The Importance of Pentecost in the Life of Today’s Catholics

by Holy Spirit, May, Pentecost

I did a month-long program with Dr. Bob Schuchts, Sr. Miriam James Heidland, and the JPII Healing Center back in 2020, and if I learned anything, it’s that everyone in the modern world is wounded. Humanity’s brokenness is becoming more evident in the cultural movements we see around us: transgenderism, abortion, broken families, distorted sexuality, theft, violence, and so on. The woundedness is profound, and the behavior we see in our culture is an extension of it. But there is always hope, and that hope comes through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The people being seduced into the black hole of sin and death need two things: truth and love. Not one at the expense of the other, but both completely.

The Truth and Love

The truth needs to be spoken. Warriors, courageous individuals unashamed to vocalize what is true, must rise up and speak. What’s at stake is nothing less than immortal souls. And one immortal soul is worth everything temporal to save. The truth can save, and the truth can set free, but it will mean nothing to those who hear it if it does not come from a place of love. Love is the follow-through, the willingness to back up your words with action.

The Sisters of Life demonstrate this well. Their entire religious community is an expression of the truth that abortion is wrong and evil, but their entire lives are dedicated to helping women and men find ways to reclaim life: to heal, to restore, to give birth, and to thrive. To love. The truth they share is pregnant with the life of love. It has vitality, richness, and it’s real.

I often hear from people who struggle to speak the truth to those who need to hear it. I myself struggle daily with this. It’s scary to put a relationship on the line for the sake of something you believe in. That’s what it has come to nowadays. Most Christians in the modern world aren’t so much persecuted with violence, but with silence: cancellation, isolation, and cultural banishment. It’s frightening to risk that type of persecution, especially when it may come from those you love. However, it’s worth it because it’s the truly loving thing to do. Silence of the truth is not love.

Modern Persecution for Catholic Beliefs

Recently, my wife and I received hate mail addressed to us at our workplace. We don’t know who wrote it, but the content of the letter revealed that the sender was irate about a few things that I would consider very small. There are many saints who were persecuted for significant causes—St. Thomas More, who refused to support the king’s marriage; JPII, who confronted the communist regime in Poland; St. Francis, who attempted to convert the sultan; Isaac Jogues, who preached the Gospel and was tortured in the heart of Iroquois land. In contrast, we aren’t persecuted for such grand endeavors. Instead, we face persecution for seemingly insignificant matters: social media posts, non-compliance with requested pronouns, lack of support for Pride, or simply desiring to pray in schools or in front of abortion clinics. The persecution we experience is unique, but it’s real and undeniably challenging.

It’s tempting, therefore, to sacrifice truth or love. However, if we sacrifice one, they both become false. Many people succumb to the temptation of speaking the truth without love. Admittedly, it’s easier that way. Speaking the truth without love is far simpler than doing so with love. However, this approach fails to embody the life-giving truth it should represent. It lacks concern for whether anyone truly listens or is impacted by it. Instead, it becomes an indifferent, cold, hard truth—the kind that is spoken out of a sense of obligation, fearing guilt if it remains unspoken. It’s the “I need to speak it or I’ll be guilty for not speaking it” truth.

The truth of Jesus is life-giving, not impersonal. It’s truthful, not legal. It’s bold but not spiteful. It’s life-giving and good.

On the flip side, we constantly encounter “love” without truth. This is the modern-day “virtue” of tolerance. This is “shut up and let people do what they want.” Well, I’m sorry, but if someone is destroying themselves or others, I refuse to shut up, and so should you. Love without truth is not love. It simply encourages false identity, and false identity is, at its core, separation from God. No one should wish that on anyone. We are people of hope.

Pentecost Gives Us the Grace to Speak in Love and in Truth

So, what do we do? How do we find the grace of both truth and love within ourselves? This is where Pentecost comes in. If you’re into the Scriptures, find yourself at the beginning of the book of the Acts of the Apostles and read the first few chapters. Pentecost is when the gift of the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples after the resurrection. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Love within the Trinity, and the Spirit of Truth. It filled them with charismatic gifts, understanding, different languages, prophecy, and courage to go out and spread the good news of Jesus Christ. And they did just that.

If you read on, you’ll find the stories of the saints and martyrs confronting those who would eventually kill them. You’ll read of the disciples who began healing, baptizing, preaching the good news, giving hope, giving life, and breathing the Spirit of God into humanity once again. The early Church was obsessed with the truth because they understood that truth is love. Truth is the only way to really help another person.

Pentecost enabled the early Christians to go out and face the confusion, the delusion, and the illusion of truth that the culture of their time was embedded in. They were people who zealously spread both truth and love. They rejoiced in truth and they shared all things in love.

We Need a Pentecost Like the Early Church

If we are to go out, as God himself commands us to do, then we need the power of the Holy Spirit. We need a Pentecost of truth-love to be poured out upon us like floodwaters. That is the only way this world will ever come out of its darkness.

I personally pray that for you, and I mean YOU, the reader of this little article, if I could talk to you in person, I would! I beg you to make the act of faith this year, to believe in Jesus when he says, “Go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (Matthew 28:19-20).

What more do you need to be convinced that right now you are called to be a great saint?

Let’s celebrate this Pentecost with the newest and most fervent faith we’ve ever had so we can be renewed with the power, the truth, and love of the Holy Spirit.

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