The Third Glorious Mystery: The Holy Spirit Comes Upon the Apostles at Pentecost

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In the Third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary we contemplate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles at Pentecost. Our meditation on this mystery during Eastertide cannot help but turn our mind to the great Solemnity of Pentecost which we will soon celebrate.

During the Solemnity of Pentecost we are treated to one of the few remaining sequences in the Latin liturgy, often called the “Golden Sequence,” in which we implore the coming of the Holy Spirit. Why do we call for the Holy Spirit? What does the sending of the Holy Spirit offer us? The Pentecost sequence presents an answer worth reflecting on:

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,                   Come, Holy Spirit,
et emitte caelitus                          send forth the radiance
lucis tuae radium.                         of your heavenly light.

Sine tuo numine,                           Without your spirit,
nihil est in homine,                        nothing is in man,
nihil est innoxium.                         nothing that is harmless.

Lava quod est sordidum,              Cleanse what is unclean,
riga quod est aridum                     water what is dry,
sana quod est saucium.                heal what is wounded.

God sends His Spirit, and without this Spirit there is nothing in us which is not harmful. When we receive the Holy Spirit the effect is a “cleansing”, a “watering” of what is “dry,” a “healing” of what is “wounded.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas reminds us in various places how the divine processions within the Godhead, the procession of the Father, Son, and Spirit, are the cause of the different things found in creation. The entire Holy Trinity produces creation and we appropriate certain creative functions to certain persons in preference to others, even though we can attribute each function to all three persons.

We speak of God the Son as the Wisdom of the Father, according to whose pattern creation is modeled. Similarly, we speak of the Spirit as the Love shared between the Father and the Son, which produces all things as a gratuitous gift. Truly, without the Spirit of God, we find nothing in man. In fact, we do not even find man himself, because our very existence comes from the Spirit of God.

In the economy of salvation we encounter the distinctive mission of the Holy Spirit. Here we call the Holy Spirit the “Sanctifier” because all gifts of grace come from the Holy Spirit. As fallen creatures, wounded by original sin, we need God’s healing grace to perfect our fallen nature, and to enable us to obtain our supernatural destiny. The Spirit comes to us in a new way as the “gift of sanctification,” while the Son comes to us as the Author of this sanctification.

Therefore let us pray:

Veni Creator Spiritus,                     Come Creator Spirit,
mentes tuorum visita,                     Visit the minds of your servants.
imple superna gratia,                      Fill the hearts, which you created,
quae tu creasti, pectora.                 With heavenly grace.

Br. Joseph Selinger, O.P. | Meet the Student Brothers in Formation HERE