Breath of God: A Pentecost Reflection

By Fr. Mike Boutin - May 25, 2009
Photo: Mildorfer, 1750s

Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place. Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.

Now they were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the sky. When this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because everyone heard them speaking in his own language. They were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Behold, aren't all these who speak Galileans?

How do we hear, everyone in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speaking in our languages the mighty works of God!" They were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, "What does this mean?" (Acts 2:1-13)
Take a minute and listen to the hymn "Veni Creator Spiritus"

Have you ever sat by a campfire warming yourself on a cool fall evening or cuddled in front of the fireplace with your beloved? Fire is gentle, warming, hypnotic....Unless of course, it's the California wildfires ravaging acres of homes and threatening lives...

Have you ever been tickled by a gentle wind or a soft cooling breeze on a summer night? The wind is refreshing, and playful, and calming....Unless, of course, it's the wind of a tornado or a hurricane that destroys the shoreline, and ruins crops, and threatens people's livelihood....

The fire and wind of the Pentecost event is the breath of the Risen One's Spirit, which fills the world and animates the Church: sometimes gently caressing us in love, making us smile at God's goodness, or bringing us unity and strength. But sometimes, that same Spirit challenges us to change, to die to self, to let go, to trust....and sometimes, that Spirit who breathes over the face of the new Creation is relentless...pursuing us down the labyrinthine ways of our heart, until the Spirit renews the face of the earth. Now pray:

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

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