rome, as the only true Light, the only unfailing hope and the only pledge of salvation for individuals and nations.
Quote/s of the Day – 5 June – Pentecost Sunday, Alleluia! – Acts 2:1-11, John 14:23-31.
“His action is preceded by the beaming rays of His light and knowledge. He comes with the truth of the real Protector; for He comes to save, to lead, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console, to illumine in the first place the mind of the person who receives Him and through that person‘s works, the minds of others.”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (c 313-386) Father and Doctor of theChurch
“He pours light into our minds, arouses our desire and gives us strength… As the soul is the life of the body, so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.”
St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Father and Doctor of the Church
“A soul, that possesses the Holy Spirit, tastes such sweetness, in prayer, that it finds the time, always too short, it never loses, the holy presence of God.”
“The Holy Spirit forms thoughts and suggests words, in the hearts of the just.”
“The Holy Spirit is like a gardener, cultivating our souls.”
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
Nunc, Sancte, nobis Spiritus Come, Holy Ghost, Who ever One By St Ambrose (340-397) Trans John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Trans 1836
Come, Holy Ghost, Who ever One Art with the Father and the Son. Come, Holy Ghost, our souls possess With Thy full flood of holiness.
In will and deed, by heart and tongue, With all our powers, Thy praise be sung. And love light up our mortal frame, Till others catch the living flame.
Almighty Father, hear our cry Through Jesus Christ our Lord most high, Who with the Holy Ghost and Thee Doth live and reign eternally.
One Minute Reflection – 5 June – Pentecost Sunday, Alleluia! – Acts 2:1-11, John 14:23-31.
“But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things … ” – John 14:26
REFLECTION – “Whoever has the Spirit as their teacher has no need of human knowledge but, enlightened by this Spirit’s Light, beholds the Son, sees the Father and worships the Trinity of Persons, the One God, Who is inexpressibly One by nature.
Stand still, O man! Tremble, you who are mortal by nature, and consider how you have been taken from nothing and how, in coming from your mother’s womb, you saw the world that was made before you were. And if you could have understood the height of Heaven, or show the nature of the sun, the moon and the stars, where they are fixed and how they move… or even the nature of the earth, from which you were taken, its limits and bounds, its size and greatness…, if you had uncovered the end of all things and counted the sand of the sea and if, too, you could have known your own nature… then would you be able to consider your Creator, how, in the Trinity, Unity dwells without confusion and how, in the Unity, there is Trinity without division.
Seek the Spirit!… Perhaps God will comfort you and grant you, as He has already granted you to see the world, the sun and the light of day, yes, He will deign to enlighten you now, in the same way…, to enlighten you with the Light of the Threefold Sun… Then you will learn the Spirit’s grace – that, even when absent, he is present by his power and, when present, He is unseen because of His Divine nature and is everywhere and nowhere.
If you try to see Him with the senses where will you find Him? You will simply say: -Nowhere. But if you have the strength to contemplate Him spiritually, it is He, rather, Who will enlighten your soul and open the eyes of your heart.” – St Simeon the New Theologian (949-1022) Monk, Father (Hymn 21).
PRAYER – O God, Thou, Who on this day have taught the hearts of the faithful by the Light of the Holy Spirit, grant us, by that Holy Spirit Himself, to know what is right and ever to rejoice in His help. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 5 June – Pentecost Sunday, Alleluia!
Veni Sancte Spiritus The Golden Sequence
Come, Holy Spirit and bring from above The splendour of Thy light. Come, Father of the poor, come, Giver of graces, Come, Light of our hearts. Best of Consolers, sweet Guest of the soul, And Comfort of the weary. Thou rest in labour, relief in burning toil, Consoling us in sorrow. O blessed Light, fill the innermost hearts Of those who trust in Thee. Without Thy indwelling, there is nothing in man, And nothing free of sin. Cleanse what is sordid, give water in dryness, And heal the bleeding wounds. Bend what is proud, make warm what is cold, Bring back the wayward soul. Give to the faithful, who trustingly beg Thee Thy seven Holy Gifts. Grant virtue’s reward, salvation in death, And everlasting joy. Amen. Alleluia!
“Veni Sancte Spiritus,” the “Golden Sequence”, is a sequence prescribed in the Roman Liturgy for the Masses of Pentecost and its octave, exclusive of the following Trinity Sunday. It is usually attributed to either the thirteenth-century Pope Innocent III (c 1160 – 1216) or to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Stephen Langton (c 1150 – 1228).
By Servant of God Abbot Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875) – Excerpt Abbot of Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, France.
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle within them, the fire of Thy Love.
The great day, which consummates the work that God had undertaken for the human race, has, at last, shone upon the world. The days of Pentecost, as St Luke says, are accomplished (Acts. ii. 1). We have had seven weeks since the Pasch and now, comes the day, which opens the mysterious number of Fifty. This day is the Sunday, already made holy by the Creation of the Light and by the Resurrection of Jesus – it is about to receive its final consecration and bring us the fullness of God (Eph. iii. 19).
In the Old and figurative Law, God foreshadowed the glory that was to belong, at a future period, to the Fiftieth Day. Israel had passed the waters of the Red Sea, thanks to the protecting power of His Paschal Lamb! Seven weeks were spent in the Desert, which was to lead to the Promised Land and the very morrow of those seven weeks, was the day, whereon was made the alliance between God and His people. The Pentecost (the Fiftieth Day) was honoured by the promulgation of the Ten Commandments of the Divine Law and every following year, the Israelites celebrated the great event by a solemn Festival. But their Pentecost was figurative, like their Pasch, there was to be a second Pentecost for all people, as there was to be a second Pasch for the Redemption of the whole world. The Pasch, with all its triumphant joys, belongs to the Son of God, the Conqueror of death: Pentecost belongs to the Holy Ghost, for it is the day whereon He began His mission into this world, which, henceforward, was to be under His Law.
But, how different are the two Pentecosts! The one, on the rugged rocks of Arabia, amidst thunder and lightning, promulgates a Law that is written on Tablets of Stone; the second is in Jerusalem, on which God’s anger has not as yet been manifested because it still contains, within its walls, the first-fruits of that new people, over whom the Spirit of love is to reign.
In this second Pentecost, the heavens are not overcast, nor is the roar of thunder heard; the hearts of men are not stricken with fear, as when God spake on Sinai; repentance and gratitude, these are the sentiments which are now uppermost. A Divine Fire burns within their souls and will spread throughout the whole world. Our Lord Jesus had said: ‘I am come to cast fire on the earth and what will I, but that it be kindled’ (St. Luke, xii. 49). The hour for the fulfillment of this Word is come: the Spirit of Love, the Holy Ghost, the eternal uncreated Flame, is about to descend from Heaven and realise the merciful design of our Redeemer.
Jerusalem is filled with pilgrims, who have flocked there from every country of the Gentile world: they feel a strange mysterious expectation working in their souls. They are Jews and are come from every foreign land where Israel has founded a Synagogue; they are come to keep the feasts of Pasch and Pentecost. Asia, Africa, and even Rome, have here their representatives. Amidst these Jews, properly so called, are to be seen many Gentiles, who, from a desire to serve God more faithfully, have embraced the Mosaic law and observances; they are called Proselytes. This influx of strangers, who have come to Jerusalem out of a desire to observe the Law, gives the City a Babel-like appearance, for each nation has its own language. They are not, however, under the influence of pride and prejudice, as are the inhabitants of Judea; neither have they, like these latter, known and rejected the Messias, nor blasphemed His Works, whereby He gave testimony of His Divine Character. It may be that they took part with the other Jews in clamouring for Jesus’ death but they were led to it by the Chief Priests and Magistrates of the Jerusalem, which they reverenced as the holy City of God and to which nothing but religious motives have brought them.
It is the hour of Tierce, the third hour of the day (Our nine o’clock. Acts, ii. 15), fixed from all eternity, for the accomplishment of a Divine Decree. It was at the hour of midnight, that the Father sent into this world, that He might take flesh in Mary’s womb, the Son, eternally begotten of Himself: so now, at this hour of Tierce, the Father and Son, send upon the earth the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from them both. He is sent to form the Church, the Spouse and Kingdom of Christ; He is to assist and maintain her; He is to save and sanctify the souls of men and this, His Mission, is to continue unto the end of time. Suddenly is heard, coming from heaven, the sound of a violent wind: it startles the people in the City, it fills the Cenacle with its mighty breath. A crowd is soon round the house that stands on Mount Sion; the hundred and twenty Disciples that are within the building, feel that mysterious emotion within them, of which their Master once said: The Spirit breatheth where He will, and thou hearest His voice (St. John, iii. 8). Like that strange invisible creature, which probes the very depth of the sea and makes the waves heave mountains high, this Breath from heaven will traverse the world from end to end, breaking down every barrier that would stay its course.
The holy assembly have been days in fervent expectation; the Divine Spirit gives them this warning of His coming, and they, in the passiveness of extatic longing, await his will. As to them that are outside the Cenacle, and have responded to the appeal thus given, let us, for the moment, forget them. A silent shower falls in the House; it is a shower of Fire, which, as holy Church says, “burns not, but enlightens, consumes not, but shines (Responsory for the Thursday within the Octave).” Flakes of fire, in the shape of tongues, rest on the heads of the hundred and twenty Disciples: it is the Holy Ghost taking possession of all and each. The Church is now, not only in Mary but also in these hundred and twenty Disciples. All belong now to the Spirit that has descended upon them; His Kingdom is begun, it is manifested, its conquests will be speedy and glorious.
But let us consider the symbol chosen to designate this Divine change. He Who showed Himself under the endearing form of a Dove, on the occasion of Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan, now appears under that of Fire. He is the Spirit of Love and love is not only gentle and tender, it is, also, ardent as fire. Now, therefore, that the world is under the influence of the Holy Ghost, it must needs be on fire and the fire shall not be checked. And why this form of Tongues? To show that the Heavenly Fire is to be spread by the word, by speech. These hundred and twenty Disciples need but to speak of the Son of God, made Man and our Redeemer; of the Holy Ghost, Who renews our souls; of the Heavenly Father, Who loves and adopts us as His children; their word will find thousands to believe and welcome it. Those that receive it, shall all be united in one faith; they shall be called the Catholic Church, that is, universal, existing in all places and times. Jesus had said – ‘Go, teach all nations ‘ (St. Matth xxviii. 19)!–the Holy Ghost brings from Heaven, both the tongue that is to teach and the fire, (the love of God and mankind,) which is to give warmth and efficacy to the teaching. This Tongue and Fire are now given to these first Disciples, who, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, will transmit them to others: so will it be to the end of time!
But, in the crowd, there are some who are shocked at witnessing this heavenly enthusiasm of the Apostles. These men, say they, are full of new wine! It is the language of rationalism, explaining away mystery by reason. These Galileans, these drunken men, are, however, to conquer the whole world to Christ, and give the Holy Ghost, with His inebriating unction, to all mankind. The holy Apostles feel that it is time to proclaim the new Pentecost; yes, this anniversary of the Old is a fitting day for the New to be declared. But, in this proclamation of the law of mercy and love, which is to supersede the law of justice and fear, who is to be the Moses? Our Emmanuel, before ascending into heaven, had selected one of the Twelve for the glorious office: it is Peter, the Rock on whom is built the Church. It is time for the Shepherd to show himself, and speak, for the Flock is now to be formed. Let us hearken to the Holy Ghost, Who is about to speak, by his chief organ, to this wondering and attentive multitude. The Apostle, though he speaks in one tongue, is understood by each of his audience, no matter what his country and language may be. The discourse is, of its own-self, a guarantee of the truth and divine origin of the new law.
St Adalar of Erfurt Bl Adalbert Radiouski Bl Adam Arakawa St Austrebertus of Vienne St Claudius of Egypt and Companions St Ðaminh Huyen St Ðaminh Toai St Dorotheus of Tyre St Elleher St Eoban of Utrecht St Eutichius of Como St Evasius of Africa St Felix of Fritzlar
St Franco of Assergi St Genesius, Count of Clermont St Gregory of Lilybaeum St Gundekar St Hadulph St Luke Loan Bl Meinwerk of Paderborn St Privatus of Africa St Sanctius of Córdoba St Tudno of Caernarvon St Waccar
Martyrs of Caesarea: A group of Christians who converted together, were imprisoned together, tortured together, and martyred together. We know nothing more about them but their names – Cyria, Marcia, Valeria and Zenaides. Died Caesarea, Palestine, date unknown.
Martyrs of Egypt: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Galerius Maximian. The only other information was have is three of their names – Apollonius, Marcian and Nicanor. Died in Egypt, date unknown.
Martyrs of Perugia: A group of Christians Martyred together in the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than their names – Cyriacus, Faustinus, Florentius, Julian and Marcellinus. Died beheaded in 250 in Perugia, Italy
Martyrs of Rome: 26 Christians Martyred together. We have no details about them but their names – Candida, Castula, Fappa, Felician, Felicitas (2 of), Felicula, Fortunatus, Gagus, Gregor, Hilarius, Ingenuus, Juliana, Martialis, Maurus, Mustilus, Nicander, Prima, Rogata, Rutianus, Sacrinus, Saturnin, Secundian, Secundus, Urbicus, Victurus. Died • Rome, Italy, date unknown • relics transferred to Antwerp, Belgium, date unknown.