‘The Holy Spirit wants to dwell in the human soul to make every human being an image of Christ,’ His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel said Sunday at the Divine Liturgy celebrated on Pentecost at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest.
Concelebrants for the Divine Liturgy included the Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop Ieronim of Sinai and the Assistant Bishop to the Bucharest Archdiocese, Timotei of Prahova.
In his homily, Patriarch Daniel explained the symbolism and the importance of the Feast of Pentecost noting that it is ‘the establishment day of Christ’s Church’.
‘The Church was established as the assembly of people in the love of the All-Holy Trinity, through the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.’
The Church grows with every new-baptized person, the Patriarch said adding that ‘it is important to recall that the mystery of the Church is the mystery of God’s love for humans, and the mystery of the answer man gives to God’s love’.
Tongues of fire
The Patriarch of Romania referred to the tongues of fire that could be seen above the apostles saying that they represent ‘the gentiles of different languages to whom the Apostles would preach the gospel of Christ’s love for humanity’.
‘As the Holy Spirit united in Jesus Christ in one person His divine and human natures, so now the Holy Spirit unites different persons and nations in a holy unity based on the faith in Jesus Christ, on the baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity,’ the Patriarch pointed out.
Therefore, ‘there is a mysterious link between the work of the Holy Spirit and the mystery of the Church as an assembly of different persons and nations in the love of the All-Holy Trinity.’
That is why, ‘the Monday after Pentecost is dedicated to the Person of the Holy Spirit, but also to the Holy Trinity because it is through the Holy Spirit that we experience the love of the Holy Trinity in the Church,’ the Romanian Patriarch explained.
Besides their missionary significance, the tongues of fire also have a spiritual significance for every Christian life and for the life of the entire Church, because the Holy Spirit does not appear in the form of man, but in the form of tongues of fire.
‘The Holy Spirit does not compete with Christ the Saviour Who became Man from love for men and their salvation. He confirms Christ’s teaching and work, and gathers men in communion through their faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit does not appear as a person, although He is a Person, but rather shows his work.’
The Holy Spirit descended in the form of tongues of fire because fire purifies, warms and illumines, Patriarch Daniel noted.
Holy Spirit cleanses our souls and bodies
‘The Holy Spirit cleanses us from our sins and purifies our souls and bodies especially through the Mystery of Repentance.’
‘When man recognizes and regrets his sin, wishing to renew his life, he weeps for his sins, shedding the fiery tears of repentance. In these tears the work of the Holy Spirit is found as fire and as living water.’
‘The Holy Spirit warms our heart to pray with a fiery faith and to return to God the Father. The Holy Spirit awakens in man the longing for God’s love and the feeling that we are sons and daughters of God according to grace, through the very grace brought by Christ,’ His Beatitude said May 27.
‘The Holy Spirit illumines the human mind to understand the Scriptures and the mysteries of faith, to especially understand the truth that this earthly life is the place and time where we prepare for the heavenly life,’ the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church noted.
The Patriarch went on to reflect on the symbolism of the linden or walnut leaves that are blessed on Pentecost and distributed to the believers in the church.
The leaves ‘somehow resemble the tongues of fire that were distributed on the head of every Apostle’. They are brought to the church ‘to show that the Holy Spirit sanctifies Christians, the life of the Church, and the entire creation.’
That is why we set our fields and the fruits of the earth under the protection, the blessing and sanctification of the Holy Spirit, the Patriarch explained ending his sermon.
After the Divine Liturgy, the hierarchs celebrated Vespers of Pentecost with the Kneeling Prayers.
Photos: Lumina Newspaper