My dear friends, my dear brothers,
Before I say a few words to you on the occasion of this feast of Pentecost and the ceremony that will take place in a few moments to confirm one of our own, I would first like to recommend to your prayers our great benefactor, Master Lovey and his family that the Good Lord feels in a very special way. We all have duties towards him, because he was the intermediary provided by Providence between Freiburg and Ecône. It is thanks to him and his staff that we are here today. Therefore I strongly recommend to your prayers his family and himself, his person, so that God may restore his health, as well as his own.
I would also like to recommend to your prayers today in a very special way, the religious and their Congregation, religious who devote themselves to you and who have so much attention for us, as you know: the Dominican women of the Holy Spirit. So today is their feast day, but for us there are great reasons, great reasons, you know it well, to ask the Good Lord to bless their Congregation. May they always remain what their founder wanted them to be and may God grant them many vocations, so that they can continue their beautiful apostolate.
I would also like to recommend the Congregation of the Fathers of the Holy Spirit, of which I am still a part, and which today is in such need of God’s blessings in order to rediscover the spirit of its founders, who are not only Father Libermann, but also Father Claude Poullart des Places. He was the one who started the Society of the Holy Spirit and who sent around the world what perhaps today the Good Lord allows me to modestly achieve with your help. To realize these Gentlemen of the Holy Spirit that Father Claude Poullart des Places, also realized in Paris at the beginning of the 18th century and which made it possible to send missionaries and secular priests all over the world who were leaving, even through foreign missions. And who have also evangelized Canada, the Far East and many other regions. I therefore recommend to your prayers the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.
In a few moments will come to kneel here, one of us, to receive the sacrament of confirmation. It seems to me that there could be no better day than Pentecost to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. And that is why it seems to me that this short instruction that I wanted to give you will serve both to prepare for the sacrament of confirmation and to prepare for this feast of Pentecost.
We must remember the extraordinary moments that followed the Ascension of Our Lord. Remember that Our Lord had asked his apostles to gather in the Upper Room, pray and wait for the Holy Spirit to come down on them.
Faithful to Our Lord’s request, the apostles had therefore gathered in the Upper Room and the Acts of the Apostles point out to us that they were gathered there - first eleven - then twelve with the election of Mathias and finally with the Blessed Virgin, surrounded by some holy women and some disciples. Thus, gathered in the Upper Room, they prayed, waiting for the Holy Spirit to come.
And now, on the fiftieth day after the feast of Easter - the Resurrection of Our Lord - there is an extraordinary noise in the Upper Room and tongues of fire descend on the heads of each of those who were present and who are all filled with the Holy Spirit.
It is certainly possible to think that the presence of the Blessed Virgin was not useless, but on the contrary, that it was through her prayer, which was already filled with the Holy Spirit, that the apostles were in turn and through her, filled also with the Holy Spirit.
It is said that it was a tongue of fire that landed on the heads of those who were then gathered in the Upper Room.
This is a symbol, a meaning. It is both light and heat. Light and warmth. Light of the Holy Spirit and warmth of charity, zeal of charity. These were the very special gifts the apostles received. Remember that even when Our Lord came to see them after His Resurrection, to meet them, to prove His Resurrection, and when Our Lord had already met them several times, He showed Himself to them. He had reproached them for their disbelief: exprobravit incredulitatem eorum et duritiam cordis (…) quia iis (…) non crediderunt (Me 14,12-13). “He reproached them for their unbelief and the hardness of their hearts, because they had not believed those who had seen that he had risen.
He reproached them for seeing Him resurrected and for not believing yet. They couldn’t believe their eyes. They were still unbelieving. But Our Lord well knew that this unbelief would not last long, but that the Holy Spirit would precisely give them the Spirit of Truth, would give them the conviction that from then on Our Lord was truly risen and they would understand all the life of Our Lord and all that Our Lord had taught.
This is what Our Lord promised them. He told them: When the Holy Spirit comes, He will teach you all that I have told you. He will make you understand.
And only then did their eyes open, they who were still asking Our Lord, shortly before His Ascension: “When will you restore the kingdom of Israel?”, always convinced that Our Lord had come for a temporal purpose, to restore the kingdom of Israel, for Israel to rule the whole world. They did not yet imagine that it was a spiritual kingdom. Certainly a universal kingdom, but a spiritual kingdom.
Only then did their eyes open as the Holy Spirit descended on them.
Well, we receive this Holy Spirit who opened the eyes of the apostles at the time of baptism. And so, perhaps, we are not sufficiently aware of the great gift we receive through baptism. And then by the confirmation and sacrament of the Eucharist that we receive.
In all the sacraments, it is the Holy Spirit who acts. Remember that on the day of your baptism, the priest said to the devil: Exit immunde spiritus et date locum Spiritui Sancto: Get out of this filthy spirit soul and give way to the Holy Spirit”.
Thus the Holy Spirit took possession of us at the time of our baptism. Well, this Holy Spirit produces in us the same effects as it did in the apostles. We must not doubt that for a moment. And what are these effects again? These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are gifts of light and gifts of warmth, gifts of zeal and love of the Good Lord;
Just as the apostles were in ignorance and blindness, we too may still be in blindness. We still do not sufficiently understand what the Holy Spirit has come to teach us. And perhaps we are still too submissive to the spirit of the world and we judge things the way the world judges them. The world - when I say the world, I don’t mean at all the people who are in the world, because we are all in the world - nor those who live in the world more mixed, more in the middle of the world. That is, those who have chosen the life of marriage, these are those who have not received the Holy Spirit. That is the world. The world is those who are subject to the empire of the devil, subject to the empire of this blindness and lies of which the devil is the father. And it is in this world that we live
And then we are easily influenced by this spirit of the world, which always judges things in a temporal way, according to the goods of this world, according to the things of this world and not only according to spiritual things, according to the things that must carry us to God and to eternity.
That is why we receive these donations.
Later, you will hear that the bishop, when he lays his hands on the one who is to be confirmed, calls for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And these gifts of the Holy Spirit are of vital importance in our lives. We must live under the influence of these gifts. And do not believe that these gifts are reserved only for mystical souls, for souls who have graces, who are not graces that the Good Lord grants to all Christians. These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are graces given to all Christians and which we must use every day of our lives, which serve us at all times.
Just remember them quickly: the gift of wisdom teaches us to taste God. This means that the Holy Spirit sends down into our soul a desire to be attached to God, to live with God, to submit everything to God. And therefore in all things, in our lives, in all our actions, we have this taste of God, this desire to be with God.
The gift of intelligence is more related to the virtue of faith. By virtue of faith, we believe in what God has taught us, but the gift of intelligence teaches us to see things the way God sees them.
Oh, if we really had that gift of intelligence! To see all things down here, to see what we are, to see what we must do, the way God sees it, we must wish for that. We need this. This gift is very important. Try to lead us to the way the Good Lord would like us to lead, to see all things in the light of God.
The gift of science helps us to lead and carry us to Heaven and what through the things of nature, through human things, shows us God, while the light of faith and intelligence came down from Heaven in us in a way, to enlighten us about the things of this world, now it is through the things of the world. This gift of science makes us understand that everything relates to God, all the beauties we see around us, all the things we encounter, the creatures, lead us to the Good God, through the gift of science, which makes us see God through creatures.
And then the gift of advice, helps us in the virtue of prudence. The virtue of prudence which is the virtue of the pilgrim, of the one who walks, of the one who constantly has choices to make. Throughout our days, throughout our lives, we have choices to make. And these choices must be made according to the gift of advice. We must ask the Holy Spirit to help us in choices that are just, that are in accordance with the will of God and do nothing that is not in accordance with the will of God. Hence the importance of the gift of advice.
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