Tag Archives: gift

The “Gift” of Pentecost

Pentcost Icon 2

By Matt Janeczko, OFM Cap.

So often we hear Pentecost referred to as the birthday of the Church: associated with birthdays, of course, are celebrations, cake, candles, wishes and most especially, gifts.

Indeed, the Church receives a gift on Pentecost: it receives the gift of its own divine life, the Gift of the Holy Spirit that binds the entire community, as Saint Paul says, into a single body.

Yet the very existence of the Church is not a celebration in and of itself: the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church is not a present to be hoarded. We cannot sit within the walls of this church, enjoying the Holy Spirit any more than the Apostles could on the day of their Pentecost.  The very nature of a gift is that it is not earned, nor is their expectation of repayment. And so, the Holy Spirit’s descent on the Apostles in the upper room is not simply a gift, not another present to be opened and then put on a shelf.

The Holy Spirit is not a birthday present, but rather a birthday mission.

We are sent forth from this place, just as the Apostles were sent from their places, into a world equally as challenging, equally as dark, but equally as desperate for the message of Jesus the Christ.

As Saint Irenaeus wrote, the Holy Spirit has given the image and inscription of the Father and Son to us, and it is our mission to make a profit. Irenaeus actually refers to this gift as “two coins,” which need to be invested in others.

The ways in which we leave this place on mission are as different as each person: yet perhaps it is most important to remember that we are all sent, we all have a part to play, we all have the currency of Christ in our hearts: spend this birthday well!!!




A Part of the Story

Today I had the privilege of hearing a talk by a man named Ken. Ken is an advocate who regularly goes to speak to legislators, and he often gives presentations to schools. An optimistic, confident, charismatic person who has a way with words, he was a superb presenter. Ken also happens to have cerebral palsy. He uses a wheelchair, is not able to use his arms or legs, and he communicates by typing on an iPad with a device that is strapped to his head. Ken presented to a group of students at Mount St. Mary’s about his experiences living with cerebral palsy and how he advocates for the rights of people with disabilities.

I think that anyone who interacts with Ken would agree that he is a man full of life. You can’t help but be drawn in by his passion and his determination. That’s why it’s so unfortunate that too often, when we encounter people with disabilities, or even when we encounter people who we perceive as radically different from us, we view their lives as less than ours. Continue reading A Part of the Story

What Must Prayer Contain?

From Guest Contributor, Matt Patella

I am a cradle Catholic. I went to Catholic middle school, high school, and college. I always prayed, as a matter of fact I was at times required to pray before class started. Prayer was a good intellectual exercise growing up. It was a nice way to work out problems in silence. So prayer turned into an odd brainstorming session. But prayer must contain more than intellect: it must contain love.

I did not understand how important love was in prayer, until a mentor in college explained to me a fairly simple concept. “God is the perfect Good, no amount of prayer will ever change God. Prayer can only change you, and through you the people around you.”

Well where does love fit into that? Well if we don’t love the people around us then our prayer will not affect them and it certainly will not affect our own lives. It is not necessary to like the people with whom or for whom we pray, but without any doubt we must love them.

Love is so central to the prayer that without it we are lost. As Catholics we can experience this love every day and give it out to those around us. And I mean real true love. It is the love that will get in a car and drive eight hours for the funeral of a friend’s father; or the love that compels us to sit up and talk with a friend who is having a hard time in his or her life; it is also the love that wakes  people up early in the morning to serve food at a soup kitchen. This is the love that we need to pray and this is the love that comes from prayer.

If prayer truly is a conversation with God, it is most certainly a conversation of love. It is a conversation that also contains love and then challenges us to distribute that love to the world in our own unique way.

So how may we distribute love today?


Matthew Patella is from Long Island where he went to Catholic school. From there he went on to study at The Catholic University of America, then Boston College and is now back at CUA. In between all of that schooling he took a year to serve as a Cap Corps Volunteer in Garrison, NY leading retreats with the Capuchin Province of St. Mary’s. When walking through book stores he has a tendency to end up in the areas devoted to philosophy, politics, and history.