“When the day of Pentecost came it found them¹ gathered in one place. Suddenly from up in the sky there came a noise like a strong wind which was heard through the house where they were seated. Tongues as of fire appeared, which parted and came to rest on each of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to express themselves in foreign tongues and make bold proclamation as the Spirit prompted them.” (Acts 2: 1-4 NAB)
A beautifully simple prayer to the Holy Spirit that we recite in Eastern Churches are the short verses below. This is a prayer of petition and acknowledgement of our reliance on God for all the blessings and graces we receive in the Holy Spirit.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth
You are everywhere present and fill all things.
Treasury of blessings and Giver of Life,
Come and dwell within us,
Cleanse us of all stain,
And save our souls O Gracious One.
PENTECOST is a major Feast Day in Catholic and Orthodox churches.
The Liturgical color for Pentecost in Eastern Churches is always green. This is the only time in the entire liturgical calendar this color is used. Green represents life and the predominant emphasis and the Divine power of the Holy Spirit is as the Giver of Life. In Scripture, Jesus Christ speaks of “living water” and “real food” in reference to the Sacraments that are necessary to life eternal in the Kingdom of God. The Sacraments of Initiation in the Byzantine Catholic Church are Baptism, Chrismation, and Holy Eucharist. Infants and adults being received into Eastern Churches receive all three Sacraments in one ceremony. This was the traditional rite of Initiation in the early Church which Eastern Churches have since retained. On Pentecost Sunday, the faithful appropriately sing a baptismal verse: “All you have been baptized into Christ, have been clothed in Christ.”
The Holy Spirit is the life of the Church and its members. The Holy Spirit is the giver of gifts that help us as faithful believers grow in grace and in love of God. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are: fear of the Lord (adoration and reverential respect), knowledge, fortitude, counsel, understanding, wisdom. We receive these gifts when we strive to follow God’s commandments, seek his will daily, and remain in sanctifying grace. The action of the Holy Spirit is so powerful. We fail when we take for granted the source of all good and fall into the mistaken belief that we are the creators of all of our blessings and our small universe. Instead, we should remember to call upon and pray to the Holy Spirit to grant us the graces we need not just in our own lives, but for being a “light” and bringing the “light” to a world of darkness. As members of the Body of Christ the mission God has called us to is, as disciples. We each have a mission in life. The mission that began with the apostles and disciples through the Holy Spirit during that first Pentecost did not end. Our mission is to continue the spirit of Pentecost.
¹ According to Scripture, the following were present in the upper room in Jerusalem: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon, Jude (Judas) son of James; also some women and Mary the mother of God; and other disciples.