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June 24, 2024

Homily Two for the Feast of Pentecost (St. John of Kronstadt)

By St. John of Kronstadt

Now we celebrate the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit - the One God in three Persons: the Father, who sent His Holy Spirit in the form of fiery tongues on the holy disciples and Apostles, the Son, who entreated the Father to give the Apostles and all who believe in Him another Comforter, consubstantial with Himself, and the Holy Spirit that descended on the disciples of Christ.

In ecclesiastical language, the current feast is called the Feast of Pentecost, because our Lord Jesus Christ, having ascended into heaven, sent down from God the Father to His Apostles the Holy Spirit on the fiftieth day after His resurrection from the dead.

You have heard more than once, brethren, the short ecclesiastical hymn at the all-night vigil, that "by the Holy Spirit, every soul is made living, is exalted, and made shining through purification." Yes, brethren, we are all made living and exalted in holiness by the Holy Spirit. This life-giving Spirit is now, as always, near us, because He fills the universe with Himself; but in order for Him to dwell in us, to revive our souls, deadened by sins, for this we must each cleanse our hearts through prayer, sincerely desire to partake of His holiness, His life, and diligently try to receive Him. When the All-Holy Spirit sees hearts ready to receive Him and thirsting for His acceptance, then He Himself will purify them with His inspiration and dwell in the temple of your body: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit living in you?" And whoever neglects now to cleanse the heart, that is, from evil thoughts and earthly attachments, will not be worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit, will not receive life-giving power in his heart and will remain dead in sins.

Possessing all the grief in your minds and hearts, and, having cleansed yourself with prayer and heartfelt contrition, firmly hope that you will be worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit: you will hear His breath in your heart - a subtle, sweet, calming, joyful breath, and you will take such a treasure out of the temple, a treasure which in the world you will not get, because He is not in the world. Try, brothers and sisters, in the future, when you come to church, to cleanse yourself at home with prayer and heartfelt repentance; and thus prepare yourself to receive the Holy Spirit in the holy church during the service. Turn your ears to these words of mine, accept them with your heart; for otherwise your visits to the temple will be fruitless if the Holy Spirit has no place in your hearts; and the Holy Spirit in no way can communicate with the filth and darkness of sin. The Holy Spirit is always with us until the end of time, and His acceptance can be achieved both in the church during Divine services and at home during prayer, especially in the mysteries of the Church always, as you sincerely wish!

Let us pray with one mouth and one heart to the Holy Spirit: "Treasury of good things and Giver of life, come and dwell in us." Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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