Who Keeps His Promises
By Phillip Baker
“God remembers forever His covenant… which He made with Abraham and swore to Isaac.”(Psalm 108:8-9)
Fifty days after the Passover, the Israelite people brought the “first-fruits,” or the first reapings, of their harvest to the priest as an offering to God on the day of Pentecost. They also offered, among other things, two unblemished lambs as a “communion sacrifice,” “a sweet smelling oblation to the Lord” (Lv 23:18). Everything in the Old Testament paves the way for the New; not without reason, then, God chose to send His Spirit upon the nascent Church and reveal Her to the world on Pentecost. The Spirit fell upon the Apostles gathered in prayer with Mary and they went out and proclaimed the truth that Jesus is the long-awaited, promised Messiah to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem. Those who heard were, in turn, baptized, becoming the first fruits of the Church, those coming to life in Christ (cf. Acts 2).
“Christ the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” joins His Church to Himself through His Spirit (1 Cor 15:20). The Holy Spirit unites the Church to Christ, making us into the Body of Christ to share in His Resurrection. We are united to Christ in the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit Who blew over the waters at Creation (cf. Gn 1:2), the same Spirit Who the Father blew into the nostrils of clay and made into Adam (cf. Gn 2:7), the same Spirit Who Ezekiel prophesied would blow into the flesh carcasses in the desert and from whom God would make a new people from a derelict Israel (cf. Ez 37:1-14). The Church, revealed on Pentecost, is that new Israel, constituted by the Holy Spirit as the Body of Christ and joined to the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit, Who is the living bond of love between the Father and the Son.
We are the children of the promises of the Old Testament. We are those to whom God promised, “I will put my spirit in you so that you may walk in my statutes… you will be my people and I will be your God” (Ez 36:27-8). “In all wisdom and insight, He has made known to us the mystery” of His plan “to sum up all things in Christ” (Eph 1:8, 10). The Spirit poured upon the Apostles at Pentecost in the breath of God and the Spirit of Wisdom that dwells still in us. God has given us the wisdom to understand that His promises to the Old Israel have not been abolished but fulfilled in us, the New Israel. Let us, then, trust in God more and love Him more because He is a God Who keeps His promises.
The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit; A Dwelling in Love
By Gretchen Erlichman
“Let us love him and cling to him with the charity that has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:5
Through the Holy Spirit, our sharing in the Divine life of the Trinity is actuated and the fruits of grace are made manifest in our souls. As a result of the indwelling the Holy Spirit within us, the love of the Trinity abides in us, while we are invited to dwell within that love. Our souls become His dwelling place; our souls become a place for His love to abide. St. Paul tells us: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy spirit within you, which you have from God?” (1 Cor. 6:19)
How amazing it is that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, has chosen to dwell within us, to allow our souls to be a temple of His love! This invitation to dwell within the love of the Trinity is extended to us through the gift if sanctifying grace. St. Thomas tells us that “sanctifying grace disposes the soul to possess the divine person; and this is signified when it is said that the Holy Ghost is given according to the gift of grace. Nevertheless the gift itself of grace is from the Holy Ghost; which is meant by the words, ‘the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost’ (Rom. 5:5).” (ST I-I Q.43, A.3)
Indeed, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within our souls is an intimate invitation to the love of the Trinity. In De Trinitate, Augustine points out that love, itself, is triune in nature: “love means someone loving and something loved and love.” (Trin. 8.10.14) This passage speaks to the mutuality between the love of the Trinity that is extended to us through the Holy Spirit and the love for God that exists in our souls through sanctifying grace. Of course, the love that we, in our humanity, have for God can never reach the heights to which we are extended His great love. Yet, this is a further testament of God’s ineffable affection and mercy for His children; a call to dwell in the greatest Love!
Yes, we are called to love! St. Paul draws our attention to the supremacy of this virtue of love: “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13) Let us ponder in our hearts this love, so that we may become ever capacious for the gift of grace and the love of the Trinity. Let us ask the question begged of us by St. Augustine: “Begin to love; you will be perfected. Have you begun to love? God has begun to dwell in you; love Him who has begun to dwell in you that by indwelling more perfectly He may make you perfected. ‘In this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.’. . . Ask your heart; if it is filled with love, you have the Spirit of God.” (Tract. 5.243) Do you love and dwell in Love?
COME PRAY WITH US!
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20
Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!
(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)
Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact
Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact