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THE HOLY SPIRIT IS LOVE

On the Pentecost Mass at St. Peter's Sqaure, Pope Benedict XVI focused his address on the holy spirit which is love.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended with power on the apostles; thus began the mission of the Church in the world. Jesus himself had prepared the Eleven for this mission by appearing to them on several occasions after his resurrection (cf. Acts 1:3).

Before the ascension to heaven, "he charged them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father" (cf. Acts 1:4-5); that is, he asked them to stay together to prepare themselves to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And they gathered in prayer with Mary in the Cenacle, while awaiting this promised event (cf. Acts 1:14).

To stay together was the condition Jesus placed to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; the premise of their harmony was prolonged prayer. In this way we are offered a formidable lesson for every Christian community.

At times it is thought that missionary effectiveness depends primarily on careful programming and its subsequent intelligent application through a concrete commitment. The Lord certainly does ask us for our collaboration, but before any other response his initiative is necessary: His Spirit is the true protagonist of the Church. The roots of our being and of our action are in the wise and provident silence of
God.

The images used by St. Luke to indicate the irruption of the Holy Spirit -- wind and fire -- recall the Sinai, where God revealed himself to the people of Israel and offered his covenant (cf. Exodus 19:3 and following). The feast of Sinai, which Israel celebrated 50 days after the Passover, was the feast of the Covenant.

On speaking of the tongues of fire (cf. Acts 3), St. Luke wants to represent Pentecost as a new Sinai, as the feast of the new Covenant, in which the Covenant with Israel is extended to all the nations of the earth. The Church has been catholic and missionary from her birth. The universality of salvation is manifested with the list of the numerous ethnic groups to which those belonged who heard the apostles' first proclamation (cf. Acts 2:9-11).

The People of God, which had found its first configuration in Sinai, extends today to the point of surmounting every barrier of race, culture, space and time. As opposed to what occurred with the tower of Babel, when people wanted to build a way to heaven with their hands, they ended up by destroying their very capacity to understand one another mutually. The Pentecost of the Spirit, with the gift of tongues, shows that his presence unites and transforms
confusion into communion. Man's pride and egoism always creates divisions, builds walls of indifference, hatred and violence.

The Holy Spirit, on the contrary, makes hearts capable of understanding everyone's languages, as it re-establishes the bridge of authentic communication between earth and heaven. The Holy Spirit is love.

But, how is it possible to enter into the mystery of the Holy Spirit? How can the secret of love be understood? The Gospel passage takes us today to the Cenacle, where, the Last Supper being over, an experience of disconcert saddened the apostles. The reason was that Jesus' words aroused disturbing questions: He spoke of the world's hatred of him and of his own, he spoke of his mysterious departure; much remained to be said but at that moment the apostles were not able to bear the weight (cf. John 16:12).

To console them, he explained the meaning of his departure: He would go, but he would return; meanwhile, he would not abandon them, would not leave them orphans. He would send the Consoler, the Spirit of the Father, and the Spirit would enable them to know that Christ's work is a work of love: love of him who gave himself, love of the Father who has given him.

This is the mystery of Pentecost: The Holy Spirit illuminates the human spirit and, on revealing Christ crucified and risen, indicates the way to become more like him, that is, to be "expression and instrument of love that comes from him" ("Deus Caritas Est," No. 33). The Church, gathered with Mary, as at her birth, today implores: "Veni Sancte Spiritus!" -- "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of thy love!" Amen.

Source: www.zenit.org

 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS

JULY 1
BLESSED JUNIPERO SERRA
Blessed Junipero Serra was born in Petra, Spain, on November 24, 1713. The boy became a student at the Franciscan school in Palma 

JULY 2
ST. OTTO.
St. Otto lived in the twelfth century. He was born in Swabia, present-day Bavaria. 

JULY 3
ST. THOMAS
St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. His name in the Syriac language means "twin."

JULY 4
ST. ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL
St. Elizabeth, a Spanish princess, was born in 1271. She married King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve.

JULY 5
ST. ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in Italy in 1502. While he was still young, his father died.

JULY 6
ST. MARIA GORETTI

St. Maria Goretti was born in 1890. Her father died when she and the other five children in her family were small. At twelve, Maria was already very pretty.

JULY 7
BLESSED ROGER DICKENSON, BLESSED RALPH MILNER AND BLESSED LAWRENCE HUMPHREY

These three martyrs lived in England during the time of Church persecution by Queen Elizabeth I.

JULY 8
BLESSED EUGENE III

Blessed Eugene III was born near Pisa, Italy, in the twelfth century. He was baptized Peter.

JULY 10
ST. FELICITY AND HER SEVEN SONS.

St. Felicity was a noble Christian woman of Rome. She lived during the second century.

JULY 11
ST. BENEDICT

St. Benedict was born in 480. He was from a rich Italian family. His life was full of adventure and wonderful deeds.

JULY 12
ST. JOHN GAULBERT

St. John Gaulbert was born in Florence, Italy, at the end of the tenth century. He and his father were devastated when John's only brother, Hugh, was murdered.

JULY 13
ST. HENRY II.

St. Henry II was born in 972. He became the duke of Bavaria in 995. One night he had an unusual vision. St. Wolfgang, who had been his beloved teacher when he was a boy, appeared to him.

JULY 14
BLESSED KATERI TEKAKWITHA

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was born in Auriesville, New York, in 1656. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin. Her father was a non-Christian Mohawk chief.

JULY 15
ST. BONAVENTURE.

St. was born in 1221 in Tuscany, Italy, and was baptized John.

JULY 16
FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title "Commemoratio B. Marif Virg.

JULY 17
ST. LEO IV.

St. Leo IV lived in the ninth century. He was a Roman by birth and spent his life in that city. Leo was educated in the Benedictine monastery near St. Peter's Basilica.

JULY 18
ST. FREDERICK.

St. Frederick lived in ninth-century Utrecht, in the central part of the Netherlands. When he was ordained a priest, Bishop Ricfried put him in charge of instructing converts.

JULY 19
ST. MACRINA.

St. Macrina was the first child of St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia.

JULY 20
SAINT CHARBEL.

St. Charbel was born to a poor Maronite Family on May 8, 1828 in a mountain village of Biqa-Kafra, Lebanon.

JULY 21
ST. LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI.

St. Lawrence was born Caesar Rossi in Brindisi, Italy, in 1559. Brindisi was part of the Kingdom of Naples, Italy.

JULY 22
ST. MARY MAGDALENE.

St. Mary Magdalene was from Magdala near the Sea of Galilee. Some people identify her as a well-known sinner when she first saw Our Lord.

JULY 23
ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN.

St. Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. From the time she was a child, she was greatly devoted to the passion of Jesus.

JULY 24
ST. BORIS AND ST. GLEB

St. Boris and St. Gleb, the brothers, were born toward the end of the tenth century.

JULY 25
ST. JAMES THE GREATER

St. James was a fisherman like his father Zebedee and his brother John.

JULY 26
ST. JOACHIM AND ST. ANNE

St. Anne and St. Joachim are the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

JULY 27
ST. PANTALEON

St. Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. He lived in the fourth century.

JULY 29
ST. MARTHA

St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus.

JULY 30
ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS

St. Peter Chrysologus was born in the small town of Imola, Italy.

JULY 31
ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA

St. Ignatius, the famous founder of the Jesuits, was born in 1491.

 
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REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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