Pentecost

FATHER GEORGE W. RUTLER

Today all that our Lord had planned by his Incarnation, Death, Resurrection and Ascension is fulfilled when He fills the Church with the Holy Spirit

Life cannot be seen, and it is known only by being lived. Thus, the life of the Church, lived through our own lives, makes Pentecost an ageless presence. We do not look back on the day when the Holy Spirit was given, for that day is an "endless now." The Church enables us to enter eternity in time, most immediately in the Holy Eucharist, for eternity is not so much "timelessness" – which term we use in time to define what is beyond time – as it is awareness of God. "Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ" (John 17:3).

Last Sunday the largest number of children in the history of our parish made their First Communion with Our Lord. They are very young, but in that moment they became 2,000 years old and, more accurately, they entered heaven on earth. Today, one of our liveliest parishioners, Margaret Bradshaw, celebrates her 106th birthday, with vivid memories of her First Communion nearly a century ago as one of the first beneficiaries of the decision of Pope St. Pius X to extend Communion to children. She gets younger with each Communion.

All this is the measureless gift that Christ gives us by letting us share in the bond of love between Him and His Father. "Pour out your Spirit" we pray on Pentecost, but only because the Holy Spirit has already moved us to want Him. A fourth-century inscription on the gravestone of a Christian in Asia Minor expresses the hope of all who have received the Holy Spirit: "Here sleeps the blessed Chione who has found Jerusalem, for she prayed much."

Pope Benedict XVI is the ninth pope in the lifetime of Margaret Bradshaw. Remembering his own First Communion in 1936, the Pope recently told a child: "I understood that Jesus had entered my heart, He had actually visited me. And with Jesus, God Himself was with me. And I realized that this is a gift of love that is truly worth more than all the other things that life can give."

May the Holy Spirit on Pentecost enliven us to pray as John Donne did:

"Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings but one equal eternity; in the habitations of thy glory and dominion, world without end. Amen."

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Father George William Rutler. "Pentecost." From the Pastor (June 12, 2011).

Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.

THE AUTHOR

Father Rutler received priestly ordination in 1981. Born in 1945 and reared in the Episcopal tradition, Father Rutler was an Episcopal priest for nine years. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979 and was sent to the North American College in Rome for seminary studies. Father Rutler graduated from Dartmouth, where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, and took advanced degrees at the Johns Hopkins University and the General Theological Seminary. He holds several degrees from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, including the Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology, and studied at the Institut Catholique in Paris. In England, in 1988, the University of Oxford awarded him the degree Master of Studies. From 1987 to 1989 he was regular preacher to the students, faculty, and townspeople of Oxford. Cardinal Egan appointed him Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, effective September 17, 2001.

Since 1988 his weekly television program has been broadcast worldwide on EWTN. Father Rutler has published 17 books, including: Cloud of Witnesses - Dead People I Knew When They Were Alive, Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, Saint John Vianney: The Cure D'Ars Today, Crisis in Culture, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Copyright © 2011 Father George W. Rutler




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