“We celebrate Pentecost and the dwelling with us of the Spirit and the appointed time of promise and the fulfillment of hope”

We celebrate Pentecost and the dwelling with us of the Spirit and the appointed time of promise and the fulfillment of hope. The mystery is as great as it is venerable. What concerns Christ’s embodiment is ended, or rather what concerns his bodily dwelling with us; for I hesitate to speak of bodily matters as long as no argument persuades me that it is good to put aside the body. What concerns the Spirit is beginning. And what concerned Christ? A virgin, birth, a manger, wrapping in swaddling clothes, angels glorifying him, shepherds running to him, a star in motion, magi worshiping him and bearing gifts, Herod’s murder of children, Jesus fleeing into Egypt and returning from Egypt, circumcised, baptized, receiving testimony from above, tempted, stoned for our sake—by which he had to be given as a model of suffering on behalf of the word—betrayed, nailed to the cross, buried, risen, ascended. …

The Holy Spirit always ways and is and will be, without beginning, without end, but is always ranked and numbered with the Father and the Son. For it was not at any time fitting that the Son be lacking to the Father, or the Spirit to the Son. For it would have been the greatest dishonor for the divinity to have come, as it were, through a change of mind to a fullness of perfection. Hence the Spirit always is participated in but does not participate, perfects but is not perfected, fills but is not filled, sanctifies but is not sanctified, deifies but is not deified. He is always the same as himself and as those with whom he is ranked, invisible, eternal, uncontainable, unchanging, without quality, without quantity, without form, intangible, self-moving, ever-moving, self-determining, self-powered, all-powerful. If indeed this pertains to the first cause, as it is all ascribed to the Only-begotten so it is also ascribed to the Spirit. He is life and creates life, he is light and distributes light, he is the goodness itself and source of goodness. He is the upright Spirit, sovereign, Lord; he sends, sets apart, builds a temple for himself, guides, acts as he wills, distributes gifts. He is the Spirit of adoption, of truth, of wisdom, of understanding, of knowledge, of piety, of counsel, of strength, of fear, as was enumerated, through whom the Father is known and the Son glorified, and by whom alone he is known. They are one common rank, one in adoration, worship, power, perfection, sanctification.  Why should I speak at length? All that belongs to the Father belongs to the Son except unbegottenness. All that belongs to the Son belongs to the Spirit except begottenness. These things do not divide the essence, according to my teaching, but they are divided in the [common] essence. …

The Spirit acted first in the angelic and heavenly powers, and in those who are first after God and are around God. For it is not from elsewhere that they possess their perfection and their illumination, and their difficulty of impossibility of moving toward evil, but from the Holy Spirit. Then he acted in the patriarchs and in the prophets; the first saw God in an image or knew him, the others even foreknew the future, as the Spirit imprinted on the directive faculty of their souls, and associated with future events as if they were present, for such is the Spirit’s power. Then he acted in the disciples of Christ—for I leave aside speaking of Christ, to whom he is present not by his action but as accompanying one equal in honor—and this in three ways, to the extent they were able to receive him, and on three occasions, before Christ was glorified by his passion, after he was glorified by his resurrection, and after his ascension to heaven, or his restoration or whatever it should be called. This is manifest first in purification of the sick and of spirits, which quite clearly would not have happened without the Holy Spirit, and also the inbreathing after the resurrection, which plainly is a more divine inspiration, and now the distribution of fiery tongues, which indeed we are celebrating. However, the first manifested him indistinctly, the second more expressly, and the present one more perfectly, since he is no longer present [only] by an energy as at first, but in essence, if one may speak thus, coming to be with them and living with them. For it was fitting, since the Son associated with us corporeally, that the Spirit also should appear corporeally; and after Christ ascended again to his own place, that he should descend to us, coming in that he is Lord, and sent in that he is not a rival god. For such words show the harmony no less than the separation of natures.

St Gregory the Theologian

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2 Responses to “We celebrate Pentecost and the dwelling with us of the Spirit and the appointed time of promise and the fulfillment of hope”

  1. Dallas Wolf says:

    On this day of Pentecost, my prayer is that institutional Christianity cease being, for all intents and purposes, cessationist in praxis. We need to free the Spirit (with its gifts) from the confines of the monastery and ascetic elite, and get it back into the rank and file laity of the church where the Spirit first manifested.
    The thoughts of a charismatic member of the Body of Christ for what they are worth on this Sunday of Pentecost.

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  2. steve95054 says:

    Dallas:

    The Spirit is “confine[d] to the monastery and ascetic elite” because He moves among those who are pure. If the “rank and file” purified themselves, even as He is pure, and actually cultivated within themselves this gift of Him which they received at Baptism, this seed, then the Church would cease to be practically cessationist. But so many of the “rank and file” don’t want to do that, and so the Spirit remains confined (by the “rank and file”‘s own choosing) away from them.

    But no one, monastic or clergy or laity, no matter what rank or file, can simply decide that they will be charismatic and “pull down” the Holy Spirit to become a shaman for the tribe. That’s not how it works. You want to have a spiritual ministry? Purify yourself, and then live in the Spirit. He may work miracles and prophecies in you, He may not. “But I show you a better way…charity.”

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