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  • Joshua Johnson

Message from Bishop Lopes: Pentecost Ember Days

Dear Faithful in Christ, Wisdom and understanding, counsel and fortitude, knowledge, piety, and the fear of the Lord. These seven gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out on the Church at Pentecost illumine and make joyful this annual Embertide. These same gifts are poured into our hearts in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Recall that these seven gifts are first listed in the 11th chapter of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Here they are clearly attributes of the Messiah, the anointed one of God upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rests. There is a beautiful parallel between this description of the Lord’s anointed in Isaiah 11 and the so-called Jubilee commission of Isaiah 61. This passage also speaks of the Lord’s anointed, this time in terms of his mission—and it is this passage that Jesus himself reads to the synagogue, telling them this passage has been fulfilled in their hearing. These seven attributes, these seven virtues are, in the biblical perspective, the attributes of God’s anointed. They are the description of Christ, the Anointed One, and their application now to us who receive the Holy Spirit is the public manifestation of the extent to which the Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ. In the Sacrament of Confirmation, the anointing formula Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit is nothing less than the seal—the imprint—of Christ seared on the heart of the believer. The seven-fold grace of the Spirit becomes alive in us. And to the Church and the world, the promise and power of God’s anointing is fulfilled in our hearing. Pentecost blessings, Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes, STD Bishop

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