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On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Opening Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit! Come fill my heart with your virtues, especially faith, hope, and love. Pour yourself into me so I can pour your love out to others.
- Breath of Life: Pentecost is the birthday of our mother, the Church. The Church began on this very day when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and Mary. Pentecost is the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. Today we hear how the Holy Spirit was breathed into the Church, making it the living body of Christ. Just as God breathed life into Adam (Genesis 2:7), Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into the body of the Church. At Pentecost, “a noise like a strong driving wind…filled the entire house in which they were” (Acts 2:2). This wind is associated with the Holy Spirit, the holy breath of God. May we be filled with the breath of life, the Holy Spirit, living and breathing life into us in each moment: “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being” (Job 12:10).
- Sealed with the Holy Spirit: The same Holy Spirit that the Apostles and Mary received in the upper room is the same Holy Spirit we receive in Baptism. We are sealed with this same Holy Spirit at Confirmation. The Church teaches, “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed” (CCC 1285). God sealed us with his Spirit for a purpose: to bring his love and mercy to others. The Apostles, and through their succession priests through the ages, received God’s breath and were given the authority to forgive sins and all their priestly duties. The rest of the baptized are called to spread the faith by proclaiming the Gospel and building up Christ’s Kingdom. I can ask myself if I am living up to this call.
- Divinized Vessels: At Pentecost, we can recall that “the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9). The sacraments change us; Christ himself working through them makes us divinized vessels of his presence. By his grace, we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). The Catechism teaches: “As fire transforms into itself everything it touches, so the Holy Spirit transforms into the divine life whatever is subjected to his power” (CCC 1127). We receive God’s Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation. We receive his Body, Blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist. How could we remain unchanged? This Spirit we have been anointed and sealed with allows us to love and serve others in his name. This love is not our own love, but God’s: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, thank you for filling me with your Holy Spirit. I am in awe that you want to share your divine life with me. Fill me with your love and life so that I am a fruitful servant. Help me to build your Kingdom using the gifts you have given me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will prayerfully consider how I have lived up to my mission to build your Kingdom, a mission which was sealed in my Confirmation. I will ask how you would like to lead me to spread and defend your Church.
For Further Reflection: Read the short work Deification and Grace by Dr. Daniel A. Keating. Here is more information on Dr. Keating, including links to his works.
Carey Boyzuck is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and lay member of Regnum Christi. She blogs at www.word-life-light.com.