Pentecost is the season of warmth and unity, of love and harvest. As Christmas was the season of light, and Easter the season of life, so Pentecost is the season of love and the fruitfulness of love.
Pentecost is the festival time of maturing as Christ’s mystical body here on earth. We, his members, are his harvest. And during this time we discover that the effect of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and on us is unifying and inspiring. We remember that the Spirit’s flame sent the apostles bursting out of the Upper Room ready to teach Christ in burning words.
The keynote of the Pentecost season is love. In this season of unity and culmination, the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water with their symbolic meanings appear. The imagery of water is carried over from Easter, for this too is a time for baptisms. And air is here, as breath and as wind—the wind of the Spirit who is the breathing forth of love between the Father and the Word. This is the wind whose effect is to shape human breath into speech; a gift of tongues which will speak words. And the wind of the Spirit will carry those words to all parts of the world. (John 3. 7-8)
The Holy Spirit appears under the form of another of the elements—in tongues of fire. (Acts 2.3-4). The picture appears as if the apostles were made into living torches. Like torches they not only gave light, but they also set aflame everything they touched. The Spirit invests people with tact. Tact is the ability to talk with others in “their own language”, to engage with others on their own terms.
The fourth element, earth and its fruitfulness, is the most important of all during Pentecost season. We think back to the time of Lent for the beginning of the long fruition. At Easter the warmth of joy caused the seed to break out of the dark ground. Gradually it grew and ripened, and then when the wind of the Spirit blew at last, it was ready for harvesting.
Union with Christ which issues in fruitfulness is the proper work of the Spirit of love, for love is a unifying force, and fruitfulness is a result of union. From this union springs our zeal to further the growth of the Kingdom of God.
Pentecost is the Season of the Holy Spirit.
…all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.
When the tongues of flame are in-folded into the crowned knot of fire
and the fire and the rose are one.”
T.S. Eliot (from “Little Gidding”)
From Transfigured World, by Sr. M. Laurentia, CSJ