On the Friday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Seat and Symbol of His Burning Love for us; Love which moved Him to Die for us, in agony, on the Cross on Good Friday and also moved Him, at the Last Supper, to institute the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which, through Holy Orders and Father’s words and gestures, that once-for-all Sacrifice will be made present in our churches and offered until the end of time. Christ, of course, does not suffer any more; He just wishes us to join ourselves, in our own particular time and place, to His Sacrifice, and longs to give Himself to each of us in Communion.
If you are looking to better understand this Truth, perhaps to explain it to others, then one of the clearest explanations of the Three-in-Oneness of God is to be found in Frank Sheed’s book, Theology for Beginners, chapter 5, The Three Persons. This can be further simplified in order to explain it to our children; they also have a right to the Truth and we have a duty to do our best to teach them. For those who would postpone such teaching until children are ‘old enough’ (and who of us will ever be ‘old enough’ to understand it?!), you would do well to heed the words of a renowned educational psychologist, Jerome Bruner, who said that anything can be taught to anyone at any age as long as it is properly thought out first. Such forethought will be very beneficial to teachers as well as those being taught.
In this day and age this Doctrine may be a stumbling-block to be overcome in a journey of Faith. It takes Prayer and perseverance to break down barriers; we cannot allow our human limitations to be transferred to God. We have to make a ‘leap of faith’ over the barrier!
The image is 'The Holy Trinity' a miniature from the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany, Queen consort of France (1477-1514).
God the Father is depicted on the left, God the Son (Jesus) on the right, holding a book with seven seals open to the Alpha and Omega passage, and the Dove of God The Holy Spirit in the centre. The animal symbols of the Four Evangelists are depicted in the corners.
There is a very beautiful hymn, thought to have been written in the 9th Century AD, by Rabanus Maurus, which is very appropriate to this Solemnity and which, fortunately, has not been excluded from modern Catholic hymn books. In it we pray, “Come Holy Ghost, Creator, Come…….take possession of our Souls and make them all Thine own”.
On Pentecost Day we celebrate what is sometimes referred to as the Birthday of the Church, the day when, Confirmed by the Holy Spirit, the timid, fearful and, perhaps, uncertain Apostles, the first Bishops of the Catholic Church boldly emerged from their hiding place. Strengthened by the Gifts of the Spirit, the same Gifts given to each of us at our Confirmation, they gave, quite literally, their all. They received the following seven gifts and attributes:
Knowledge, again, helps us choose the path that will lead to God. It encourages us to avoid whatever will keep us from Him.
Reverence (Piety) helps us worship and serve God and inspires us to joyfully want to serve Him and others.
Wonder and Awe bring us to see how utterly great God is, and to love Him so much that we do not want to offend Him by anything we say or do. This Gift is also known as Fear of The Lord, which, if explained correctly, emphasises love and devotion which move us to obey God; far from fearing so Loving a Father, we fear the sins which can separate us from Him.
How childlike are we in our following of God? Let us pray anew for a renewal of these Gifts in our souls and in those of our young people who are growing up in an increasingly godless world.
Let us also pray for all our Confirmation Candidates who will be receiving this great Sacrament on
Friday 30 June 2017.
From St. Bart's
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church