Celebrating the “birthday”of our holy Church


This coming weekend the Church celebrates the feast of Pentecost—a day which is often referred to as the “birthday” of the Church. It marks that moment when the Holy Spirit descended on the Blessed Mother and the apostles gathered together in the upper room. There they had been fervently praying since the Ascension for this “gift” that Jesus had promised to send them. In John 3 our Lord had compared the Spirit to the “wind” (which, not coincidentally, was one of the ways the Holy Spirit manifested himself at Pentecost). In John 3 Jesus said to Nicodemus: “The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

We do not see the wind; we only see its effects. And so it is with the Holy Spirit. As a pure spirit, he cannot be seen. To the naked eye, he is completely invisible. But, just like the wind, he can be known by his effects: by the strength he gives; by the virtues he inspires; by spiritual fruits he brings forth—especially in the lives of the saints. Saints are simply ordinary people who live their lives in a deep commitment to Jesus Christ, in and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

And since most of us have already received the Spirit in the sacrament of baptism, we all have the potential to be saints—if we choose to be.