On the day of Holy Pentecost we will talk about how precious and saving the grace-filled actions of the Holy Spirit are for us Christians. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles is an event of the greatest importance. It is the beginning of the strong, powerful impulse, thanks to which the whole of the ancient, decrepit pagan world fell, collapsed, giving way to the religion of light, the truth of truths.
Indeed, everything that had previously reigned over the world: the all-encompassing philosophy, the exalted and glorified polytheism—all the proud pagan inventions—collapsed from the touch of humble preachers of the Christian religion, which in the eyes of the pagan sages was a pitiful delusion and foolishness (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18). Such, my friends, is the power of the Holy Spirit, and its fruits have found beautiful expression in the well-known prayer to the Holy Spirit: “O King of Heaven.” In it the Holy Spirit is called, “Comforter, Giver of life, Treasury of good gifts.”
What wonderful, sublime and profound names! We often hear in church: “Every soul is enlivend by the Holy Spirit”; and indeed, my friends, the almighty power of God the Holy Spirit lives and exists in the whole immense world of God. In particular, each of us sees this at the onset of spring, when the wholesome sun begins to warm the earth with its warmth. Then everything is renewed and revived—the earth is covered with verdant grass and various flowers; all God’s creation, as it were, awakens from sleep, rejoices and glorifies the Creator of the world. And all this is accomplished by the almighty power of God the Holy Spirit. King David says, Thou shalt send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created: and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth (Ps. 103:30). If the human soul comes from God, it can find its complete joy and peace only in God. But sinful “filthiness” alienated the human soul from God, and from that time on the human soul began to wither, dry up, become exhausted, and at the same time experience discontent, sorrow, longing, and a desire for something else, something better. This sorrowful and painful state continued for a long time. But then Christ came to earth. Having accomplished the work of our redemption on earth and having ascended into Heaven, He sent down to us the Spirit of God so He could revive, restore, and regenerate us. From the Acts of the Holy Apostles we know how the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and by what miraculous actions His regenerating power was revealed in their souls. In fact, simple fishermen, the Apostles became strong and fearless preachers of the Gospel truth; out of love for God and their neighbors they endured numerous calamities and sufferings and sealed their preaching with martyrdom. And on the other hand, Who guided the Apostles when they wrote the Epistles? Who inspired the pastors and teachers of the Church at the Ecumenical Councils in solving various issues of the Christian faith and good life? The same life-giving Holy Spirit.
All of us, my friends, participate in this effect of the life-giving goodness of the Holy Spirit in various experiences of our spiritual rebirth, renewal and sanctification. The means by which the Holy Spirit is communicated to us are fervent prayer and the Church sacraments. Our whole life, my friends, from beginning to end is accompanied by the great gifts of the Holy Spirit; and yet, in all its actions it must consist and be lived under the influence of the blessing, sanctifying and life-giving grace of the Holy Spirit.
Call on the Holy Spirit—always keep your hearts pure so as not to drive away the Holy Spirit from them but to attract Him.
“O Lord, Who at the third hour didst send down Thy Most Holy Spirit upon Thy apostles: take Him not away from us, O Good One, but renew Him in us who pray to Thee.”
May 26, 1914.