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This is my favorite portrayal of Pentecost. The stylized picture shows Mary as Mother of the Church. Centrally located in the midst of the apostles, she receives the Holy Spirit with them and thus the Apostolic Church is founded with Mary at the heart of it.
Why is Mary the Mother of the Church? Because Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and the Church is the Body of Christ. Mary’s first ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit paved the way for our ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit. Because she was overshadowed and filled with the Holy Spirit and bore God’s Son, we too can be overshadowed and filled with the Holy Spirit and bear God’s Son to the world.
Mary as Spouse of the Holy Spirit is the fore runner of the nuptial relationship between Christ and his Church as taught by St Paul in Ephesians 5. Christ is the bridegroom. We are the bride. Similarly, the Holy Spirit was the bridegroom and Mary the bride in the spousal relationship that brought forth the Son of God into the World.
The nuptial relationship between Christ and his Church is active on both the individual and corporate levels. To Christ we are bride and he is bridegroom and the whole church is bride and he is bridegroom. Just as a marriage must be consummated and man and wife become one flesh, so in a sacramental way, Christ the bridegroom and the church his bride are to be united in a bond of everlasting love, and this love must be fruitful. The Church hears the command of God to Adam and Eve–the first bride and groom–to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’
So the relationship between Christ and his Church must also bear fruit. This is the root command, the power and the drive for the Church to evangelize. We are to ‘go and bear much fruit’. This fruit is the fruit of souls who are won for Christ through the nuptial and mystical union he shares with his body, his bride–the Church.
All of this is driven and enlivened and enabled by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Only the fire of love of the Holy Spirit allows this union between Christ and his Church to come to fulfillment and bear the rich fruit he commands.
Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth.
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