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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

Details of Pentecost

Fr. Scott A. Haynes

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost descended like fire unto Our Lady, the Apostles, and the disciples who awaited His coming. While they received great gifts, others in Jerusalem received dreadful punishments. We learn of the powerful story of Pentecost in the Holy Scriptures, but the Venerable Maria of Agreda, was given details about that day that further astonish us:

“[On Pentecost Sunday] This plentitude of wonders and prodigies overflowed and communicated itself also to others outside of the Cenacle; for it caused diverse and various effects of the Holy Spirit among the inhabitants of Jerusalem and its vicinity. All those who, who with some piety had compassioned our Savior Jesus in his Passion and Death, deprecating his most bitter torments and reverencing his sacred Person, were interiorly visited with new light and grace, which disposed them afterwards to accept the doctrine of the Apostles.”[1]


Venerable Maria then speaks of “the dreadful thunders and violent commotion of the atmosphere and the lightnings”[2] that came on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost “disturbed and terrified the enemies of the Lord in that city, each one according to his own malice and perfidy.”[3] She writes:

“This chastisement was particularly evident in those who had actively concurred in procuring the death of Christ, and who had signalized themselves in their rabid fury against Him. All these fell to the ground on their faces and remained thus for three hours. Those that had scourged the Lord were suddenly choked in their own blood, which shot forth from their veins in punishment for shedding that of the Master. The audacious servant, who had buffeted the Lord, not only suddenly died, but was hurled into hell body and soul. Others of the Jews, although they did not die, were chastised with intense pains and abominable sicknesses. These disorders, consequent upon shedding the blood of Christ, descended to their posterity and even to this day continue to afflict their children with most horrible impurities. This chastisement became notorious in Jerusalem, although the priests and Pharisees diligently sought to cover it up, just as they had tried to conceal the Resurrection of the Savior.”


Venerable Maria explains that these divine punishments “extended also to the depths of hell, where the demons felt themselves seized with new confusion and oppression for three days, just as the Jews lay on the earth for three hours.”[4] She further explains that during those three days “Lucifer and his demons broke forth in fearful howlings, communicating new terror and confusion of torments to all the damned.”[5]


When the Apostles preached to the multitudes, every person heard them in their own tongue, as Scriptures record. Those who listened piously received a deep understanding of the salvific work of Christ, which helped them to feel sorrow for sin and to ask for God’s mercy. While all this happened, Our Lady supported the Apostles with her prayers, sending holy angels to strengthen them as they fulfilled their mission.


The Apostles were extremely timid and afraid before the Holy Ghost came with His grace, even hiding in the Upper Room for fear of the Jews. But when the Holy Ghost gave them spiritual gifts, they gained the strength to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth with no fear and all but one of them were martyred for the Faith.


Venerable Maria of Agreda explains that, throughout the Octave of Pentecost, the Apostles “continued without intermission their preaching and their miracles, and through the entire octave they instructed not only the three thousand, who had been converted on Pentecost day, but multitudes of others, who day by day accepted the faith.”[6] She further elucidates that, since the multitudes came from a myriad of places, each speaking in his own language, the grace the Holy Ghost gave of the understanding of tonguues “was given not only to the Apostles,”[7] but it was also given to “all the one hundred and twenty, who were in the Cenacle”[8] on the day of Pentecost.


Venerable Maria tells us that this was necessary at the time “on account of the great multitudes, who came to the faith…”[9] Many of the women in Jerusalem who were a witness to the miracle of Pentecost “went to Magdalen and her companions, who catechized, instructed and converted them and others that came at the report of the miracles they performed.”[10] Many miracles were wrought on the day of Pentecost by Mary, the Apostles, and the company of one hundred and twenty who received the gifts of the Holy Ghost.  


Venerable Maria encourages us that, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, “this change from virtue to vice, from good to evil, consists not in any change of the heavens and the stars, but in a change of men, who have strayed form the straight way of life eternal and walk the way of perdition…”[11] She exhorts us not to call ourselves “children of light” unless we are truly striving to live in the Light of Christ. We should not put forth a false image of holiness, as we cloak our vices and cover up our sins.[12] We should remember that God has said: “Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time.”[13] Certainly those who had participated in the cruel crucifixion of Christ learned that. Those who persisted in their wickedness and were unrepentant tasted the bitter wrath of God, while those who were touched by Calvary, such as Dismas, the Good Thief, or Longinus, the Roman soldier who pierced Christ’s Heart, were converted by grace. Thus, Venerable Maria of Agreda exhorts us:

“Let then mortals, who have sinned against God, undeceive themselves: without penance their shall be no grace, without reform no pardon, without pardon no glory. But just as these are not conceded to those that are unworthy, so they are never denied to those that are worthy; nor is ever the mercy of God withheld from anyone who seeks to obtain it.”[14]



[1] Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. IV, 64.

[2] Ibid., 65.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 66.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 83.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., 86.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Deuteronomy 32:5.

[14] Mystical City of God, Vol. IV, 94.



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