What every Christian should understand about the great Feast of Pentecost

… the Jewish Feast of Pentecost—which literally means “Fifty”, taken from the fifty days counted after Passover—was the Jewish liturgical celebration of the Giving of the Law at Sinai.  If one makes a careful count of the passing of time in the Book of Exodus, one discovers that the Sinai theophany (appearance of God) occurs exactly fifty days after the Israelites departed from Egypt.  So, Pentecost was not only an agricultural festival celebrating the end of the harvest, but also a sacred historical memorial of the day of the establishment of the Old Covenant.

This parallel and its significance is missed by modern readers, but not by ancient Jewish readers of Acts!  At Sinai the Law was given in a fearsome storm, and on tablets of stone.  At Pentecost, there is a “peaceful storm” of the Spirit (the rushing wind, the lightning-like tongues of flame) and the giving of the Law on the Heart.

As St. Thomas says in his treatment of the Old Law in the Summa, “the law of the New Covenant is nothing other than the Holy Spirit.”  The Spirit is the Law written on the heart promised with the New Covenant…

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Knowing God Well Enough To Recognize Him

Holy Ghost Fire

Manifestations of the Holy Spirit Throughout Human History
By Larry Douglas

Our understanding of the Holy Spirit is limited by our finite human minds and by the revelation of God, but our faith teaches clearly that the Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Holy Trinity, that He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and that He accomplishes His (God’s) will anywhere and at any time, with power and authority that is so awesome, no one and no thing can withstand it.

The early Hebrews understood that God “spoke” all things into existence, as if the Holy Spirit proceeded from the “mouth” of God, accomplishing whatever His supernatural intellect would conceive.

So it should be no surprise that our first earthly biblical encounter with the Spirit’s power speaks of a mighty wind, “The Breath of God” which formed the young Earth and, among other things, gave life to Adam’s human form.

In the Old Testament Book of Exodus we are treated to a magnificent display of God’s power in the form of a “Pillar of Cloud” by day and a “Pillar of Fire” by night, which was said to “never fail” leading the Israelites out of Egypt, protecting and nurturing the Holy Nation all the way to the Promised Land.

While this “Glory Cloud” figures most prominently and is most clearly and explicitly described during the forty-year period the Israelites spent “Moseying around” (my characterization) in the desert, it is by no means the only time God made use of this extraordinary, supernatural phenomenon to manifest His power and glory in our temporal existence.

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Passover, the Paschal Lamb – Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God

The Paschal Lamb:

A lamb which the Israelites were commanded to eat with peculiar rites as a part of the Passover celebration. The Divine ordinance is first recorded in Exodus, xii, 3-11, where Yahweh is represented as giving instructions to Moses to preserve the Hebrews from the last of the plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians, viz. the death of the firstborn.

On the tenth day of the first month each family (or group of families, if they are small) is commanded to take a lamb without blemish, male, of one year, and keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and sacrifice it in the evening. The blood of the lamb must be sprinkled on the transom and doorposts of the houses in which the paschal meal is taken. The lamb should be roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and wild lettuce.

The whole of the lamb must be consumed — head, feet, and entrails — and if any thing remain of it until morning it must be burned with fire. The Israelites are commanded to eat the meal in haste, with girded loins, shoes on their feet, and staves in their hands “for it is the Phase (that is, Passage) of the Lord.”

The blood of the lamb on the doorposts served as a sign of immunity or protection against the destroying hand of the Lord, who smote in one night all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. This ordinance is repeated in abridged form in Numbers xix, 11, 12, and again in Deuteronomy, xvi, 2-6, where sheep and oxen are mentioned instead of the lamb.

That the Paschal Lamb prefigured symbolically Christ, “the Lamb of God”, who redeemed the world by the shedding of His blood, and particularly the Eucharistic banquet, or new Passover, has always remained the constant belief of Christian faith.

Revelation 5:6-14  And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.  And he came, and he taketh it out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon earth. And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a great voice, Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things are in them, heard I saying, Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshiped…

Submitted by Doria2

Catholic readers address current German scandals, apostasy, exodus

We’ve heard for years about the “fruits of the council.” Well, now we know who these fruits are. This has all come about since Vatican II, the “Great Council,” and flourished under “John Paul the Great,” who appointed these bishops. The scandal that still gets no coverage is the horrible state of the liturgy and the disobedience of these same bishops who have been instructed to let us have the old Mass back and refuse to do so. We need the old Mass, because it instructs the faithful so much better than the new. — David, US

It is not a question of what the Church can do to win Catholics back, but of those lapsed Catholics realizing that scandal in the Church has always been, and always will be, present in the Church. The present abuse scandal is nothing new. Christ promised the Church infallibility in proclaiming His gospel; He did not promise her impeccability in the conduct of any particular members. Those German Catholics who have deserted the Church because of the abuse scandal would be well advised to reflect on this fact, and return to their religious duties before their desertion causes irreparable harm to their souls. — Geoffrey, United Kingdom

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Why 40?

It is the number Forty that the Church now brings before us: – a number, as Saint Jerome observes, which denotes punishment and affliction [In Ezechiel, cap. xxix].

Let us remember the forty days and forty nights of the Deluge (Gen. vii. 12), sent by God in his anger, when he repented that he had made man, and destroyed the whole human race, with the exception of one family. Let us consider how the Hebrew people, in punishment for their ingratitude, wandered forty years in the desert, before they were permitted to enter the Promised Land [Num. xiv. 33]. Let us listen to our God commanding the Prophet Ezechiel to lie forty days on his right side, as a figure of the siege, which was to bring destruction on Jerusalem [Ezech. iv. 6].

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Bible “Ante-Types”: The Desert Wanderings of Exodus as a “type” of Purgatory

Sometimes, God’s elect have bad habits,
and are otherwise “not yet ready for prime time (“Heaven”)

The Old Testament of the Bible is replete with persons, places, and events which serve to prefigure things that would become realities in New Testament times. These are typically known as biblical “ante-types”.

“Bible only” Christians generally fail to appreciate the fact that the God who saves, nonetheless does not always instantaneously conduct his people into the “Promised Land” … which is a metaphor for Heaven. Sometimes, an intermediate course of purification and sanctification … often including a modicum of suffering … is required.

In the case of God’s Chosen People, the Israelites of the Exodus, that “intermediate course” took the form of  a 40-year long desert trek.

Only then would the Israelites be ready to enter the Promised Land.  And even after all that, only two of the original group, estimated to originally number some 2,000,000 souls, made it in alive!

All the rest were required not only to wander, and to experience a life of considerable suffering, but also to die.

Catholics have always understood, that even in these New Testament times of grace, only perfectly holy souls are permitted to enter Heaven, and that many of the faithful departed, while not “bad” enough to warrant Hell, certainly don’t meet God’s high standards for admittance to Heaven.

For those souls, an “intermediate stay” in Purgatory is required. Once their prescribed course of purification and sanctification, along with a modicum of suffering, has been completed, Heaven is always, absolutely guaranteed.

You can find an extensive list of scripture passages dealing with Purgatory here.

This is a clear case of God treating all of his people pretty much equally … but in different ways … at different times.

No real mystery here … the Bible says it’s so … and it’s only fair!