Vigil of Pentecost, May 30, 1857
All the mysteries of the life and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ had been fulfilled. Over the forty days, he had strengthened this growing Church in the faith, leaving it with the assurance that he would remain with it until the end of the age. What did it then lack, my good Mothers and Daughters? Something essential to encourage it and affirm its always timid and hesitant faith: the presence of the divine Spirit, of this Spirit of strength which was to overcome that timidity of which the Gospel says: “The doors were closed for fear of the Jews.” That Spirit of truth and of light, which clarified their intelligence, and was to initiate into the truths of Faith that crowd which had come to Jerusalem from all nations.
Note, my dear Mothers and Sisters, the remarkable transformation in the Apostles. St. Peter, who until that moment had remained in hiding; who had disowned his Master before the word of a servant; he whose tongue had been so incorrect that they recognized him by his Galilean slang; and, well, he hardly received the Holy Spirit and at once he was not the same person. He speaks with security to an immense multitude. He converted three thousand persons with his first speech and five thousand with his second. And note also the action of the Holy Spirit in the soul of the new Christians. They recognize their vast ingratitude toward Jesus, whom they had crucified. They understood their great faults of the past, and, far from becoming disheartened or discouraged, they ask with simplicity and humility: “What can we do?” Short words, but they are the true expression of good will.
Tomorrow we also will be given this same Spirit if we open our heart with fidelity and humility. Let’s look at the different periods of our life, when we have received more fullness, especially in the particular circumstances of our religious life, when a fuller gift of ourselves has particularly attracted us. Let’s look with humility and without discouragement whether we have been careful to develop the Spirit’s gifts to us. No, the Holy Spirit cannot work in a soul that does not respond to his inspiration with gentle fidelity, this fidelity to the smallest things in every moment. Our vocation asks us to free ourselves completely. See the Apostles after the coming of the Holy Spirit, faithful to the words of Our Lord: “Go, teach all nations.” They were to extend the faith to the universe despite the difficulties, contradictions, and torments that they endured, marking with their blood the truths they announced. And, my dear Mothers and Daughters, one cannot win souls without being stripped of oneself, of one’s own interests, by rising above the miseries and susceptibilities of self-love. Let us humble ourselves so often to put our small interests in the place of the glory of the Heart of Jesus. Let us remember that the Church has the right to expect this from our little Society, that it is indeed expected, as the Supreme Pontiff lately said that he “has relied on us.” Let us pray with devotion and humility that the Spirit of truth descend over us and make in us a new creation.