The Holy Spirit is our Advocate. This means that He stands between us and God to mediate to us the things of God. It is the Holy Spirit, sent to the Church and individuals alike at Pentecost, who is the definitive fulfilment of Jesus’ promise that He will not leave us orphans. An orphan is one who has lost his/her parents and thus he or she has no one to mediate between the world and them. It is a pitiable situation. Likewise, we would have been in a pitiable situation if God had not sent us His Holy Spirit.

The Feast of Pentecost is thus seen as one of the major celebrations of the Church’s year. Indeed, in the Early Church, it was the alternative date for the Sacrament of Baptism if all the catechumens were unable to be accommodated at the Bishop’s Easter Vigil Mass. This expresses to us the Early Church’s high regard for the Feast of Pentecost. The reason for it being the next best alternative date for Baptism is clearly that it expresses, through the celebration of the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit, an appropriate Feast upon which to celebrate the incorporation into the Church of catechumens.

Let us never forget the primary role that the Spirit has in animating our Christian lives and try to ensure that we express this belief in the way that we celebrate the respective Feasts of the Church’s calendar. The cycle of Feasts beginning with Advent, then Christmastide, Lent, The Easter Triduum, Eastertide, Pentecost Ordinary time and then back to Advent, is no mistake or happy coincidence! It is designed to help us enter fully into the full mystery of the Church’s liturgy, which is the celebration of the saving work of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should be paying attention to where we are in this cycle in order to draw the most spiritual benefit from the Liturgy of the Church.

This can be difficult if there is not good and clear preparation on the part of the parish for the different seasons of the cycle, however, we can take some responsibility for preparation ourselves and follow the cycle privately in our daily prayer times, drawing from our parish celebrations when they speak into our personal reflections.

How well do I try to follow the cycle of the Church’ Liturgy? Is there more I can do in this area to try and give greater meaning to my celebration of the sacraments?

Father in Heaven, you sent your Spirit to lead and guide me to the truth. The Church is the guardian of truth in the world. Help me to enter more fully into her rhythm so that I will be able to more easily gain grace from the individual sacraments for my life.