The mystery of Pentecost, is not, however, exhausted by this. The Church, in fact, lives constantly from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, without which she would exhaust her own strength, like a sailboat without the wind.
Pentecost is renewed in a special way in certain powerful moments, whether this be at the local or the universal level, whether in small assemblies or large ones.
The Councils, for example, had sessions graced by special outpourings of the Holy Spirit, and among these is certainly the Second Vatican Council….
But the Church also knows countless “pentecosts” that vivify the local communities. Let us think of the liturgies, particularly those experienced in special moments of the community’s life, in which the power of God is perceived in an evident way, infusing joy and enthusiasm in hearts.
We may think of many other prayer gatherings in which young people clearly feel the call of God to root their lives in his love, even consecrating themselves entirely to him.
There is no Church without Pentecost. And I would like to add that there is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary.
This is how it was at the beginning, in the Upper Room, where the disciples with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren as the Acts of the Apostles says (1:14).
This is how it always is, in every place and in every time. I witnessed it a short time ago at Fatima. What did that great multitude on the square in front of the shrine experience, where we were all of one heart and one soul? It was a renewed Pentecost.
In our midst was Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This is the typical experience at the great Marian sanctuaries—Lourdes, Guadalupe, Pompeii, Loreto—or even in the smaller ones. Wherever Christians gather in prayer with Mary, the Lord grants his Spirit….
On this Pentecost Sunday, let us pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. May the Spirit’s gifts of life and holiness confirm our witness to the Risen Lord and fill our hearts with fervent hope in his promises.
Upon all of you I cordially invoke the Spirit’s abundant gifts of wisdom, joy, and peace.
—Excerpted from a reflection at St. Peter’s Square, Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2010