May 23, 2019

Second Sermon On Mid-Pentecost (Peter Chrysologus)


On the Middle of Pentecost

By Peter Chrysologus, Archbishop of Ravenna

It is fitting that we made our way to gather at the midpoint of our great solemnity, since Jesus, our God and our Lord, the Consecrator of all feasts, proceeded, at the halfway-point of a festival, to go up to Jerusalem (cf. Jn. 7:14). For just as an avid traveler aiming for his destination is ever so happy to call to mind how much of his journey he has already completed, and he is thereby made stronger to complete what remains and has all his strength renewed, so now with solemn joy and devotion we observe this day which tempers and moderates the ardor of our anticipation, so that with our minds refreshed we may arrive at the grace and happiness of the Holy Spirit. This day has even greater appeal to us, because even though we might be unwilling,* nevertheless, it has drawn us most happily to the sacred feast of Pentecost.

So it is, brothers, so it is the entryway of our city, which has deserved to have doorkeepers who are so great and so holy that they keep it bolted from enemies, shut from the wicked, opened to the good, and allow the citizens complete access. So let us celebrate this delightful day in honoring the saints** with our spirits eager and our minds enraptured. "Let heaven be glad and the earth rejoice" (Ps. 95 (96):11), "let the mountains" leap "like rams, and the hills like the lambs of the flocks" (Ps. 113 (114): 4 and 6); "let the rivers clap their hands, as well as the sea and all that is in them" (Ps. 97 (98):7-8). Let all the elements resound in a harmonious melody in the praises of God; may God in all his glory hasten to us and prompt us to extol the Holy Spirit.


* Similarly, a resistance to this particular feast is also noted in Sermon 85.1.

** It is unclear to what this refers, but most likely to the saints commemorated in Ravenna on the day the sermon was delivered.