From the Pastor
June 4, 2017
Last Day of
Eastertime reaches its grand conclusion on Pentecost. As the Bible notes, the Twelve Apostles [Saint Matthias was already selected to replace the betrayer, Judas] and our Blessed Mother received the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Filled with the energic power of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, the Infant Church took her first steps into the waiting world, and the Church ‘went public.’
The following orations are NOT used at Masses on Pentecost
or its vigil, but they help us better understand and ‘live’ Pentecost
and our responsibility to continue what those who celebrated their ‘Confirmation’ [as we now call it] did 2,000 years ago. The orations come from one of the three sets of ‘Votive Masses for The Holy Spirit’ and may be used at so called ‘Red Masses’
that honor judges or lawyers, and for Masses at the beginning of the school year.
The Holy Spirit – A – Collect
O God, who have taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that in the same Spirit we may be truly wise
and ever rejoice in his consolation.
Through our Lord Jesus … ever and ever.
The Holy Spirit – A – Prayer over the Offerings
Sanctify, we pray, O Lord, the offerings
made here, and cleanse our hearts
by the light of the Holy Spirit.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE HOLY SPIRIT: A GIFT FOR THE HEART.
In a way, we could say all three orations truly get to the ‘heart of the matter.’ For all three highlight the Holy Spirit’s ability to change human hearts. While we ‘see’ our ‘mind’ as the ‘source’ and ‘center’ of our hopes and dreams, the Bible ‘sees’ our ‘heart’ as the pivotal place that determines all we say and do. And while we say we must use our ‘mind’ to get things done, nothing happens until we put our ‘heart’ in to it!
The Collect says the Holy Spirit
teaches us by imbuing our heart with God’s sevenfold gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and the fear of the Lord. The Prayer over the Offerings says the Holy Spirit ‘cleanses‘ or purifies our heart, transforming it into a vessel through which God can work in our world. With our hearts thus ‘taught’ and ‘cleansed,’ God will – and can – “renew the face of the earth” [Psalm 104:30] – through us!
The Holy Spirit – A – Prayer after Communion
May the outpouring of the Holy Spirit cleanse our hearts, O Lord, and make them fruitful
by the inner sprinkling of his dew.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
“LIKE THE DEWFALL.” In the desert, water is very scarce; rare rain or snowstorms bring much needed water, but the little water such parched lands receive mysteriously ‘falls’ as dew. Unlike falling rain or snow, falling dew is invisible and undetectable; no one sees the actual ‘dewfall’ – but we do see – and feel – its results. This makes ‘dewfall’ the perfect ‘image’ for the Holy Spirit, whom we cannot ‘see’ – but whose presence and action we can ‘see’ and ‘feel.’
The Bible uses the term ‘dewfall’ in describing how God fed Israel on her 40-year desert journey to the Promised Land: each morning, when the dew evaporated, the dew flakes were collected and kneaded into ‘manna’ or ‘bread from heaven.’ [See Exodus 15:4-15] The Bible also uses the dew that wets the ground every morning as a sign of God’s faithfulness, forgiveness and mercy: Lamentations 3:22-24; Isaiah 45:8; Proverbs 3:20; and Hosea 14:6.
No wonder the revised Roman Missal translation restored what was omitted from the original Latin text in the former Sacramentary. Where we once heard, “Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy…”
we now hear “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall.” [Eucharistic Prayer II]
Hopefully the more we learn the reasons for what was changed, and the Church’s intent in the words she uses to hand on these sacred mysteries, the more we will appreciate, with wonder and awe, the spiritual gifts that have been entrusted to us. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. And kindle in them the fire of your love.
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS