Sunday 28 June 2015

Whitsun - the Feast of Pentecost



and the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Church

"And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…"
[Acts 2:1-4]

Pentecost (from the Greek Pentecoste meaning the 50th day i.e. after Easter) was also called White Sunday (or Whitsunday) because the neophytes again put on their Easter baptismal robes of white and - until the great destroyer, Archbishop Bugnini, abolished the ceremonies in 1955 - a second but slightly smaller version of the Easter Vigil occurred on Whitsun Eve. In Christendom it was for this reason that Pentecost was often called Pascha Rosatum or, in Italian, Pasqua Rossa, meaning Rose-Easter for the flames that descended like roses, for the red vestments and for the recalling of the mystery of Easter.

It is a highly Biblical feast and the Jews themselves had their own pre-figuring Pentecost which occurred 50 days after the Feast of the Passover. They still celebrate it with solemnity to this day.

This was the importance given by our ancestors to the Feast of Pentecost. But modern Catholics have had that privilege curtailed by the destructive work of Archbishop Bugnini, a prelate who was dismissed for Freemasonry by Pope Paul VI, as Bugnini himself admits in his own autobiography.

With a most shameful disregard for hallowed tradition which cannot escape the charge of impiety, Bugnini destroyed these centuries-old traditions and ceremonies.

Pentecost represents the fullness of God’s gift to men. He gave us His only-begotten Son at Christmas; in Holy Week, by the Passion of Christ, He atoned for us purifying and sanctifying us in His own Precious Blood. At Easter, at His Resurrection, and after, at His Ascension, God gloriifes us in His own Son and makes a place for us in Heaven.

Then, having ascended into heaven, God sends us the Holy Ghost to be our Advocate and Comforter in our earthly sojourn. Descending upon the Apostles as tongues of fire, the Spirit of love comes to us to inform our lives with charity, to create the Church as a bark of salvation and to lead us into all truth and holiness.

During Whit week every day at Mass is sung that most beautiful of hymns, the Veni Sancte Spiritus. It is known to tradition as the Golden Sequence, so greatly has it been revered by Catholic tradition. But how often do you hear it sung?

VENI, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.

Come Holy Ghost send down those beams
which sweetly flow in silent streams
from Thy bright throne above.

At Vespers is sung also the better-known Veni Creátor Spíritus:

Veni Creátor Spíritus,
Mentes tuórum vísita:
Imple supérna grátia,
Quæ tu creásti pécora.

Come, O Creator, Spirit blest,
And in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Veni Sancte is particularly beautiful and it is a great sadness that so few now know it.

Here is a recording of each by French monks so that the difference can readily be seen. Veni Creator is followed by the sublime Veni Sancte:

Come Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

Send forth thy spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

[Adapted from Psalm 103:30]


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