Coptic icon of Pentecost
First published June 6th, 2007, the content of this writing comes back to me with a new sense of immediacy. Are we drawing nearer to this moment than we realize? (I have updated this writing, inserting recent comments from Pope Benedict.)
WHILE the meditations of late are somber and call us to deeper repentance and trust in God, they are not a message of doom. They are the herald of the end of a season, the "fall" of mankind, so to speak, when the purifying winds of Heaven will blow away the dead leaves of sin and rebellion. They speak of a winter in which those things of the flesh which are not of God will be brought to death, and those things which are rooted in Him will bloom in a glorious "new springtime" of joy and life!
THE END OF AN AGE
The age of ministries is ending…
These words entered my heart sometime last year, and have grown in intensity. It is the sense that the worldly structures and models of ministries as we know them are coming to an end. Ministry, however, will not. Rather, the Body of Christ will begin to move truly as a body, with a supernatural unity, power, and authority unparalleled since the first Pentecost.
God is forming a new wineskin in which He is going to pour forth New Wine.
The new wineskin will be a new unity within the Body of Christ marked by humility, docility, and obedience to the will of God.
If we are to be true forces of unity, let us be the first to seek inner reconciliation through penance. Let us forgive the wrongs we have suffered and put aside all anger and contention. Let us be the first to demonstrate the humility and purity of heart which are required to approach the splendor of God’s truth. In fidelity to the deposit of faith entrusted to the Apostles, let us be joyful witnesses of the transforming power of the Gospel! …In this way, the Church in America will know a new springtime in the Spirit… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Homily, New York City, April 19th, 2008
In a word, the new wineskin is the Heart of Mary being formed in her apostles. The consecration to, and devotion of her children to her Heart is the means by which the Holy Spirit forms her heart within us, and through her, Jesus. Just as 2000 years ago the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary when she was ready to conceive, so too now, Mary is helping to prepare this "new wineskin" so that the Spirit of Jesus may be manifest in us. The Church will then say with one voice,
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. (Gal 2:20)
THE UPPER ROOM OF MARY
How can we not see the extraordinary presence of Mary in our times as a sign for us? She has gathered us into the upper room of her heart. And just as she was present for the first Pentecost, so too her intercession and presence will help bring about a "new" Pentecost.
The Holy Spirit, finding his dear Spouse present again in souls, will come down into them with great power. He will fill them with his gifts, especially wisdom, by which they will produce wonders of grace… that age of Mary, when many souls, chosen by Mary and given her by the the most High God, will hide themselves completely in the depths of her soul, becoming living copies of her, loving and glorifying Jesus. —St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, n.217, Montfort Publications
My sense is that a fresh Pentecost will begin with the "warning" or "illumination of conscience" spoken of by the mystics and saints (see The Eye of the Storm). It will be a glorious time of strengthening, healing, and other miracles. Many of those for whom we have been presently offering prayers and supplications for God’s Mercy will have an opportunity to repent. Yes, pray, hope, and pray some more! And be prepared by remaining in a state of grace (not in mortal sin).
Those who have hardened their hearts and remain obstinate, however, will be subject to God’s judgment. That is, the illumination will also serve to further separate the weeds from the wheat. After this period of evangelization, prior to when Christ establishes a "thousand year" period of "rest", there may arise the "Beast and the False Prophet" (Rev 13:1-18) who will work great "signs and wonders" so as to distort the truth and reality of what the "illumination" was, and deceive those who have fallen away in this present season of "great apostasy" and who refuse to repent. As Jesus said, "he who does not believe is condemned already" (John 3:18).
Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:11:)
HEART OF ANTICIPATION
I pray now that we comprehend the urgency of our days. I pray we perceive why Mary begs us to intercede for souls. May we understand more deeply the tears which freely flow from her eyes in her images and statues throughout the world. There are many souls yet to be saved, and she counts upon us. Through our prayers and fasting, perhaps the days will be shortened as we pray, "Thy Kingdom come."
But there is also much joy in this beloved Mother! Mary is preparing us for the coming of the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit, in a new outpouring, and for the end of this season of fall and the arrival of the Great Harvest. My heart is filled with great anticipation and joy! I sense already, like the first heat of morning, the graces and power and love of God which will flow through these earthen vessels of ours. It will be like an "Indian Summer" before the winter comes, and the door of the Ark is shut.
It is the anticipation of the Triumph of Mary… the Triumph of the Church.
Glory and praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, my King, My God, and my All!! Praise Him brothers! Praise Him sisters! Praise Him all creation! These are the days of Elijah!
…let us implore from God the grace of a new Pentecost… May tongues of fire, combining burning love of God and neighbor with zeal for the spread of Christ’s Kingdom, descend on all present! —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Homily, New York City, April 19th, 2008
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim 1:7)
Be open to Christ, welcome the Spirit, so that a new Pentecost may take place in every community! A new humanity, a joyful one, will arise from your midst; you will experience again the saving power of the Lord. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, "Address to Bishops of Latin America," L’Osservatore Romano (English language edition), October 21, 1992, p.10, sec.30.
Come, Holy Spirit,
come by means of the powerful Intercession of
the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
your well beloved spouse.