Eve of Pentecost

Daily Reading for May 22

The Spirit is simple in being. His powers are many. They are entirely present everywhere and in everything. He is distributed but does not change. He is shared yet remains whole. Consider the analogy of the sunbeam: each person on whom its kindly light falls rejoices as if the sun existed for him alone, yet it illumines land and sea and is master of the atmosphere. In the same way, the Spirit is given to each one who receives him as if he were the possession of that person alone, yet he sends forth sufficient grace to fill the entire universe. Everything that partakes of his grace is filled with joy according to its capacity—the capacity of its nature, not of his power. . . .

Through him hearts are lifted up, the infirm are held by the hand, and those who progress are brought to perfection. He shines on those who are cleansed from every spot and makes them spiritual people through fellowship with himself. When a sunbeam falls on a transparent substance, the substance itself becomes brilliant and radiates light from itself. So too Spirit-bearing souls, illumined by him, finally become spiritual themselves, and their grace is sent forth to others. From this comes knowledge of the future, understanding of mysteries, apprehension of hidden things, distribution of wonderful gifts, heavenly citizenship, a place in the choir of angels, endless joy in the presence of God, becoming like God, and the highest of all desires, becoming God.

From On the Holy Spirit 9.22-23 by Basil the Great, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament IVb, John 11-21, edited by Joel C. Elowsky (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2007).

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