Did Pentecost Awaken our Sacramental Identity?

Jun 03, 17 Did Pentecost Awaken our Sacramental Identity?

Our human condition is always dependent on some sense of initiation. Every time we awake from our slumber or engage a new activity it involves an initiatory process i.e. steps to begin, engage, exercise and then complete this process. When we apply this structural thought toward our Catholic faith we hopefully come to the realization that Catholicism was not established to be a compartmentalized expression of a certain religion. On the contrary, Catholicism was intimately established by Christ Himself to be the “wellspring” of His grace for all of humanity. Jesus promised to the send the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:15-17) to instill and awaken our senses i.e. faculties to Jesus Christ crucified and in turn the Church as the Bride of Christ.

When we prayerfully reflect on the significance of the Pentecost event it brings to clarity the love God has for us His Children and the depths of that love culminating in the Paschal Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ (Jn 15:26-27). The reality of this love is what sets the stage for the Holy Spirit to germinate the seeds of faith planted by Christ (Acts 2:1-4).

Understanding the gift of Pentecost

Christ’s ascension to Heaven and the Holy Spirit’s descent upon St. Peter, the Apostles and the faithful initiated our sacramental identity echoed by Christ (Jn 3:5 and Jn 6: 35ff.). The moment St. Peter receives the Holy Spirit he initiates his role as the Vicar of Christ with great vigor and rigor immediately reminding the faithful of what has transpired and what the future holds. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he begins to proclaim the Word of God and explain our responsibility in guarding His Word (Acts 2:22-36).

Our Catholic identity is intimately rooted in our openness to be guided by the Holy Spirit who is the advocate, consoler and paraclete. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies the Church (CCC 692). The sanctification I speak of is what leads and awakens our sacramental identity because it is rooted in Jesus Christ. Our awareness of who we are as disciples in Christ enables us to know and understand sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Awakening our Sacramental Identity

After Pentecost, the first sacramental act instituted by St. Peter after his initial proclamation of the Gospel to the disciples was Baptism (Acts 2:37-42). It is important to note that he directed all present to first repent reminding everyone of why Christ died on the Cross and the importance of shedding the ways of the past and embracing the new way of Christ.

The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ’s faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may “bear much fruit.” (CCC 737)

The awakening of our sacramental identity is one of the greatest gifts Christ left us by way of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost not only established the birth of the Church on earth, it initiated our identity and response in Christ as the Church (CCC 1102). Pentecost not only signifies the birth of the Church it enlists us to live out our Pentecostal identity which is Catholic in word and deed. Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim “the mighty works of God,” and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age. Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn. (CCC 1287) Our response of faith based on the revelation of Christ it to live out the sacramental life in the hope of placing ourselves before the throne of God.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love. Send forth they Spirit and they shall be created. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us Pray

O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



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