‘Alleluia, the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world. Come let us adore him, alleluia.’ (Invitatory antiphon)
The fifty days of Easter conclude with the celebration of Pentecost Sunday, the day the Holy Spirit first came upon the disciples in the form of tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-11). Hence, fire is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit.
When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he met some disciples who had ‘not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ (Acts 19:2).
One way to identify the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity is to observe its influence on a person. One such person was St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). On the eve of Pentecost 1563, the Holy Spirit appeared to her in the form of a brilliant dove with wings like mother of pearl. She describes this experience in her autobiography. In 1614, the Flemish painter, Peter Paul Rubens painted St Teresa of Avila with ‘the Holy Spirit fluttering over her as a dove’. ‘According to St Teresa and as she experienced in her spiritual life, the function of the Holy Spirit is to transform the person to that marvellous love of God.’(Emmanuel Kaniyamparampil OCD).
St Louise de Marillac (1591-1660) co-foundress of the Daughters of Charity with St Vincent de Paul in 1633, also experienced the Light of the Holy Spirit in a profound way. Louise was a married woman with one son Michel. In 1623, between the Feast of Ascension and Pentecost, Louise was plagued by three doubts which caused her great suffering. One doubt was that she should leave her husband, ‘to have greater liberty to serve God and my neighbour’. Secondly, she doubted her ‘capacity to break the attachment I had for my spiritual director’ and thirdly, ‘the doubt she experienced concerning the immortality of the soul’. Louise wrote, ‘On the Feast of Pentecost, during Holy Mass or while I was praying in the Church, my mind was instantly free of all doubt.’ (SW, A.2) This freedom Louise experienced was a life changing moment for her and also for the life of the Church.
The Gospel proclaimed at Mass today (Jn 20:19-23), may be heard via webcam or read in the New Testament.
This Gospel presents an image of the terrified apostles locked in a room because of their fear of the Jews. In the twinkle of an eye, their fear was turned to joy because Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’. Then he showed them his hands and his side. The apostles were filled with joy because they saw the Lord. A second time, Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then, he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ He gave them the power to forgive sins.
Jesus wanted to give his apostles the gift of joy, peace, and the power to forgive sins when he said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ The gifts were freely given. The disciples were full of joy on seeing the Lord.
We pray on this feast of Pentecost for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the world. May our hearts be open to receive the love, the freedom and the joy of the Holy Spirit.
SEEK THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE GROW AND LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
From Junior Infants/P1 upwards the children are introduced to the person of the Holy Spirit. They gather in prayer to say, ‘In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.’
Children chat with their families about their Baptism and discover how they received the gift of the Holy Spirit and in faith belong to God’s family. The Story of Jesus’ Baptism reveals how the Holy Spirit came on Jesus and acted in his life.
Through the loving experiences of their own lives, they gradually recognise that the Holy Spirit is the One who teaches them to love, to pray and live like Jesus.
The Holy Spirit prompts a person to love God, themselves, one another and the environment. Exploration of the lives of saints and Christian heroes/heroines help the children to identify people who lived lives of holiness.
By reciting the Apostle’s Creed, children state their belief in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
During the celebration of the Eucharist, the assembly are invited to pray for peace, a fruit of the Holy Spirit; and they offer one another a sign of peace. The Holy Spirit helps to bring reconciliation and unity. They recognise that, at the Consecration, which happens during the Eucharistic Prayer, how ordinary bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, through the action of the Holy Spirit.
In identifying the events of the life of Jesus, his Passion, Death and Resurrection; children hear of Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit to the apostles on his return to the Father. Jesus fulfills the promise. He remains with them always.
After Pentecost, in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:41-47), children read the account on the life of the First Christians.
In the Annunciation (Luke 1: 28-38), the children hear the promise of God as the angel said to Mary, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you.’
Children identify the symbols of the Holy Spirit as wind/ breath, fire, water and the dove. In Sacred Scripture, they read that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and received his mission. (Lk 4:16-22). They also read from the Old Testament of David being anointed as leader.
In the sacrament of Confirmation, children recognise the role of the Holy Spirit in giving them the sevenfold gift which bears fruit in their lives. They experience anointing and being sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit helps children in their formation of conscience and gives them the freedom, guidance and the grace to make good choices for life. In prayer, they take quiet moments to invite the Holy Spirit into their hearts. They learn to seek and ask for guidance.
There are many resources on the VERITAS website, including songs, prayers, poems, activities and stories including the Children’s Grow in Love e-books to help families understand the person of the Holy Spirit and the transforming power of the love of the Holy Spirit in the lives of disciples.
READ in Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
The Coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 1-13); Life among the First Christians (Acts 2:41-47); The Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3: 13-17); The Spirit of the Lord (Luke 4:16-22).
SING: ‘Tar Anuas, a Spioraid Naoimh’, ‘Spirit Filled Day’, ‘Welcome Holy Spirit, Welcome,’ ‘Send Forth Your Spirit’, ‘Spirit Anthem’, Veni Creator Spiritus’
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
SIGN OF THE CROSS
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
COMHARTHA NA CROISE
In ainm an Athar, agus an Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh. Áiméan.
PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Holy Spirit, I want to do what is right.
Holy Spirt, I want to live like Jesus.
Holy Spirit, I want to pray like Jesus.
PAIDIR CHUIG AN SPIORAD NAOMH
A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom an rud ceart a dhéanamh.
A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom maireachtáil mar a mhair Íosa.
A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom
guí mar a ghuigh Íosa. Múin dom é.
COME HOLY SPIRIT
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
Enkindle in us the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and we shall be
And you shall renew the face of the earth.
O God, who has taught the hearts
Of the faithful
By the light of the Holy Spirit,
Grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise
And ever to rejoice in his consolation,
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
TAR CHUGAM, A SPIORAID NAOIMH
Tar, a Spioraid Naoimh, líon croíthe
Agus las ionainn tine do ghrá.
Cuir amach uait do Spiorad agus
Agus déanfaidh tú aghaidh na talún a
A Dhia, a mhúin croíthe na bhfíréan
Le solas an Spioraid Naoimh,
Deonaigh dúinn sa Spiorad céanna a bheith críonna go fíor,
Agus gairdeas a dhéanamh I gcónaí ina shólás,
Trí Chríost, ár dTiarna. Áiméan.
‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Those whose sins you forgive will be forgiven them, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon)
‘This is the day of Pentecost, alleluia; today the Holy Spirit appeared to the disciples in the form of fire and gave to them his special gifts; he sent them into the world to proclaim that whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, alleluia.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
‘When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and the face of the earth is renewed.’ (Psalm 103:30).
‘Holy Spirit, by your light you guide this world towards the father’s love and accompany creation as it grows in travail. You also dwell in our hearts and inspire us to do good. Praise be to You!’ (Laudato Si’ no. 246).’
Sr Anne Neylon