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Pentecost Miracle, Waldburg-Wolfegg Collection at Wolfegg Castle, 15th century

… As gentle as the evening breeze …

For all of us, the feast of Pentecost is a reminder that the Lord sends us, daily, his Promised Gift, who enables us to embrace and to live what otherwise would be impossible to human weakness … the gospel without compromise.

I cannot let the tremendous feast of Pentecost pass without writing to you about the Advocate, the Consoler, the Father of the poor, the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity. Who is he, this Holy Spirit?

Pause for a minute. Try to shut out all the noises within and outside of you. Try with his grace to catch a tiny glimpse of the awesome, incomprehensible, and passionate love of the Father and the Son for one another — so intense that it becomes “visible”, and begets the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Spirit of fire, the Spirit of love.

Inner Listening

I wrote once, in Advent, that the pure of heart will hear the clear sound of a donkey’s bells, if they listen.

He is a holy donkey, because he is the donkey who carries the mother with the Lord in her womb.

Now again I say: listen with your hearts and your souls. Listen with an ear attuned, with expectation, desire, and love; and you will hear the coming of the wind of the Holy Spirit. This wind is mightier than any tornado. He comes with a speed that cannot be measured. Yet he is as gentle as the evening breeze — swift, immense, harmless to nature and to man.

Not only is he not harmful, his passage brings light and warmth, peace and wisdom. He brings fortitude, long-suffering, charity, faith, and hope — all the gifts and virtues that are his to give.

If you try to love God, if your faces are lifted up to his face, if your mind, heart, and soul seek him instead of your own self and your own will, you are bound to hear the approach of the mighty wind.

Blessed are they who do hear, and I fervently hope that you are among them. Why does he come? Haven’t you already received him in confirmation? Hasn’t he made you, once and for all, a lover of Christ, a soldier of the Lord? Hasn’t he prepared you already for all of the trials to come, even to martyrdom?

Yes, he has done that, but like God the Father and God the Son, the Holy Spirit knows our weaknesses.

So, sent by the Father through the Son, he comes every moment of our lives to help us to become saints, lovers of God, for he is the Sanctifier. He comes to console us. Who is there among us who does not need his consolation and fortitude to face another day in the Apostolate with love, and not with the selfishness that kills?

He comes to make clear, through the gifts of piety and counsel, the verities that Christ taught and that we are so apt to forget or rationalize away. He bestows both of these treasures so that what we have learned through one gift we may pass on through the other. For true love is like that: it desires to make the Beloved known, and the Holy Spirit helps us to do that.

The Father of the poor (of whom we are the poorest) comes to make us rich. Do not be discouraged when we speak to you of being poor. Rejoice!

When we speak about our poverty, we speak theologically. While we creatures of God are poor — because we have nothing of our own — at the same time we are rich because we are created in the image and likeness of God. Above all, we are rich because God loves us! Thus, we are both poor and rich.

But we certainly need the Father of the poor to make us see how rich we are. So, he comes.

During a discussion about the Holy Spirit, someone asked me what wisdom is. For a moment I was lost for an answer, but the answer is so simple that I was astonished anyone should ask. Wisdom is the simplicity of love. Those who really love God and others — love them as they should be loved — are wise!

They are not wise with their own wisdom, but with the wisdom of God … who always comes to dwell in a soul which has so died to itself that it offers him space to dwell in. If God dwells in you and acts in you, how can you fail to be wise? And to acquire this wisdom, all you have to do is to die to self.

I have many more thoughts on the Holy Spirit, but perhaps I write too much. I have deluged you lately with letters, but perhaps you do not realize that they are not so much letters as a cry of my heart.

I love you so much and, like St. Paul, I am jealous for you. I want to lead you holy and unblemished to God. My love wants to lead you to true happiness, notwithstanding the fact that at every step I meet with nothing but reverses, indifference, and certainly few results.

But then again, this judgment might seem harsh to you, negative and depressing, or even unfair. Here is where the ability to communicate comes in.

What do I mean exactly, when I say that I meet with few results? Do I mean that any act or word of mine can change any one of you, can bring you closer to God? The general answer is no!

In theology, the answer would be a partial yes, because the grace of God often comes to us through others, and each of us can be a channel of grace for others. But this is not exactly what I mean. Again, words fail me.

Maybe I am too poetic. Maybe my Russian mind doesn’t work like yours. I doubt that. I think that all human minds are similar. But often I see in pictures — pictures that break my heart because I love you and I love God.

I see you, his chosen ones. Your hearts are filled with gratitude, your minds (when not clouded by emotions) absorbing well the infinite number of benefits you have received from God through this Apostolate. But I see you also drawing a line, limiting how far you will go towards God.

There he is, standing in front of you with his arms open, waiting for you to surrender, to throw yourself into his arms, to stop doing your will and to begin doing his. There you stand, before some imaginary line that you have made yourself, and you won’t move any farther.

Why? Who can tell? Who can judge? Certainly not I. All I can do is pray, continue to try to help you, and be patient. This is what I truly try to do. But of course, I am inadequate. Every person has a free will. What then?

The answer is: the Advocate, the Consoler, the Enlightener, the Gift and Virtue Giver, the Father of the poor. He and he alone can move your will.

So let us prepare for Pentecost. Remember that in the life of a Christian, every day is a Pentecost. Every day the mighty Wind comes, if only we call upon him.

Every day the tongues of flame descend upon us if we realize our need for them and desire them with a great desire.

So this humble, little letter is good for any day of the year … for every hour, every minute, every second.

Restoration May/June 2024

Pentecost Miracle, Waldburg-Wolfegg Collection at Wolfegg Castle, 15th century