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Meditations on the Rosary: The Descent of the Holy Spirit

BY Mark Shea

| Posted 7/15/12 at 11:59 PM

 

At Pentecost, the Old Testament spring harvest festival characterized by offerings to God in the direction of the four winds, the Church is overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit coming in wind and fire. The disciples (including Mary, who was right there in the thick of it) receive the power of the Holy Spirit and St. Peter, preaching his first sermon to the astonished crowd in Jerusalem, declares of Jesus, "Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you see and hear" (Acts 2:33).

It's worth noting that the "right hand" is the "good" hand in antiquity. It's the hand that pours out blessing, the hand that holds the sceptre, the hand that works, acts, fights. The hand is the locus of action. We do not theorize with our hands, we do things. Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father, does things. And He empowers us to do things too — by His Spirit. So when Peter appeals to the crowd at Pentecost he doesn't tell them God has poured out a concept or an idea. He has poured out "that which you see and hear." The Catholic Faith is still the same today. To be sure, we walk by faith and not by sight. But the fruit of our faith is still visible in the incarnate signs and acts of love we bear to the world. All these are poured out on us from Jesus, at the right hand of God.