Sunday, May 24, 2015
Send Thy Love in Flames of Fire to Destory Our Sins
Great Feast of the Descent of the All-Holy and Life-Creating Spirit
(also called Pentecost Sunday, Trinity Sunday, and Green Sunday)
We call the Son of God "Christ" ("Anointed One") because He is anointed with the Holy Ghost. This status as a Divine Person is something He held from all eternity and was made manifest to us while He walked with us on earth. Today we celebrate the same Holy Ghost coming down upon the Holy Apostles. This event is an anointing with the Holy Ghost and is the first celebration of the Sacrament of Chrismation. This took up the Church into a more perfect union with Christ, as the Bride of Christ was now also anointed with the Holy Ghost, participating as a creature in the Divine Life that Christ already had from all eternity.
The Holy Ghost comes to us through each of the Seven Mysteries of the Church, but most prominently in the Mystery of Chrismation, which gives us the power to bear witness to the Faith. That is what we see in the Holy Apostles when they were Chrismated (literally "Anointed", a word clearly related to the title "Christ"): they went out and bore witness to the faith, in the immediate term by preaching the truth unapologetically (which is what we are all called to do as Christians, to likewise bear witness) and in the long term by being tortured and, in the case of 11 of the 12, dying for the faith as martyrs, which is the most perfect witness.
Christ gave us only two commandments to live by: first, to love God above all else and second to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Holy Ghost is Divine Love, the Bond of Love that holds together the Father and the Son as One Divine Being, Proceeding from the Father and resting on the Son (lest we confuse the Divine Persons for each other, the Son is not the Origin and the Father is not the Christ, each is His own Divine Person). The Holy Ghost also is the Bond of Love that holds together Christ and His Bride, the Church, as well as holding together married couples as one as an icon of Christ and the Church (and I mean real couples, not lustful affairs that falsely pass for marriage in countries with more passions than sense *cough*Ireland*cough* [To be fair, if a man and a woman have a bond that is only physical and emotional passions without Divine Love, that isn't marriage either, just to be clear. Lust is a sin no matter who does it.]).
So the Holy Ghost guides us to accomplish the two most basic functions of a Christian: to love God as He loves us and to love our neighbor as God loves our neighbor. We read that we are to love neighbor as self, but we are first to love God as He loves us, so then when we love neighbor, we are to love that person as God loves that person. When we love God or others, we do not wish any worldly good on them. This world passes. Don't get attached. We just celebrated the Saturday of the Dead yesterday, a nice reminder that we won't stick around and no one is guaranteed a long life. We all exist for God, not this world. We love God as He loves us and we love neighbor as God loves that neighbor. We return to God the same Divine Love He shows us, and we show to neighbor the Divine Love that God is trying to show that person, so that Divine Love may flow through us, into those God has placed in our lives, and back to the Father who sent this Divine Fire to us through the Son. It is the same Divine Love manifesting Himself in multiple places in multiple ways, each in a different capacity according to the purpose God has for each of the people there. This is what we do. Having received Divine Love in flames of fire, we bear witness to this Love by enduring the difficulties of life. This is our following the footsteps of the Apostles and our participation in the Passion of Christ, so that we may participate in His Resurrection, a Passion and Resurrection He endured because of His love for us, because of the Anointing with Divine Love He had from all eternity. Let us do the same.
Troparion, Tone 8
Blessed are You, O Christ our God who revealed the fishermen as most wise by sending them the Holy Spirit; through them You caught the entire world. Loving Master, glory to You.
Kontakion, Tone 8
When the Most High descended and confused tongues,* He scattered the people;* but when He distributed the tongues of fire,* He called all to unity.* Therefore, with one voice,* let us praise the most Holy Spirit.
Grant to your servants, O Jesus, a prompt and firm comfort; for our spirits are filled with sadness. Do not abandon us in our affliction and do not keep yourself far from our sorely-tried hearts, but come to us in haste. Come close to us, O Lord, who are present everywhere; in your goodness, remain united to those who love You, as You were always with your apostles, so that, united with You, we may sing and glorify your most Holy Spirit.