Fr Stefan reflects on reading of day may 12, the Church needs a perennial Pentecost

In the first reading Peter says, ” As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
‘John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?”
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
“God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.” (Acts 11: 1-18)

In the Acts of the Apostles there is more than one Pentecost. Peter recognized that the Holy Spirit fell on the gentiles in the same way that it fell on Peter and the other disciples. How did Peter know that the Holy Spirit fell on them? They were praying in tongues, the house visibly moved. There was exterior evidence that the Holy Spirit descended upon them. 

I remember reading Archbishop Cordes’ book, ‘Born of the Spirit.’ In the book he wrote about the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Cordes explains why it took centuries for Ignatius of Loyola to be canonized. He relates that when Ignatius preached many in the audience experienced what we would classify as charismatic experiences. These things were viewed so suspiciously in the post reformation Church that it took centuries for Ignatius to be canonized. But in truth, what happened in the life of Saint Ignatius is what happened in the first reading. When God gives a spiritual grace He confirms it by a visible sign. Tongues of fire and praying in tongues might be more of the extra ordinary kind but it still proclaims the point. God gives exterior evidence that he has given the Holy Spirit. Why does God do this? God does this because we are both body and soul.

In closing like to quote Paul VI from his November 29, 1972 address, “The Church needs her perennial Pentecost; she needs fire in her heart, words on her lips, prophecy in her glance…This is what the Church needs. She needs the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in us, in each of us, and in all of us together, in us who are the Church…So let all of you ever say to him, “Come.”

Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts and bodies of your faithful.


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