May 15, 2016
A Blessed Pentecost Sunday to all!
“PENTECOST IS the seal and perfection of the mystery of Easter. If Easter is baptism, Pentecost is confirmation. Easter gives us a new birth; Pentecost brings us to maturity. At Pentecost we reach our full stature, we are brought to maturity. At Pentecost we reach our full stature, we are brought to man’s estate, to perfection by the power of the Holy Ghost. The baptism of the Spirit prepares us for heroic deeds, sanctifies our thoughts, purifies our motives. It makes us perfect Christians.” (Father Benedict Baur, O.S.B., The Light of the World, Volume 1, pp. 574-576.) [Quoted here.]
For a Pentecost Q and A, go here.
Pope St. Leo the Great wrote of the mystery of the Holy Ghost:
The three Persons in the Trinity are perfectly equal in all things. But although, dearly-beloved, the actual form of the thing done was exceeding wonderful, and undoubtedly in that exultant chorus of all human languages the Majesty of the Holy Spirit was present, yet no one must think that His Divine substance appeared in what was seen with bodily eyes. For His Nature, which is invisible and shared in common with the Father and the Son, showed the character of His gift and work by the outward sign that pleased Him, but kept His essential property within His own Godhead: because human sight can no more perceive the Holy Ghost than it can the Father or the Son. For in the Divine Trinity nothing is unlike or unequal, and all that can be thought concerning Its substance admits of no diversity either in power or glory or eternity. And while in the property of each Person the Father is one, the Son is another, and the Holy Ghost is another, yet the Godhead is not distinct and different; for whilst the Son is the Only begotten of the Father, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, not in the way that every creature is the creature of the Father and the Son, but as living and having power with Both, and eternally subsisting of That Which is the Father and the Son.
On the beautiful ancient customs of Pentecost, Fish eaters reports:
The “Veni Sancte Spiritus” Sequence at today’s Mass, which comes right after the Epistle, includes the words, “Heal our wounds, our strength renew, on our dryness pour thy dew.” From this comes the custom, thought to bring blessings, of walking barefoot through the dew on Whitsunday morning. (Another custom, though one rarely practiced anymore, is “cheese rolling” by which people would race to see who could roll round cheeses downhill the fastest. This is — or at least was — done in England and Germany).
The Dove — the form the Holy Ghost took at Christ’s Baptism — is the primary symbol of the day. In medieval times, there even used to be “Holy Ghost Holes” in the roofs of some churches from which a dove — real or a model — would be lowered over the congregation as trumpets sounded or the choir mimicked the sounds of rustling winds. When the dove descended, red rose petals or, incredibly, pieces of burning straw symbolizing the “tongues of flame” in Acts would shower down.
In medieval times, families in many parts of Europe would suspend a carved and painted wooden dove over their dining table. Such a custom could be easily revived for the throughout the Octave of the Pentecost — and imagine that dining room table covered with a white tablecloth, sprinkled with red rose petals, and with a vase of columbine at its center.
On this day, as on 1 January, a plenary indulgence can be acquired, under the usual conditions, by reciting the “Veni, Creator Spiritus” (Come, Holy Spirit), a prayer attributed to Rabanus Maurus (A.D. 776-856). It is prayed during the liturgy today.