Are You Ready to Burn with the Divine Inferno of Pentecost Nuptials?

Are You Ready to Burn with the Divine Inferno of Pentecost Nuptials?

“The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church,” proclaims the Catechism (1617). This means Pentecost, like every other mystery of our faith, can be seen as a nuptial mystery – a mystery that communicates the marriage of heaven and earth.

One of the most important keys to unlocking the mystery of Pentecost is the presence of Mary in the upper room. Somehow, what happened to her at the Annunciation is about to be perpetuated in the whole Church. When she was told that she’d be the mother of the Father’s eternal Son, Mary inquired of the angel: “‘How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?’ And the angel said to her in reply, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you’” (Lk 1:34-35).

Caryll Houselander writes: “Just as no one can have an ordinary child of flesh and blood without there being a union of flesh and blood first, no one can generate spiritual life without first having union with the Spirit. Marriage … is only a faint shadow, a kind of symbol, of the wedding of the Spirit of God to humanity; and it is from that wedding that Christ is born into the world” (Reed of God, p. 84).

On the day of Pentecost, that wedding – the wedding of the Spirit of God to Mary at the Annunciation – was extend to all those gathered in the upper room. What happens through the descent of the Holy Spirit upon our humanity? Saint Bonaventure proclaims: “It is nothing other than the heavenly Father by a divine seed, as it were, impregnating the soul and making it fruitful. The power of the Most High comes upon the soul and overshadows it (Lk 1:35)” (Bringing Forth Christ).

And what happens after “conceiving Christ” in this way? The Apostles then “birth” Christ for others through the power of their proclamation. The Holy Spirit – the fire of God – is the very source of evangelization. Hence, evangelization is simply impossible, as Pope Francis tells us, “unless the fire of the Holy Spirit burns in our hearts” (Joy of the Gospel 261).

You’re probably familiar with those icons of Pentecost in which the Apostles are gathered with Mary and little candle flames float above their heads symbolizing the “tongues of fire” that descended upon them. A “tongue of fire,” however, is not a little candle flicker. It’s more like the firey blast of a flame-thrower. This is the fire of God we’re talking about here – something infinite, something hotter than the sun!

Let’s put that in perspective. Imagine you were gathered around a campfire so hot that you had to stand about 20 feet away from it so you didn’t get burned. That’s a pretty big fire. Now imagine a fire so big you had to stand 100 feet away … then a mile away. That’s an enormous fire. Keep going to 10 miles … then 100 miles. How big a fire are we talking about now? And that’s nothingcompared to the sun – a fire we have to “stand” 93 million miles away from so as not to be burnt to a crisp. And that’s only a created image of the “consuming fire” that is the Spirit of God.

Christ came to set the world ablaze with divine fire (see Lk 12:49). And, if we are to be his true disciples, we must not fear to subject our entire being to this divine inferno. Only in this way can we share the divine life with others: we must be set ablaze by the Spirit! “As fire transforms into itself everything it touches, so the Holy Spirit transforms into the divine life whatever is subjected to his power” (Catechism 1127).

Indeed, if we are to become true disciples and, in turn, evangelists, we must allow ourselves to become “wholly possessed” by the Holy Spirit, surrendering utterly to what the mystics call “nuptial union” with the Lord (see John Paul II, Novo Millennio 33). Unfortunately, we hear the word “possessed” and we tend to think of something demonic. Possession by unholy spirits is, in fact, a diabolic mockery of possession by the Holy Spirit.

This is what happened to Mary when she conceived Christ: she became “wholly possessed” by the Spirit of God. She became “clothed with the sun” (Rev 12:1) surrendering to the nuptials of the Spirit. This, too, is what happened to the Apostles on Pentecost day. This, too, is what we must allow to happen to us.

Come, Holy Spirit, come! Possess us body and soul and teach us what it means to utterly surrendered to your inspiration, vibrating at your touch, set ablaze by the divine inferno and ready to go wherever you lead us. Bring us into the full glory of the nuptials of Pentecost!

Image: Wikimedia Commons.