Meditation on the Descent of the Holy Spirit

Richard Salbato


Before Each Hail Mary

1. In spite of seeing the Transfiguration; in spite of seeing the resurrected Jesus, who walked with them for 40 days; and in spite of seeing Christ ascend to the Heavens, the followers of Jesus were still held in terror by the crucifixion. The Jews were out in force looking for all followers of Jesus, and arresting anyone with even a suspicion of being His disciple. The Apostles picked Matthias to replace Judas, who had hanged himself. Including the Virgin Mary and the holy women, about 120 of Jesus’ most devoted followers locked themselves in the upper room of the Last Supper.

2. Hidden in the upper room, the 120 followers of Christ prayed in fear of being found and killed. It was now 80 days since the death and resurrection of Christ and the Passover. Thousands of Jews from all over the world still lodged in Jerusalem in wonder of the events that had happened. They wondered about the great earthquake, the darkening of the sun, the destruction of the temple floor, the ripping of the curtain, and many other things. Lingering in Jerusalem were thousands of Jews
from all over the world.

3. Before rising into the Heavens, Christ had told them that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit and become witnessed throughout the world. Even before this, at the Last Supper, Jesus had told them that He would send another Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, to confirm them in truth. Christ is the first Paraclete (defender) and the Holy Spirit, will proceed from the Father and the Son, to confirm the Son in truth. (John 14:16 and 15:26) In spite of these statements, the Apostles did not understand what was about to happen to them. They remained paralyzed by their fear in the Upper Room.

4. Suddenly a strong wind came up from the east, the west, the north, and the south, pushing people towards the house of the Last Supper. At the same time, the people could see a large, luminous fog coming down out of heaven, and engulfing the two story house. This fog became brighter and brighter until it became like a ball of fire and then disappeared into the roof of the house. The crowds of people outside looked on in wonder.

5. Inside the house the disciples, Apostles and holy women were overwhelmed with joy, confidence and courage, as the bright fog divided into tongues of fire that hovered over each of their heads. Suddenly they were filled with knowledge of prophesies from the older prophets and how they consummated in Christ. Filled with knowledge and joy they hugged each other and began to speak out their own prophesies.

6. Peter, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, broke open the doors to the upper terrace and balcony, and went out to look down at the people below. The Apostles and disciples followed in confidence, prophesying what the Holy Spirit prompted them. The crowds below were
dumbfounded because they were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Cappadocians, Asians, and Romans, all different languages; and yet each person heard the Apostles in their own language.

7. Peter, the Apostle who had denied Christ three times and was arguably the most cowardly, shouted:

“You men of Judea and you that live in Jerusalem, hear me. What you see here was prophesied by Isaiah and Joel. ‘In those days, I will pour out my Spirit … and I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath … And it will come to pass that whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’

“Men of Israel, this man that you crucified has been raised up as David prophesied. … Being exalted by the right hand of the Father, He has poured forth His Holy Spirit, which you now see. … God has made both Lord and Christ, this same man that you crucified.”

8. Everyone hearing Peter in their own language, answered back: “What shall we do?’

Peter answered: “Do penance and be baptized everyone of you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Then you, also, will receive the Holy Spirit.

9. Peter went down into the crowd with his Apostles and brought the crowds of people to the Pool of Bethsaida. That day Peter baptized 3000 people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These people also received the Holy Spirit and prophesied. They became the first followers of the Apostles and disciples, and daily their numbers grew.

10. The next day, Peter celebrated the first Mass with the Apostles and holy women. “And continuing daily with one accord the breaking bread, the Lord increased their number from day to day. Wonders and signs followed them from place to place. Joy and courage overcame them.