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Happy Birthday, Holy Mother Church!

PentecostAnd I guess we should say Happy Mother’s Day, too! Today, the Solemnity of Pentecost, marks the birth of the Catholic Church. Today we reflect on the mystery of the Body of Christ, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the Church. Saturday’s office of readings had a wonderful sermon from a sixth century African priest’s sermon on how the Church in its unity speaks in the language of every nation. An excerpt:

The disciples spoke in the language of every nation. At Pentecost God chose this means to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit: whoever had received the Spirit spoke in every kind fo tongue. We must realize, dear brothers, that this is the same Holy Spirit by whom love is poured out in our hearts. It was love that was to bring the Church of God together all over the world. And as individual men who received the Holy Spirit in those days could speak in all kinds of tongues, so today the Church, united by the Holy Spirit, speaks in the language of every people,

Therefore if somebody should say to one of us, “You have received the Holy Spirit, why do you not speak in tongues?” his reply should be, “I do indeed speak in the tongues of all men, because I belong to the body of Christ, that is the Church, and she speaks all languages. What else did the presence of the Holy Spirit indicate at Pentecost, except that God’s Church was to speak in the language of every people?”

Come, O Creator Spirit blest! And in our souls take up Thy rest; Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid, To fill the hearts which Thou hast made. Great Paraclete! To Thee we cry, O highest gift of God most high! O font of life! O fire of love! And sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts art known, The finger of God’s hand we own; The promise of the Father, Thou! Who dost the tongue with power endow.
Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us Thy true peace instead; So shall we not, with Thee for guide, Turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow The Father and the Son to know, And Thee, through endless times confessed, Of both, the eternal Spirit blest.
All glory while the ages run Be to the Father and the Son Who rose from death; the same to Thee, O Holy Ghost, eternally. Amen.

Spirit Gives Life to Universal Church, on Pope Benedict’s Pentecost message.

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