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Reliving Pentecost

A reflection on Pentecost

If we were to conduct a survey of what Pentecost means to Catholics, we would likely receive a number of replies. Some would say that we start a new liturgical season after Pentecost, since we end the Easter season. Others would tell you that we celebrate the birth of the Church, and yet others will talk about how we Christians receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

All these responses would of course be correct. Pentecost is not just a feast day marked on the Catholic calendar. It is truly special, when the Holy Spirit is sent to us by the Father, and the fullness of the Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit is revealed.

If we could physically travel back in time to that one event, what wonders we would experience! Unfortunately, time travel is neither a gift nor a grace that is available to us. But instead of travelling back to Pentecost physically, we could instead travel spiritually to meet the Holy Spirit and experience the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in our everyday, modern lives. Here are two suggestions for this Pentecost.

Receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation

Some of us may remember this as being “sealed by the Holy Spirit” by a priest at church, and might even have thought that it marked the end of Youth Catechism classes! But as the Church explains, those receiving this sacrament really receive a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. We receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and are more able to grow closer to God in our journey here on earth. Of course, this only happens if we fully cooperate with the gifts, and adopt virtues that lead us to holiness. Watch the video below to find out more.

If you have yet to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, contact your Parish Priest about how the sacrament is administered in your parish.

Pray with Scripture

Ignatian Contemplation is one way to pray with scripture, and allows us to engage with the Word of God through our imagination, placing ourselves in the scene of that scripture passage, meeting Jesus and the characters of the Bible, and allowing God to speak to us. Prayer guides are widely available online, but here’s a video that introduces this prayer practice:

When placing ourselves in the scripture on Pentecost, we may want to ask ourselves about what the room looked like, what the atmosphere was like since there were many Jews of different nations gathered in the city at the time, and even what the apostles were like. In fact, in sitting among them in this contemplation, you might even imagine their interactions and conversations among them. Here's a short video on the apostles' personalities:

Pentecost: John 14:15-16,23-26

When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’

Need help with Ignatian Contemplation? Consider Spiritual Direction with a trained Spiritual Director who accompanies you on your spiritual journey. More information is available at this link.

However you choose to celebrate this week of Pentecost, we pray that the Holy Spirit will be with you in all that you do!

Brian Ooi, Montfortian Gabrielite Associates


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