Preview of Pentecost and Mary’s special role Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Thursday, May. 13, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

As we work our way through May, through this Month of Mary, our hearts, with Mary, continue to rejoice at the Resurrection of Jesus and our eyes look to Pentecost. In as much as we are always looking forward to Pentecost, to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon us, we are with Mary and so, too, with the Church.

The Church, this past weekend, gave us some readings which, in a concealed way, offer a marvelous anticipation of the Feast of Pentecost. The whole "icon," the image, of Pentecost was concealed in our readings this past week. How might that be?

In the Second Reading (Rev 21:10-14, 22-23) we hear about the "heavenly Jerusalem" and how the wall there is built on the foundation of the Twelve Apostles -- they are the bedrock of that which contains the whole of the heavenly city. And then we hear, in the Gospel (Jn 14:23-29), that the Holy Spirit will teach us everything that we need to know and will remind us of everything that Jesus said and did. Looking back, we see in the First Reading (Acts 15:1-2, 22-29), those marvelous words of the early Apostolic Church, "it seems good to the Holy Spirit, and also to us."

In that First Reading, the Apostles had taken council, they had prayed, but once they made their decision, they could be confident in attributing that decision, not to themselves alone, but to the Holy Spirit -- "it seems good to the Holy Spirit, and therefore to us. . ." that we solve this particular problem of disunity among Jewish and Gentile followers of Christ. "It seems good to the Holy Spirit, and so also to us" that we solve this problem in this way. Those early Apostles knew the message that the Lord had handed on to them at Pentecost, and they realized the authority they had to speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles lived and died for what they spoke on behalf of the Holy Spirit.

Mystery of Pentecost

The mystery of what occurred in that upper room at Pentecost, the mystery of the Holy Spirit descending in tongues of fire and giving so many beautiful gifts, stirs our minds to think about the walls of the Heavenly Jerusalem and its foundations. When we think about that early Apostolic statement, "it seems good to the Holy Spirit and also to us. . .," we realize the mission that the Holy Spirit has, from the Father and the Son, to teach us all the Truth and to remind us of everything that Jesus said and did.

As we meditate on the readings of this past week, the icon of Pentecost may, at first, be concealed, but then, in its Truth, becomes more and more concretely revealed.

Mary, who loves perfectly

Of course, Our Lady was present at Pentecost, among the Apostles, as the Queen of the Apostles. She was right in the middle of Pentecost. And the readings remind us of that too -- as our Holy Father very carefully pointed out this past Sunday. John's Gospel says, "If you love me, I will come to you and I will make my dwelling place within you." Of whom is that spoken more truthfully than of Mary? She loved the Lord with her whole mind, her whole heart, and her whole strength. She loved her neighbor as herself. And the Lord came to her and made his dwelling place within her womb.

That's how much she loved. She was the greatest human being who ever lived, the greatest Christian, the greatest disciple of Jesus Christ -- Our Lady, Queen of the Universe, Queen of Apostles, Mother of Christ and Mother of Priests. She loves perfectly, conceived without original sin, and so God came to her and perfectly made His dwelling place within her. And that is why she is the Mother of the Church and the model of the Church. In so far as we love, God comes and makes His dwelling place within us.

This is perhaps even a more fitting point in this season of First Communions. Our First Communicants become the ones to whom, because they love, the Lord comes and within whom makes His dwelling place in that unique Eucharistic way. In that special Eucharistic way our First Communicants and all those who receive the Eucharist worthily are with Mary and like Mary. What a beautiful sense of thanksgiving should rise from our hearts, to the Lord, for that great gift which is offered to all of us, and which is given for the very first time to our First Communicants this May.

Mary, the memory of the Church

Again, through the Apostles, the Gospel reminds us that Jesus will teach us all the truth, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and remind us of every thing that He said and did. The primary repository of all the Truth and of everything that Jesus said and did is our Blessed Mother. She is, as our Holy Father has said, the "memory of the Church."

Mary is the perfect memory of what Jesus said and did, and of all the Truth -- that's why we call her "Seat of Wisdom." Mary is the repository, the human person who incarnates all the Truth that Jesus said and did. And out of His love for us, Jesus comes and makes his dwelling within us -- not completely, the way He did in the Queen of the Universe -- but in a mystical, real way, especially through the Eucharist.

So, at Pentecost we have the Apostles gathered with Mary right in the center, and the power of the Holy Spirit unleashed upon them, so that Jesus can come and dwell with us, teach us the whole truth, and remind us of everything that Jesus said and did. All of that is beautifully concealed and then revealed in the readings of this past week. And all of that we will celebrate in the coming days, on Pentecost.

As we look towards Pentecost as a Church, let us never forget -- especially during this month of May -- the very special place that Mary our mother has in the history of our salvation. Let us never forget her uniqueness. And let us never forget that it was a woman -- the woman -- Mary, the Mother of God, who was chosen to be the greatest Christian, the perfect disciple, and the greatest human being who ever lived. Let us thank God for her and for all the great women in the Church, especially our consecrated Sisters, our mothers, and our grandmothers, who remind us in our world today of how Mary herself said and did things every single day.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Christ is Risen! Praised be Jesus Christ!