Tag Archives: #pentecost

New Wineskins & Acedia/Sloth


“Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
-Gal 5:19-23


-by Br Luke Doherty, OP

“In the months following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the multiplication of Christ’s followers was achieved through the work of God’s grace and the Holy Spirit. Those old wineskins: the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Roman empire, the pagan religions, were not what the new wine of Christianity was to be kept in. In the Baptism of new Christian followers, there was no distinction between Jewish, gentile, pagan or other religious background. All were converted to the one true faith, receiving the Holy Spirit in the words of Baptism. The ultimate transformation of that tragic day on Calvary where the Son of God was brutally murdered, to a joyful resurrection in the fifty days after Easter, is marked by Pentecost. Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and all of the world, was a practical event, the culmination of the resurrection of Christ, where death and sin are overcome. Not even the scheming of the Pharisees, Sadducees and human governance at the time could stop the ‘Jesus movement’.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, insight, counsel, power, knowledge and fear of the Lord. These gifts enable all of us to grow in virtue, and indeed carry on the work which Jesus proclaimed, as recorded in the Gospels. The work of the Holy Spirit gives Christians the power to expose and resist evil in the world, as well as the power to forgive and make the world holy. No matter what smoke and mirrors the devil might put up, we have received the Holy Spirit through our Baptism and we are strengthened through the grace of God when we confess our sins and attend the Holy Mass.

I have heard Catholics say they often wish the Mass was more like the ‘pentecostal’ churches in the United States, where choirs belt out cheerful hymns and the liturgy is filled with zeal. No matter how boring the Catholic Mass might feel in some parishes, the great error would be to think the Holy Spirit is somehow ignoring these congregations! We are strengthened in our faith by regular attendance at Mass, and by receiving the sacraments. Our mission as Christians would falter if we give in to the sin of acedia/sloth, that is a state of not caring about one’s condition in the world. Acedia/sloth can lead to a state of being unable to perform one’s duties in life, a spiritual sorrow which becomes a mortal sin when reason consents to flight from the Divine Good. In other words, a state where we do not care that we do not care. The sinful element is also when something prevails over the work of the Holy Spirit, particularly when the rewards are slow to appear (e.g. scientific research, long term marriages, religious life). We can reflect today on Pentecost Sunday, as a time to revitalize our lives and stamp out the mortal sin of acedia/sloth in our lives, in our parishes and in the work we do.”

“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
-Jn 20: 22-23


Will & Passion


-Pentecost, by Jean Resout II, 1732, oil on canvas,183” x 306 ¼”, formerly in the refectory of the Abbey of Saint-Denis, outside Paris, now since 1944 at the Musee du Louvre (please click on the image for more detail)

This Holy Spirit, I have always felt, is the MOST DANGEROUS of the persons of the Trinity!!!  REALLY!!  The Holy Spirit transforms a dozen vain, stupid, illiterate, timid, bumbling “Keystone Cops” into spiritual commandos, to literally change the world, to what still appears to be lasting effect.  All but one would go on to suffer martyrdom across the world, and so would their disciples; and that one would be exiled to Patmos…and write!!!  This same Spirit can transform us, too, if we but invite.  Do we dare?  Do we love Him enough?  Is He enough for us?  Careful!! 🙂  Can you handle the AWESOMENESS??  You CAN with the Holy Spirit!!

-by Erin Cain

“There is a difference between willpower and passion. You can learn all the rules of basketball and put all your effort into being the best on the court, but if you don’t truly love the sport, you’ll only go so far before burning out. You can memorize scales and learn all the rules of music theory, but that alone does not make you a musician. You have to play with passion—music is something that comes from deep within the soul, and it is much more than technical skill. Knowledge and effort are both necessary to perform well, but they grow naturally when you develop a genuine love for what you do. Willpower alone will only take you so far. And sometimes, even when you know all the notes, you might freeze up at the recital. If, when the moment comes for you to perform, you find yourself paralyzed with fear, you have much in common with Jesus’s apostles as they waited in the upper room.

After Jesus ascended into Heaven, His apostles retreated into an upper room, away from the crowds of the city and from everyone who was asking them questions about Jesus. They weren’t ready to face these people, to spread Jesus’s word, to undergo persecution in His name. Jesus had told them to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). They believed in the truth of His death and resurrection and knew the importance of sharing it with others. They wanted to follow His commands—but they couldn’t bring themselves to step outside. (Ed. they had seen the RESURRECTION, after all!!  Good grief, Charlie Brown!!  What more do you want, you blockhead?) Their faith lacked action and passion; they were overcome by human weakness and fear.

Sometimes, when I am faced with a challenge in following the Christian life or when I am inspired to do something to share the faith, I become paralyzed by a spiritual inertia before I can even begin. I get caught up in the details, frightened by the possibilities of what some people might say if I follow through, ever aware that I am not worthy or capable of carrying out any sort of grand plans. But God does not promise us that we will be comfortable and safe in this life if we follow His will—rather, He tells us the opposite: “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). And He does not call the equipped; He equips the called. We have to step out in faith, away from our comfortable hiding places and out into the world.

What happened to transform the cowering disciples in the upper room into the brave, powerful martyrs who carry out such amazing miracles in the Acts of the Apostles? What gave them the strength they so lacked before, the resolve to follow through in performing God’s commands? What gave them the faith to take seriously what Jesus had told them, when they had such trouble earlier to internalize His teachings and instructions? The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only difference between hiding away in a small, dark room and speaking in tongues to all the nations. The Holy Spirit equips us with the graces we lack, at the time we need them to carry out God’s will in our lives; He fills us with the strength to forget our mortal constraints and trust that God will fill in our weaknesses. God wants to use us as His instruments, imperfect though we are, and the Holy Spirit acts as the channel for this to occur. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do hard things.

But there is a gap between the Ascension and Pentecost. We must wait for the Holy Spirit to come to us, and we must have faith that God will send the Spirit to us when the time comes. Until that time, we are reminded of our own human weakness, so that we know that whatever we do to further His Kingdom comes from the Spirit and not from us. This can be a hard truth to accept when we are trapped in the upper room, waiting for help to arrive—that we cannot do it ourselves, that we need an Advocate. But the Advocate is coming for all of us; He will come when we need Him if only we invoke His name.

God has entrusted us with a mission to fulfill, to be His hands in the world. Instead of being fearful of making mistakes, we can step out in confidence, knowing that God will cover our imperfections. We can focus on doing what we are called to do instead of worrying about the obstacles we will encounter in the process. The Holy Spirit fills us with the “perfect love [that] casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). We can’t force feelings of love, but we can turn to God and ask Him to provide us what we need. He can set a fire in our soul that will fuel everything we do.

V.  Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love.

R.  Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth.”

“In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.”
-Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Love & the fire of the Holy Spirit to you!