“The first Pentecost was anything but a tame event. The winds howled, the walls rattled, the earth shook. What’s more, ‘tongues of fire’ descended upon everyone huddled in that upper room. Clearly the Holy Spirit came, not as a gentle breeze, but more as a hurricane or earthquake.
“The disciples too seemed filled with this ‘untamed power’ of God. They didn’t leisurely saunter out of the upper room that day. No, they were almost catapulted out the doors and into the streets. Once outside, they began speaking with such joy and enthusiasm that some of the bystanders thought they were drunk. The effect of their preaching was also wildly amazing: 3,000 individuals converted to the gospel in a single day!”
I am borrowing these words from Sister Melannie Svoboda, SND, because they speak well to us about the meaning of Pentecost for us as Daughters of Charity and as members of the Vincentian Family. They also speak to us about St. Louise de Marillac’s event at Pentecost and the profound effect it had on her and the “Little Company.”
Here is a brief description of her Pentecost experience: “On the Feast of Pentecost, June 4, 1623, Louise, while at prayer, had a vision in which she saw herself serving the poor and living the evangelical counsels in community. She wrote this ‘Lumiere,’ or a Pentecost experience, on parchment and carried it with her as a reminder that, despite her difficulties, God was guiding her life. In that vision, a priest appeared to her whom she later identified as Vincent de Paul, her future confidante and collaborator in ministry, ” (Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac: Correspondence and Thoughts, p. 1-2).
And listen to what St. Vincent’s creativity featured!
When sending forth his first missionaries, St. Vincent de Paul said, “Our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but to all over the world and to do what? To set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did. He came to set the world on fire in order to inflame it with his love.”
Is there any wonder about the Spirit being so alive in the lives of our founders and the first disciples?!
Their “flames” are still burning…what about yours and mine? Let’s challenge each other to be alive in the Spirit and spread those creative explosions of Pentecost to all those we serve and meet each day of our lives!!!
Written by Sister Regina Hlavac, D.C.