Praying the Gospel through the Rosary: Descent of the Holy Spirit

Submitted Deacon Jim Krupka

At the Last Supper, Jesus promised that He would send the Spirit. He told His disciples, “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.” (John 14:26). The disciples needed the strength of the Spirit. Scripture describes their rapid conversion from a group huddled in fear to a group who boldly went out to bring the world to Christ. The apostles were properly afraid. They hid in a locked house, fearing they would suffer the same fate as Christ. But soon after the Resurrection, the Spirit came with the force of wind and fire. We read in Acts of the Apostles, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly, a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). Our Church teaches us that this Spirit is genuinely divine as God. From our Catechism, the “‘Holy Spirit is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son. The Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in the Baptism of her new children” (CCC, 691).

The Descent of the Spirit had a profound impact on the disciples. When the Spirit came as a strong wind and tongues of fire, the disciples were “filled” with the Holy Spirit. Meditate on what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When we celebrate Confirmation, we believe that the Spirit comes to individuals through the Sacrament. At that moment of Confirmation, we don’t see fire or feel strong wind. What do we feel? What did we get at our Confirmation? We believe we get gifts of the Spirit that we list as wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. Ponder how you experience these gifts in your life. I suspect most of us would say that the Holy Spirit did not come down and make our lives easier in an instant. The world of the apostles did not instantly change after they received the Spirit either. Most eventually suffered a martyr’s death. The real gift of the Holy Spirit is the wisdom and courage to do God’s will. Meditate on how to respond to God’s will in a more powerful, Spirit-filled way.