New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pentecost Was the Baptism of the Church

At midday today, following this morning's celebration of the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica for the Feast of Pentecost, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"The Paschal Mystery - the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, and His Ascension to heaven - reaches fulfilment in the powerful effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, who were gathered with Mary ... and the other disciples. This was the 'Baptism' of the Church", he said.

"The voice of God makes the human language of the Apostles divine, and they become capable of 'polyphonically' proclaiming the one Divine Word. The breath of the Holy Spirit fills the universe, it generates faith, it draws people to truth, it prepares the way for unity", the Pope explained. He then went on to quote some words written by Blessed Antonio Rosmini: "On the day of Pentecost God promulgated ... His law of charity, writing it by means of the Holy Spirit, not upon tablets of stone, but in the hearts of the Apostles and, through the Apostles, communicating it to the whole Church".

The Holy Spirit, "Who is the Lord and the Giver of Life, ... has the power to sanctify, to remove divisions, to dissolve the confusion caused by sin. ... The Spirit distributes divine goodness and supports living beings that they may act in accordance with that goodness. As intelligible Light, it gives meaning to prayer, invigorates the mission of evangelisation, sets aflame the hearts of those who hear the happy message, and inspires Christian art and liturgical music. ... It creates faith within us at the moment of our Baptism and allows us to live as conscious and responsible children of God, in keeping with the image of the Only-begotten Son".

After praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope recalled that the priest and martyr Alois Andritzki, killed by the Nazis in 1943, will be beatified tomorrow in the German city of Dresden. He was a "heroic witness of the faith who joins the ranks of those who gave their lives in Christ's name in the concentration camps. On this day of Pentecost I would like to entrust the cause of peace in the world to their intercession. May the Holy Spirit inspire heroic intentions of peace and support the commitment to see them through to fulfilment, that dialogue may triumph over arms and respect for man's dignity may prevail over self-interest. May the Spirit, the bond of communion, cure hearts warped by selfishness and help the human family to rediscover and protect its fundamental unity".

Benedict XVI also mentioned the fact that 14 June marks World Blood Donor Day, which involves "millions of people who silently contribute to helping their brothers and sisters in difficulties. I send a cordial greeting to all blood donors and invite young people to follow their example".

Finally, the Pope greeted a group of people currently meeting in Pistoia, Italy, for the Catholic Information Forum for the Protection of Creation, organised by the 'Greenaccord' association on the theme: Man's shared space in the creation. "I encourage all journalists working to safeguard the environment", he said.

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