Pentecost concludes the Easter season, 50 days called “a feast of weeks” that celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit, Father Michael Van Sloun said.
And one of the great things about the Holy Spirit is “it’s God’s constant presence with us,” he said. The Holy Spirit brings inspiration, wisdom and enlightenment, he said.
Father Van Sloun, rrecently retired from St. Bartholomew’s service at Wayzata, is acting director of clergy staff in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and author of The Column of the Catholic Spirit “Foundations of Faith.” He recently joined Practicing Catholic radio show host Patrick Conley to discuss the meaning and symbolism of Pentecost and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is often associated with two sacraments in particular, baptism and confirmation. Father Van Sloun said some students preparing for confirmation ask, “Why do we have to do this again? We have already received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Father Van Sloun told them, “But now you are going to receive an intensified version of the Holy Spirit. You are going to have an adult faith commitment that is different from the one you had as a child. You need more than you had then.
Confirmation students will be “reinfused” by the Holy Spirit, he said. It’s similar to people needing to plug in their cell phones overnight to charge them.
“That’s why Jesus went to pray after a day of ministry,” he said. “He had to be reinvigorated as he went along.”
Father Van Sloun said that when he offered the anointing to the sick, he was “calling on the gift of the Holy Spirit” to accompany the person through the illness so that their faith would be strong, “so that they would be ready to face the Lord.”
The gift of the Spirit comes in all the sacraments, he said, “but the Holy Spirit gives us a different grace, an additional grace beyond baptism in each of the others.”
Bible verses relating to the coming of the Holy Spirit are usually quoted in the Acts of the Apostles – such as the disciples gathered together in one place, and tongues of fire appearing and resting on each of them – or the Gospel according to John, chapter 20: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you. After saying this, he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ »
Another reference tends not to be mentioned as often, Father Van Sloun said. At the Last Supper, Jesus said to his disciples, “I will not leave you orphans. I will send you the Holy Spirit to be with you always. And in John 19, Jesus is on the cross, says Father Van Sloun, “and the way John concludes the story is that Jesus has breathed his last. So, as he is dying, he breathes out and puts his breath on us and gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit from the cross, so that it is absolutely uninterrupted, the gift of the Holy Spirit, from his life at the coming of the Holy Spirit.”
Conley asked Father Van Sloun why Pentecost is considered “the birthday of the Church.” To hear his response and listen to the full interview, tune in to this episode of “Practicing Catholic,” which begins at 9 p.m. April 15 on Relevant Radio 1330 AM and repeats at 1 p.m. April 16 and 2 p.m. April 17.
Produced by Relevant Radio and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the latest show also includes interviews with Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who discusses his favorite traditions and tips for fully engaging in the Easter season; and Mickey Nickelson, President of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, who describes the ACCW and its upcoming 89and agreement.
Listen to all the interviews after they air on:
Category: Practicing Catholic