Pentecost is from the Greek word ‘Pentekostos’, which means ‘fifty’. It’s the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover. It is also called the birth of the Church. Pentecost takes place 10 days after the Ascension of Jesus, after which the apostles and Mary gather in the upper room and pray for the coming of the Spirit, the advocate, that Jesus promised. They prayed for 9 days – this was the very first Novena! (novena means nine)
In doing a bit of research, I found two interesting customs related to Pentecost that you may not have heard of:
In Italy it was customary to scatter rose leaves from the ceiling of the churches to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues. In France it was customary to blow trumpets during Divine service, to recall the sound of the mighty wind which accompanied the Descent of the Holy Ghost. (www.newadvent.org)
The Holy Spirit has many titles. One is the “sanctifier” – meaning “to make holy.” Do you recall reading the verse in the bible that says that the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? (Matthew 12:31) The reason that this sin is unpardonable, is that when we cut ourselves off from the Holy Spirit, we cut ourselves off from grace. We cannot be sanctified without God’s Holy Spirit. As Revelation 21:27 tells us “nothing impure may enter heaven.” (This is also one of many “arguments” for the existence of purgatory.)
Sometimes, I feel as though the Holy Spirit is the forgotten part of the Holy Trinity. We should not neglect the Spirit! He has so many wonderful gifts to bestow upon those who ask :I have two favorite prayers to the Holy Spirit. The first is from St. Augustine:
Breathe into me, Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit,
that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit,
that I may defend all that is holy.
Protect me, Holy Spirit,
that I may always be holy.
The second is from Linda Kelly. We say it everyday at our school:
Come Holy Spirit into our school.
Come even closer into our hearts.
Fill us with love for one another.
Fill us with love for You.
Be our guide throughout the day
That we may please God in every way.