The Richness of Pentecost

English translation of ‘Pinksterweelde

by Rolf Nepi Willemsen, O.Carm.

 


The Richness of Pentecost

Translation of the conferences, held at the Holy Land Foundation, Pentecost 1936. [1] For the original text see: Pinksterweelde


Solemnity. Totus in orbe terrarum mundus exultat, sed et supernae virtutes. Profusis gaudiis.[2]

Closing of the Easter season.

The sun has risen with Easter and is now in its climax.

All light, all life.

Emitte Spiritum [tuum] et creabuntur et renovabis faciem terrae.[3]

  1. Pentecostal waters
  2. Pentecostal flowers
  3. Pentecostal fires
  4. Pentecostal miracles


[2]

Pentecostal waters

Pentecost is the descent of God the Holy Spirit upon us, within us. The coming of the great King. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit with the fullness of his grace.

The first thing we need is the cleansing, the purification.

Our hearts are like a home. The preparation of our inner home.

Repent, John preached. And he baptized whoever came to him.

Thou shalt be baptized with the Holy Spirit.[4]

The baptism of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.[5]

So, baptism in the Church is most intimately connected with the feast of Pentecost, also with the feast of Easter, but as the Easter season is concluded and crowned with Pentecost, so the day before Pentecost is the last day before the solemn Baptism. Easter is over. Another day and it will be Pentecost. And we have not yet been baptized, i.e. we are not yet pure. A commemoration of our Baptism.

This morning the baptismal font was consecrated again. Solemn Baptism.

Carried to church on the arms of other people.

Let me be your Peter today and carry you back to the baptismal font. Make yourself small, let yourself be led. The priest comes to communicate God's grace. Baptism - Confession - Holy Communion. Flow of God's grace. Immerse yourself in that stream.

Jesus washed the feet of his apostles.

If I do not wash thine feet, thou shalt have no part with me. Jesus must remove the last blemishes. He who has bathed needs only his feet to be washed. That is what Jesus must do.[6]

Asperges me Domine et mundabor. lavabis me et super nivem dealbabor.[7]

Holy water. Asperges me.

The priest washes his hands before Holy Mass, under the Holy Mass, before putting on the sacred vestments.

The white baptismal robe. The white cloak. The white veil.

The white linen of the altar. The albe of the priest.

The way of purgation: the dying life. The mortification.

I forsake. Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself.[8]

Elisha in the desert to the three kings: Fossas et fossas.[9]

In our hearts, too. Then we can defeat the enemy.


[3]

Pentecostal flowers

The sun is in her zenith. The flowers are budding. The firstfruits of the harvest are brought in and offered to God. Pentecost the feast of flowers, the feast of May, the feast of the first harvest, the first fruits. These feasts, celebrated of course, are concentrated on Pentecost, because that was the most beautiful, the most meaningful day for it.

Pentecost is the feast of God's grace, of light and sun.

Pentecostal flowers, especially those flowers, which bloom at that time, firstfruits. Remarkable, that the name, applied to many flowers, is mainly used for the crucifer pratensis.[10]

When I was little, they had her special charm for me; the daisy and the buttercup were there before, were almost always there, they did not make such an impression. But the Pentecostal flowers were a special beauty just for this time of year. The meadows were full of them and in large bunches we took them home. Gathered together in a bunch, they were like the purple lilac. But the beauty is their simplicity, the spreading of it all over the field, small flowers, but their abundance a feast for the eyes.

An image of the flowers of virtue in everyday life.

The way of enlightenment, of illumination. Flowers in the book of life. Flowers along the path of life.

In some regions the rain of roses in the church symbolizes the descent of the Holy Spirit. Peony Pentecostal rose. So the descent of the Holy Spirit must be the communication of his gifts and graces, of virtues as the first fruit.

Our harvest festival. Which are our first fruits to bring to God today. Can we celebrate in foliage huts or do we lack the flowers.

The garden of the heart. The heavenly gardener.

A sower went out to sow his seed. Hast Thou not sown a good seed in thy field? A hostile man has done so.[11]

Every tree that does not bear fruit in time must be hewn out and thrown into the fire.[12]

The tree must stand in the soil soaked with the water of the Holy Spirit. It will bear fruit in its time.[13]

Our meadows must be full of Pentecostal flowers. Crucifer pratensis. So small and simple, but abundant. Life must be full of our little acts of virtue.


[4][14]

Pentecostal fires

The Holy Spirit descended in the form of fiery tongues. Pentecost is a feast of fire. Fire must be kindled. Ignem veni mittere in terram.[15]

The liturgical color is red. A new indication of fire.

Burning love must bring the feast of Pentecost.

We must be purified like the gold in the crucible.[16]

All the wrong elements must be removed.

Pure love must live in our hearts.

Pentecostal fire: from all sides the dead brushwood is brought in to make a big bonnet. High, the flames must flare up to show that everything that has no value for eternal life is burned and consumed.

The fire gives warmth and radiance. It is beneficial.

In our cold world, we must maintain the fire.

It does more than just give warmth, it in turn ignites fire. There must be fire despite the cold jets of water that try to extinguish it.

There must be inspiration, glowing zeal.

The fire gives light. Docebit vos omnem veritatem.[17]

In lumine tuo videbimus lumen.[18]

The sun is high in the sky, must ignite our sacrifice as once the sacrifice of Elias.[19] How long do you limp in two directions. If Jehovah is God, follow Him.[20]

The burning blackberry bush. Burning and not consuming.[21]

Image of Mary. Image of us too.

For Ruusbroec the image of the union of man with God: the iron in the fire. It retains its independence, yet it is completely one with the fire.[22]

The wet wood in the fire generates a suffocating smoke. It hisses and spatters until it is dry and then enters into the fire.[23] The workings of the Holy Spirit meet with much resistance in us, but if we leave ourselves under the workings of the Holy Spirit, our unification with God will gradually be accomplished.

Were not our hearts burning within us while he opened the scriptures to us on the way.[24] And yet this was not the full communication. It is better for you that I go.[25]Mane nobiscum Domine.[26] I will send you another Comforter.[27] Shouldn't our hearts be inflamed in a brighter glow.


[5][28]

Pentecostal miracles

The two great miracles of the Feast of Pentecost are the transformation[29] of the fearful, despondent Apostles into fearless, heroic men, who openly admit that they are more interested in the word of God than in that of humans. And the second, that they received the gift of giving testimony to the Good News of the Gospel, so that all could understand them.

Fear kept them imprisoned in the upper room. They prayed. Their prayer was their first good deed. Without me Thou canst do nothing. They were united in prayer with Mary the mother of the Lord.[30] Their trust was not betrayed. Spiritus ubi vult spirat.[31] God's ways are not the ways of man.[32]Infirmos hujus mundi elegit ut confundat fortia.[33] How often do we see the Church failing in our judgment, not adapted to the time. Ourselves inadequate as Saul and Gideon. God chooses and bestows His invincible power. How many saints weak, illiterate, incompetent in the eyes of the world worked miracles because of their faith in God. Martha, Martha, turbaris erga plurima.[34] We have to look more to God. Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat.[35] Thou stands before difficult things. Pray with Mary the Mother of the Lord. Turn your eye to God and ask Him what you should do. ln lumine tuo videbimus lumen.[36]

We live in a time of radicalism. Let us not be overwhelmed by the radicals of worldly wisdom but let us be radical as well. The axe to the root. Elias in the desert, despondent. Ambulavit in fortitudine cibi illius usque ad montem Dei Horeb.[37] The Spirit of God came upon him.

We must continue to bear witness. Loquebantur variis linguis.[38] There are many languages. No language is better understood than the language spoken by example. The spoken word is something, but it needs, Our Lord says it Himself in the Gospel, the confirmation of the deed. Words awaken, examples attract. The gift of language is much, but it is only a small part of human witnessing. When we are united with God, He confirms our word by His grace. Domino confirmante sequentibus signis.[39] Our deeds must bear witness to God. Also our words in our surroundings, in what we say and write, but especially in the line of conduct we follow. With the spirit of God animated.

Driven by the Spirit of God. Storm. In one of the psalms of the Matins the idea of how the Ark of the Covenant was driving the Jews through the Red Sea. [40] The sensus catholicus.


  1. Typescript, NCI TBA OP89.025, 5 pages. On the top of the first page is written: ‘Conferenties H. Landstichting Pinksteren 1936 (31 Mei)’ - Conferences Holy Land Foundation. Pentecost 1936 (31 May).
  2. From the Preface of Pentecost.
  3. Psalm 104:30.
  4. Cf. Mark 1:4-8.
  5. Cf. Mark 1:10.
  6. Cf. John 13:2-10.
  7. Antiphon sung before Mass, during the blessing of the people with holy water. Cf. Psalm 51:9.
  8. Cf. Mat 16:24.
  9. 2 Kings 3:16.
  10. This flower is also called cardamine pratensis - Cuckoo flower.
  11. Cf. Mat 13:1-30.
  12. Mat 7:19.
  13. Cf. Psalm 1:3.
  14. In the archives this is erroneously page 5.
  15. Luke 12:49.
  16. Cf. Psalm 12:7 and Prov 17:3.
  17. ‘He will teach you the full truth'. A combination of John 14:26 and 16:13.
  18. Psalm 36:10.
  19. Cf. 1 Kings 18.
  20. 1 Kings 18:21.
  21. Cf. Exod 3:1-6.
  22. Cf. John Ruusbroec, ‘Vanden seven sloten’.
  23. Cf. John of the Cross, ‘Living Flame of Love’.
  24. Luke 24:32.
  25. John 16:7.
  26. Luke 24:29.
  27. John 14:16.
  28. In the archives this is erroneously page 4.
  29. Titus Brandsma uses the Dutch word ‘omschepping’ which is literally ‘trans-creation’.
  30. Cf. Acts 1:12-14.
  31. John 3:8.
  32. Cf. Isa 55:8-12.
  33. 1 Cor 1:17.
  34. Luke 10:41.
  35. Phil 4:13.
  36. Psalm 36:10.
  37. 1 Kings 19:8.
  38. Cf. Acts 1:6-11.
  39. Cf. Mark 16:20.
  40. Titus Brandsma refers to Psalm 68.


English Translation: Rolf Nepi Willemsen, O.Carm.

Published: Titus Brandsma Instituut 2020