In his Letter to the Ephesians St. Paul wrote about this work when he stated: “We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for
the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Paul is indicating that God has always had a plan, but that individually and collectively we have a role in it for which He prepares us. We received entry into this way of life through Baptism, completed at Confirmation when, like the apostles, we had our own personal Pentecost, though perhaps without the speaking of multiple languages. The work of the Holy Spirit is a continuous process throughout our lives as He guides, protects, enlivens, teaches, protects, and inspires so that we might weather the storms which come at us from a world sometimes hostile to the goodness of God. Therefore, God is constantly laboring for us by helping us to grow in holiness into the people who we want to be and who we were created to be.
©Michele L. Catanese
Note: The next post will be June 19.
* The quote from St. John Chrysostom can be found as part of his longer sermon at http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2012/06/excerpt-from-homily-i-on-pentecost-by.html.
1. This is an icon of the Pentecost event which comes from a church building, which is evident because you can detect the curve of a dome or cupola. I chose it because I liked the depiction of God the Father in the lower middle. He is holding the candles which clearly unite the Father with the fire of the Holy Spirit whose graces are being mediated from above. It can be found at http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/search/label/Pentecost.
2. This is a drawing by Fr. William Hart McNichols, published in 1993 as part of a book on the mysteries of the Rosary. At the time of publication there were only three sets of mysteries in the Rosary, hence the book in which his drawings appear is called The Fifteen Mysteries, by M. Basil Pennington, OSCO. I love this drawing because it is a close-up of some of the apostles and therefore it captures an intimacy that one rarely sees in Pentecost scenes. The faces of the three men appear to be filled with serenity, understanding, and love, (as I see them, respectively from left to right) and it is as if these graces are being shared with those of us viewing the scene. Gazing upon this drawing gives me a sense of peace, because in the midst of the experience of receiving the Holy Spirit there seems to be a gentleness, rather than the event being something boisterous. That is more in keeping with how the Spirit works: freely given, nothing forced.
3. I took this photo on the Sea of Galilee in Israel. I chose to use it here because it reminded me of the apostles being sent forth to spread the Good News. It also was at the Sea of Galilee that most of the them first met Jesus, and it is also where He appeared to them after His resurrection to share a meal on the beach. (John 21)
4. I took this photo in Maine while sitting dockside enjoying a meal. The sun illuminating the clouds was breathtaking. I chose it for this spot in the post because it seemed to depict how the Son and the Spirit give us a new relationship with the Father. The clouds looked different than they had just moments before, yet they were the same clouds.
5. I took this at the first Mass of a newly ordained deacon. I chose it for many reasons. First, because it shows a special ministry and the service which is part of it: proclaiming the Gospel. Second, (in the photo) it is as if the deacon was walking straight to Jesus, though it is a bit of an optical illusion since the statue was on the side of the altar and not to the actual place he was processing. But lastly, this deacon will be ordained a priest this coming week and will celebrate his first Mass on the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Congratulations to (soon-to-be) Fr. Marcus Fryer, SJ!!
6. This icon is exquisite. It is called Hagiography Icon Holy Virgin Mary With the Apostles at Pentecost and it comes from Santiago de Chile. I loved it the moment I saw it because it captured what I was trying to say in the last paragraph. We are one Church, filled with the Spirit. The tongues of fire are falling upon the entire world in this beautiful, vibrant icon and Mary is at the center, interceding for all of us. It is magnificent! If you are interested in obtaining a copy, you can find it at http://nioras.com/product_info.php/hagiography-icon-holy-virgin-mary-with-the-apostles-pentecost-santiago-chile-p-93775.
7. This image is part of a larger work by Fr. William Hart McNichols: it is called Viriditas Triptych. I chose it because the Holy Spirit desires unity, for the Church to be one, just as the tongues of fire are seen surrounding the entire globe. All that is created is renewed in the Holy Spirit and grace is offered to all. If you would like to obtain a copy for purchase in one of many different mediums, this triptych can be found at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/viriditas-triptych-william-hart-mcnichols.html. The larger work to which it belongs can be found at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/viriditas-finding-god-in-all-things-william-hart-mcnichols.html