All posts tagged: Pentecost

“Come, Holy Spirit”: The Vulnerable Bravery of Fr. Hesburgh’s Favorite Prayer

The late Fr. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C., beloved former president of the University of Notre Dame, stated again and again in homilies and interviews that his favorite prayer was “Come, Holy Spirit.” He said: The Holy Spirit is the light and strength of my life, for which I am eternally grateful. My best daily prayer, apart from the Mass and breviary, continues to be simply, “Come, Holy Spirit.” No better prayer, no better results: much light and much strength. As the Church prepares to celebrate the feast of Pentecost, it strikes me that it might be worthwhile to think about what we’re asking when we pray “Come, Holy Spirit.” Such a short prayer seems to suggest an almost innocuous invocation—after all, the Holy Spirit is often shown in artwork as a kind and gentle dove. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Advocate, the Paraclete, and surely praying “Come, Holy Spirit” is a way to bring peace to the troubled heart. Yes, but. The Holy Spirit is also called “the finger of God”: the Holy Spirit …

Celebrating the Easter Season, Part 1: Music

Here at Church Life Journal, we’ve had several conversations about the challenge of celebrating Easter for the entire the season, and we figure if we’re struggling to keep our Easter joy alive for fifty days, others probably are too. To that end, we’re offering several posts over the next two weeks with some ideas for sustaining a spirit of celebration throughout the Easter season. First, we’ve put together not one but two Spotify playlists to help people enter into the joy of the season through music, which is a key component of our liturgical life and our daily life (remembering of course that our liturgical life is meant to overflow into and transform our daily life). This music has been chosen for its ability to remind us that Christ is alive forever, that the darkness has been conquered, that “the sufferings of this present life are as nothing compared with the glory about to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18, NRSV), and that “if we have been united with [Jesus Christ] in a death like his, we will …

Awaiting Pentecost

Most Catholics are at least vaguely aware that the Easter Vigil is a high point of the liturgical year. Yet, the Vigil of Pentecost rarely gets the same attention, despite having its own set of extended readings. If we read these texts for the Vigil of Pentecost, we discover that Pentecost is the fulfillment of Easter, not simply the end of the season. In the book of Genesis, we are invited to remember that sin which led to the disunity of the nations. In constructing the Tower at Babel, our forebears sought to ascend above the heavens, to rebel against God. They wanted to build a civilization apart from God, to glorify themselves. The Lord descends, seeing this act of rebellion, and “scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city” (Gen 11:8). Those who once spoke one language, now speak many. And at the feast of Pentecost, when the Apostles begin to speak the languages of all the known world through the power of the Spirit, the disunity of …

Pentecost for Preachers: The Mysticism of the Homiletic Moment

The Easter season provides busy homilists with a basketful of opportunities to preach and preach and preach. Now Pentecost is coming. What more is there to say? What more is there to give? And, some may ask, where does the strength come from to keep on giving? We turn to this year’s Pentecost Gospel reading from John to find out. Jesus breathes on his future preachers and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:19–23). In Greek, this “receive” is lambano—to take hold of, to carry away to use—a verb that pulsates with the expectation of response and action. This is not the passive “receive” of the shaking of hands as in a receiving line at a wedding. This is a breathing forth that calls for a “pick it up and do something with it” transformation. The burning fire of the preaching of Pentecost builds from this tender waft of Jesus’ air. The experience of the Spirit in the second chapter of Acts came to dried-up and disheartened disciples. What did they have left to give? …