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Pentecost


In a pre-Pentecost appearance, Jesus came before his fearful disciples and calmed them with his breath and the above words. After his resurrection, it seems he was always calming them by speaking words of peace and breathing upon them from his radiant self.

Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you… and when he had said this,
he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ (John 20: 21–22)

In a pre-Pentecost appearance, Jesus came before his fearful disciples and calmed them with his breath and the above words. After his resurrection, it seems he was always calming them by speaking words of peace and breathing upon them from his radiant self. As we reflect on this scene, let us imagine that we too are in that Upper Room, the recipients of this divine action.

After the Ascension, with Jesus’ promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit hanging in the air, came that shining day of Pentecost, when the breath became a mighty wind and a blazing fire, pouring into those disciples and many others, emboldening them and strengthening them beyond all telling so that they went forth and changed the world.

Speed forward two millennia. What would we look like as Pentecostal people, having been baptized with that transformative wind-breath and fire? We would undoubtedly be filled with faith, but we would also be fortified and enlightened by all the new evolutionary understanding of people like Teilhard de Chardin, Illia Delio, Beatrice Bruteau and Gloria Schaab, who, in a new burst of Spirit, have breathed us into the 21st century, revealing to us our connection and oneness with one another.

Think about it. Those molecules from the breath of Jesus could be among the ones we are breathing today, for surely Jesus is as close as the air we breathe. Musician Sara Thomsen captures this reality in her song, By Breath:

The air that is my breath is the air that you are breathing; And the air that is your breath is the air that I am breathing. By breath, by blood, by body, by spirit, we are all one.

The whole movement of in-spiration has to do with drawing air into the lungs and breathing it out, as Jesus did, onto all peoples, into the cosmos, a sign, surely, that we are all one—beyond cultural categories, dualistic thinking, and political battlegrounds.

Although breathing is underrated as a Christian spiritual discipline, it is gaining popularity as a method for mindfulness and handling stress. It helped me personally, this taking in of long, deep breaths, when I found myself overcome by the results of the November presidential election. Now I consider my breathing to be a prayer. I inhale Jesus and exhale love and peace into the world. I do it again and again.

Sr. Diana Rawlings, ASC



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