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Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just; more desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold, sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb. (Psalm 19:10-11)

Matthew, Chapter 1, verse 19-20:
19 Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 20 Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.

Even righteous people become afraid at times but Mark Shea a catholic writer points out that Joseph being a devote Jew may have had Holy fear as the basis of his being afraid.

”Modernity assumes it was because he thought her guilty of adultery, but the typical view in antiquity understood the text to mean he was afraid of her sanctity — as a pious Jew would be afraid to touch the Ark of the Covenant. After all, think of what Mary told him about the angel's words: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."[1]

We should follow the example of Joseph and be not afraid to take Mary into our home!

I know one small way I have taken Mary in my home is to silently say a Hail Mary when I wash my hands to eat-praying, “Mary help me not to wash your son’s blood from my hands as Pilot did.  Help me to have no innocent blood on my hands. Let me not wash off responsibility for others.

Pentecost[2]

What is Pentecost? The solemn anniversary of the day on which the Holy Ghost came down, under the appearance of fiery tongues, upon Mary the Mother of Jesus, and His apostles and disciples, who were assembled in prayer at Jerusalem. To express her joy at the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Church sings, at the Introit of the Mass, The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole earth, alleluia, and that which containeth all things, hath knowledge of the voice, alleluia, alleluia. Let God arise, and His enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Him fly before His face.

Why does the Church celebrate this day so solemnly? To praise and thank God for sending the Holy Ghost, Who gave so many spiritual graces and fruits to men.

Why did the Holy Ghost appear under visible signs? It was done to attract attention, and to indicate outwardly what took place inwardly. The roar of the mighty wind, according to the language of the prophets, pointed to the approaching Godhead, and was intended to announce something extraordinary. The appearance of tongues signified the gift of languages, and the division of them the difference of gifts imparted by the Holy Ghost. The fire which lightens, warms, and quickly spreads, denoted the love of God, the power and joy with which the apostles, and mankind through them, should be filled, and indicated the rapid extension of Christianity.

What were the effects of the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles? Being enlightened and made acquainted with all truth, freed from all fear and faint-hearted ness, and undaunted, the apostles preached everywhere Christ crucified, and for love of Him endured with joy all sufferings. Their discourses were understood by all present, as if they had carefully learned each particular language. From that time Christianity spread with wonderful rapidity throughout the whole world. Pray the Holy Ghost to-day to enlighten you also, to inflame you with holy love, and to give you strength daily to increase in all goodness.

Why is the Holy Ghost called a spirit, and the Holy Spirit? Because He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is as it were, the Spirit of the Father and the Son.

What does the Holy Ghost effect in men? He renews their hearts, by cleansing them from sin, by imparting to them the sanctification and likeness to God gained through Christ, together with all these supernatural gifts and graces by which they can become holy and happy, and brings forth in them wonderful fruits of sanctity.

Which are these gifts of the Holy Ghost? The seven following: 1. The gift of wisdom, which teaches us to value the heavenly more than the earthly, infuses into us a longing for the same, and points out to us the right means to salvation. 2. The gift of understanding, which enlightens us to rightly understand the mysteries and doctrines of our holy religion. 3. The gift of counsel in doubtful cases, which enables us to know what to do or omit, and what to advise others. This gift is particularly necessary for superiors, for those who are changing their state of life, and for those who are entangled in perplexing and unfortunate marriage relations. 4. The gift of fortitude, which banishes all timidity and human respect, strengthens a man to hate sin, and steadfastly to practice virtue; preferring contempt, temporal loss, persecution, and even death, to denying Christ by word or deed. 5. The gift of knowledge, by which the Holy Ghost enlightens us with an inner light, that we may know ourselves, the snares of self-love, of our passions, of the devil, and of the world, and may choose the fittest means to overcome them. 6. The gift of piety and devotion, which infuses into us veneration for God and divine things, and joy in conversing with Him. 7. The gift of the fear of God, that childlike fear, which dreads no other misfortune than that of displeasing God, and which accordingly, flees sin as the greatest evil.

Which are the fruits of the Holy Ghost? They are the twelve following: 1. Charity. 2. Joy. 3. Peace. 4. Patience. 5. Benignity. 6. Goodness. 7. Longsuffering. 8. Mildness. 9. Faith. 10. Modesty. 11. Continency. 12. Chastity. These fruits should be visible in the Christian, for thereby men shall know that the Holy Ghost dwells in him, as the tree is known by its fruit.

Whit Sunday[3]

Whitsunday or White Sunday? The liturgical color of this Sunday is red in order to recall the tongues of flame that descended on the Apostles. The old English name for Pentecost, Whitsunday, originated from the custom of the newly baptized redonning their white robes for the services of the day. By extension this could also apply to the new Easter clothes worn by the faithful fifty days earlier.
The Dove

 Like Ascension Thursday, Whitsunday was once the occasion for several liturgical eccentricities. Many medieval churches, for example, had a Holy Ghost Hole in the ceiling of the church from which a large blue disk bearing the figure of a white dove would swing slowly down to the congregation during the Mass sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus. Midway through the sequence, the disk would stop and from the Holy Ghost hole would rain symbols of the Spirit: flowers, water, even burning pieces of straw. A practice far less susceptible to excess, on the other hand, is the use of beautifully carved and painted wooden doves in the home. These figures would usually be suspended over the dinner table, and would sometimes be encased in glass, having been assembled entirely from within (much like the wooden ships assembled in bottles). The painstaking effort that went into making these doves serves as a reminder to cherish the adoration of the Holy Spirit.

The Blessed Dew

Though the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is often described in dramatic terms (a mighty wind, tongues of fire, etc.), it is also portrayed in soothing, comforting ways. The Whitsunday sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus, for example, calls the Spirit our "sweet refreshment" (dulcis refrigerium), while the postcommunion prayer, in an allusion to Isaiah 45.8, refers to the "inward sprinkling of His heavenly dew." Hence there arose the charming superstition that the morning dew of Whitsunday is especially good luck. To obtain a blessing, people would walk barefoot through the meadows before Mass and would even feed their animals with bread wiped by the dew.


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