Pentecost’s Gifts and Fruits

pentecostBy Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

Pentecost, in the time of the Apostles, was a Jewish day of celebrating the wheat harvest (Shavuot), and commemorating God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the Exodus.

And so the frightened little band of “Followers of the Way” as they would become known, were gathered, or maybe hiding, in the Room where they had eaten the Last Supper with Jesus.

Suddenly they experienced a life changing event.  A “strong, driving wind and tongues as of fire” describe the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The wind would signify a new action of God and the fire would symbolize the presence of God.

There is nothing better than a hearty wind when one wants to  bring new life, heat and light to a dying ember. Is that what happened on Pentecost? Was that little band afraid to continue the work of the Master? Were they in despair that Jesus was no longer among them? Or, had they simply not gotten the picture?

Whatever the scenario, we do know that when the wind and flame came upon them, they were consumed by its power. The old was burned and blown away and they were made new!  They went forth and took the message of Jesus to the “the ends of the earth.”

We, nearly 2,000 years later, are the lucky recipients of that wind and fire. We carry within us a glowing flame and the “rush” or “breath of God.”

When we allow the Seven Gifts of The Spirit – Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, and Wonder and Awe of God – to become brightly burning candles within us, we can become a beacon of hope for all whom we encounter.

How do we do that? With the help and the grace of God dwelling within us.

When the Gifts of the Spirit are nurtured and practiced within, we will bear the Fruits of the Spirit without.

Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self-Control, Meekness, Patience, Peace, Love, Joy, Kindness, Faith, Goodness, and Temperance will grow in us and be the fruit, the nourishment and nurture we can and will give to others, as God gave to the disciples on that first Christian Pentecost.

It’s worth celebrating!


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