Saturday, June 11, 2011

Praying For a New Pentecost

Reflections on the Readings
Pentecost Sunday
June 12, 2011 - Year A
By Dennis S. Hankins

Praying For a New Pentecost

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance - Acts 2:4 RSV

"A man with an argument is no match for a man with an experience!" my young Pentecostal friend exclaimed. And he really isn't off base either. Think about it. The vital and efficacious truth embedded in the heart is a well of living water springing up with eternal life. We can say without fear of contradiction that Christ Jesus walks with us and talks with us and assures us that we are his very own. It is this that the Holy Spirit animates within you and me. The divine communion with the Holy Trinity that we enjoy interiorly is through the Holy Spirit. And for that there is no effective argument to the contrary.

Praying for a new Pentecost is a prayer for spiritual renewal. At the beginning of the 20th century such a renewal began. It began through prayer meetings at Topeka, Kansas, led by Charles Parham and at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles led by the African-American pastor, William J. Seymour. Wet your appetite with this excerpt from Pastor Seymour's inspiring sermon on the River of Life:

There are many wells today, but they are dry. There are
many hungry souls today that are empty. But let us come
to Jesus and take him at his word and we will find wells of
salvation, and be able to draw waters out of the well of
salvation, for Jesus is that well.

O, how sweet it was to see Jesus, the Lamb of God that takes
away the sin of the world, that great sacrifice that God had
given to a lost, dying, and benighted world, sitting on the
well and talking with the woman; so gentle, so meek and so
kind that it gave her an appetite to talk further with him,
until He got into her secret and uncovered her life. Then she
was pricked in her heart, confessed her sins and received
pardon, cleansing from fornication and adultery, was
washed from stain and guilt of sin and was made a child of
God, and above all, received the well of salvation in her
heart. It was so sweet and joyful and good. Her heart was
so filled with love that she felt she could take in a whole lost
world. So she ran away with a well of salvation...How true
it is in this day, when we get the baptism with the Holy
Spirit, we have something to tell, and it is that the blood
of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. The baptism with the
Holy Ghost gives us power to testify to a risen, resurrected
Saviour. Our affections are in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God
that takes away the sin of the world...

The vision of Blessed John XXIII for Vatican II was that of a New Pentecost in the Church and for the world. He prayed fervently, "Renew your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost." That prayer is waiting for a fuller answer. Perhaps we can pray today for it to be more fully answered in our time and in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist for every thing God does through the Church. Today we welcome the opportunity to be open to his movement - For God sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba, Father!" (Galations 4:6 RSV) The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of his Son, is truly God. Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world...To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals him. (CCC #689) It is this we confess in the creed: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.

Through the Holy Spirit we remember that God is our Father and that he loves us. This cry of the Holy Spirit is real. It is as the interior Master of Christian prayer that he lives in us. (CCC #2672) If we will let him, the Holy Spirit will lead us in our prayer for a New Pentecost. It is a prayer for a new and fresh revelation of the Love of God in the world today. We need this. Our families need this. Our parishes need the spiritual renewal that comes when the breath of God fills our praying hearts and once again we recognize Jesus in the breaking of the Bread.

Come Holy Spirit. Amen.

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