Spiritual Reflection 5/19/2024

As we celebrate Pentecost during this year of Eucharistic Revival, we praise and thank God for the power of His Holy Spirit manifested in all of the sacraments, especially the Most Holy Eucharist. In the holy sacrifice of the Mass the Lord Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as nourishment for our pilgrim journey and as a pledge of eternal life. Before the words of consecration are spoken, the priest proclaims the prayer of epiclesis (from the ancient Greek meaning “calling down from on high” or “invocation”). The epiclesis is essential to the Eucharistic sacrifice because it is the calling down of the Holy Spirit upon the simple gifts of bread and wine so that they can be transformed. Through the words, “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood” the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion” (n. 1375). 

The priest implores the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine, to transform these simple elements into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. As revealed in Sacred Scripture, the work of the Holy Spirit is to give new life by way of transformation, true change, and conversion.

The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is received at Baptism giving each person a share in the divine life. In Confirmation, one is strengthened and sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. In both Baptism and Confirmation, a person is truly changed and transformed by the Holy Spirit and by the sacramental grace bestowed upon the one receiving the sacrament.

The Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles at Pentecost. After receiving the Holy Spirit, they were changed and transformed. No longer were they afraid! Filled with the Holy Spirit, they had the courage to preach the Gospel to all nations, to carry out the works of Jesus Christ and to reconcile sinners.

The prayer of epiclesis and the prayer of consecration are an immersion into the life and love of the Blessed Trinity. The Son freely and willingly offered himself to the Father on the cross for our salvation. The Father and the Son sent the Spirit so that we would never be abandoned.

We participate in Mass to give glory to God, to worship and praise the Blessed Trinity, and to be sanctified. Never should it happen that we participate in Mass and remain unchanged. Receiving the proclaimed Word of God into our hearts and receiving Holy Communion into our very body – how can we not be changed in some way through our participation at Mass? This is a work of the Holy Spirit – to change us; to transform us; to give us life.

Let us lift up our minds and hearts to the Lord at Mass and call down the Holy Spirit in the many ordinary moments of our daily lives, so that we can be changed and transformed and, with the help of God’s grace, become saints.

May God love and bless you!
Sr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, IHM