Thursday, May 21, 2015

Come Holy Spirit: Breath

Appearance Behind Closed Doors, Duccio di Buoninsegna
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. [Jesus] said to them again,l “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” John 20:19-23
This painting looks like the exact opposite of its name, but we will just have to trust that Jesus and the apostles are inside. I really wanted to find a picture of Jesus breathing on the apostles. I know have seen one, but I have looked for days in every place I can think of and can't find anything. This is the first appearance of Jesus to His disciples after the Resurrection and this is the only picture I can find of this appearance.  There is some debate about this scripture as to whether this is another description of Pentecost, or if the apostles received the Holy Spirit here in some different way. I certainly don't know. It was, however, during this appearance that Christ instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Christ Taking Leave of His Disciples, Duccio di Buoninsegna
This, alas, is not a picture of Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit on his Apostles, but it seems as if it would be a fair representation of it. The quiet reflective mood of the apostles and they way they seem to be hanging on every word that Jesus speaks is what you would expect of a group of men being instructed by someone who has returned from the grave, and sending them on a grave mission without him.
Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Prayer from Day 7 of Novena to the Holy Spirit.

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