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Pentecost retreat offers opportunity to know God the Spirit

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A scene from Pentecost is depicted in a stained-glass window at St. Mary of the Isle Church in Long Beach, N.Y. The feast of Pentecost, celebrated May 31 in 2020, commemorates the Holy Spirit descending upon the apostles 50 days after Christ’s resurrection. Pentecost also marks the end of the Easter season. PHOTO: CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz

Overnight event will ask for outpouring for Pentecost

By Dominic Lawrence

A Pentecost retreat asking for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be held in Varroville on the weekend of 22-23 May.

The aim of the Christian life is to acquire the Holy Spirit – so says St Seraphim of Sarov. What does this mean? Is it really possible for us in the twenty-first century? And if so, how is it done?

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The approaching solemnity of Pentecost provides clues to answering these questions, as it reminds us how essential the Holy Spirit is. It calls us to remember the apostles, sitting fearfully in the upper room behind locked doors, even though they have witnessed the greatest event in the history of the world: the resurrection of Jesus, which has won for them their salvation. It is only when they receive the Holy Spirit that the apostles are transformed, boldly proclaiming the good news.

This feast, then, should prompt us to ask ourselves: am I a pre-Pentecost disciple, fearful and closed in on myself?

This feast, then, should prompt us to ask ourselves: am I a pre-Pentecost disciple, fearful and closed in on myself? Or am I a post-Pentecost disciple, open to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and seeking the good of others and their salvation?

As Catholics, we are blessed to have already received the Holy Spirit at Baptism, and to have been strengthened by Him again at Confirmation. The Christian life, then, is a call to enter more deeply into the graces we have received through these sacraments, so that we may truly be filled with the Holy Spirit.

For though we may have received these sacraments, we sometimes tend to grow cold in the spiritual life and freeze over, losing access to the graces available to us. So we need to ask for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that He may come with His fire, as at Pentecost two-thousand years ago, and defrost us, filling us with the joy, courage, zeal and freedom that the apostles so wonderfully displayed in Acts.

This Pentecost, the Emmanuel Community in Sydney is hosting an overnight retreat to ask for this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and to provide Catholics with an opportunity to enter more deeply into this special solemnity in the life of the Church, through Mass, Eucharistic adoration, Confession, praise and talks.

The Emmanuel Community invites you to attend this new upper room, in the bold expectancy that the Holy Spirit will come with His transformative power and His gifts. If the Holy Spirit worked wondrously through those fearful, weak and wounded apostles to spread Christianity to the world, just think what He could do in our lives if we let Him!

For details contact Ruth at [email protected]


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