Everyone who has entered into and risen out of the waters of baptism receives the incredible power of the gifts of faith, hope, and love. Much is said of faith and love, but hope is what has touched me when reflecting on Pentecost this year. It was hope that empowered the apostles to dedicate their lives to the ministry of sharing the Good News. Without hope in the presence of Jesus and in His message they would never have been able to go forth immediately into the same world which had been so hostile to Him, knowing they would be able to reach out to many. They knew that all He had promised had been fulfilled in His death and resurrection, and they understood that they had much work to do in building up the Body of Christ. It is this same hope with which we are empowered, and therefore we need to call upon it as we seek to grow in holiness and to share the Good News with all who we encounter. Our call is no different than that of the apostles and therefore we have been given the same gifts.
Faith, hope, and love come together for a reason, as they are intertwined in how they work. First, hope accompanies our faith. Faith helps us to believe that of which we have no proof but which we trust in our hearts. Hope is the acceptance of what our faith tells us. Hope is what helps us enter into pain and which keeps us from being overwhelmed by that which we suffer. Hope brings us joy when we realize that we are never alone because Jesus is with us and it gives us a way to focus on that which He promised, that we might hold fast to it as true. This same hope helps us to know our beloved dead are also present to us, nearer, in fact, than ever before. Hope helps us to know that they have already seen what we long to see and that they have already experienced the love of God beyond all telling for which we yearn so desperately.
Just as Mary and the apostles were bathed in the grace and power of God at Pentecost, so too are we. Pentecost is the great gift of the love of God to us. As the Holy Spirit fell afresh on those who were gathered, they were overwhelmed with gifts and with a joy they could not contain. Sharing these gifts and the gifts that come with baptism was their response. They could not contain it. Therefore let us recognize that after Pentecost when the joy fades due to our humanness and the challenges begin to settle in, we have great gifts to which we can turn namely faith, hope, and love. Let us turn to the Holy Spirit and let hope be born afresh as on that first Pentecost, that it may continue to change the world even if one heart at a time.
©Michele L. Catanese
(This is dedicated to Sally, Kristina, Kevin, Jenna, and of course, to Jeff.)
The first photo is mine. It is some stained glass depicting the Pentecost event and it is found in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.
The two icons which follow are the work of Fr. William Hart McNichols. The first is Mother of Holy Hope and it can be found at http://www.fatherbill.org/all-categories/product/292-mother-of-holy-hope
The second icon is called The Risen Christ Appears to His Mother and it can be found at http://www.fatherbill.org/all-categories/product/56-the-risen-christ-appears-to-his-mother