Pope Invites a Rediscovery of Baptism's Beauty
Says Spirit Is Like a Waterfall Able to Purify All Hearts
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The Pope made this invitation today from the window of his study before praying the Regina Caeli with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father gave his traditional Sunday greeting shortly after finishing the celebration of Mass for the feast of Pentecost.
The Pontiff first noted that Pentecost was an ancient Hebrew feast that became a Christian feast on account of the Holy Spirit's descent upon Mary and the disciples in the Upper Room that day, 50 days after the Resurrection.
"In effect, Jesus' whole mission was aimed at giving the Spirit of God to men and baptizing them in the 'bath' of regeneration," the Pope said. "This was realized through his glorification, that is, through his death and resurrection: Then the Spirit of God was poured out in a super-abundant way, like a waterfall able to purify every heart, to extinguish the flames of evil and ignite the fire of divine love in the world.
"The Acts of the Apostles present Pentecost as a fulfillment of such a promise and therefore as the crowning moment of Jesus' whole mission. After his resurrection, he himself ordered his disciples to stay in Jerusalem, because, he said, 'In a short time you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit'; and he added: 'You will have the power of the Holy Spirit, who will descend upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all of Galilee and Samaria unto the ends of the earth.'"
Benedict XVI said that Pentecost is thus, "in a special way, the baptism of the Church who undertakes her universal mission beginning from the streets of Jerusalem with prodigious preaching in the different languages of humanity."
"In this baptism of the Holy Spirit," the Pope continued, "the personal and communal dimensions -- the 'I' of the disciple and the 'we' of the Church -- are inseparable. The Spirit consecrates the person and at the same time makes him a living member of the mystical body of Christ, participant in the mission to witness to his love."
This consecration and insertion into the mystical body of Christ, "is actualized through the sacraments of Christian initiation: baptism and confirmation," he said.
"In my message for World Youth Day 2008, I invited young people to rediscover the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and, therefore, the importance of these sacraments," the Holy Father added. "Today I would like to extend this invitation to everyone: Let us rediscover, dear brothers and sisters, the beauty of being baptized in the Holy Spirit; let us be aware again of our baptism and of our confirmation, sources of grace that are always present.
"Let us ask the Virgin Mary to obtain a renewed Pentecost for the Church again today, a Pentecost that will spread in everyone the joy of living and witnessing to the Gospel."