Pentecost: “Come Holy Spirit” – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Pentecost: “Come Holy Spirit” – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr. John Esseff and Kris McGregor celebrate Pentecost, emphasizing its significance as the birthday of the Church and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Monsignor Esseff describes Pentecost as the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit, who brings unity and love to humanity. He reflects on the event in the Acts of the Apostles where the Holy Spirit descends on the apostles, enabling them to speak in different languages, symbolizing the reunification of humanity through divine love.

Msgr. Esseff explains that the Holy Spirit’s language is love, which calls all people to unity, transcending linguistic and cultural barriers. Every human has an innate desire for this divine love and unity, emphasizing that through baptism and the Holy Spirit, all believers become part of one body in Christ. He encourages listeners to recognize the universal invitation to salvation and divine life, and that the Spirit’s gifts are meant for the common good and unity of all people.

He discusses the challenges of maintaining unity within the faith community, attributing division to hatred and self-centeredness. Msgr. Esseff urges believers to embody Christ’s love and work towards unity, acknowledging the Spirit’s presence even among those not baptized; offering hope and encouragement to those struggling with loved ones who have strayed from faith, reminding them of God’s enduring love and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.

Sequence — Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Significance of Pentecost: How does recognizing Pentecost as the birthday of the Church deepen your understanding of its importance in the Christian faith?
  2. Holy Spirit’s Role: In what ways can you see the Holy Spirit working in your own life and community today?
  3. Language of Love: How can you better communicate God’s love to others, especially those from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds?
  4. Unity in Diversity: What steps can you take to promote unity within your faith community, respecting and valuing its diversity?
  5. Responding to Division: How do you address and overcome feelings of hatred or division within your own heart and relationships?
  6. Living as One Body: Reflect on St. Paul’s description of the Church as one body. How can you contribute to the well-being and unity of this body?
  7. Invitation to All: How can you extend the invitation of God’s love and unity to those who feel excluded or disconnected from the Church?
  8. Witnessing Through Actions: How can your actions better reflect the presence and love of the Holy Spirit in your daily life?
  9. Hope for Loved Ones: In what ways can you offer love, prayer, and support for family members or friends who have strayed from the faith?
  10. Prayer for Renewal: How can you incorporate prayers for the Holy Spirit’s renewal and guidance into your daily spiritual practice?

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton. He was ordained on May 30, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA. Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Teresa of Calcutta. He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity around the world. Msgr. Esseff encountered St. Padre Pio, who would become a spiritual father to him. He has lived in areas around the world, serving in the Pontifical Missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor. Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute. He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians, and other religious leaders around the world.