Every Generation Needs Pentecost


Every generation needs to experience Pentecost for itself. It needs God’s Spirit and it needs it in its own particular way.

Indeed scripture assures us that the Holy Spirit is not a generic force, one-size-fits-all, but a person, a relationship, a Spirit that has “particular manifestations” and gives itself to each of us uniquely so that the understanding and strength that we receive are geared to help us in our own particular struggles. If this is true, if Pentecost is so differentiating, an important question arises: Where in life today do we most need the Holy Spirit to transform us? What are our peculiar spiritual disabilities?

What Pentecost needs to pour into us today is the spirit of resiliency, the spirit of forgiveness, the spirit of patience, the spirit of long-suffering, the spirit of understanding, and the spirit to not go jogging or bowling alone.

We need too a Pentecost that can help us cope with the idealogies and fundamentalism (social and ecclesial) that constantly beset us like so many nasty viruses. We are forever infected with ideologies, be they of the left or the right, that block us from living vital parts of the gospel. Whether we rationalize it as protecting proper values, defending a divine creed, or advocating an issue of justice, over and over again we compromise the hospitality, charity, respect, catholicity, and tolerance called for by the gospels, all in the name of sacred cause. Our hearts, unlike God’s, are forever wanting to lodge in just one room. We need a Pentecost to mellow us with the spirit of mildness, stretch us with the spirit of catholicity, and especially fill us with the spirit of hospitality so as to take us beyond the hardness that we rationalize as creed or cause.

— Pentecost reflections by my old friend Ron Rolheiser, writing about Pentecost last year.

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3 thoughts on “Every Generation Needs Pentecost

  1. What an incredibly balanced set of observations! Yes, if anything is “the enemy,” it is ideology. I cherish the red liturgical vestment color of the day for the image of birthing… blood and water all over the place amid placenta and other sacred things. It is messy, but it is beautiful because it is what happens with new life. The Jesus revolution began on Pentecost for his body, the church, to claim their identity as the visible encounter, the living sacrament of the Body of Christ. We must be born anew every day to this wonderful call. It is as disturbing and as awesome now as it has ever been. Bob Cushing

  2. A true Pentecost experience is available to all. It is a profound experience of being “totally loved” without reservation. It is what Pentecostals and Charasmatics call “Being baptized in the Holy Spirit. ” It was the most powerful experience of my life. It is a total immersion in Love from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. At the time I could only express it as a preview of heaven.

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