Today is Friday in the Octave of Pentecost, or at least it ought to be in in the Novus Ordo as it is in the older, Traditional Roman Calendar.
This is the fifth PODCAzT for the Pentecost Octave.
Today we will look at some customs associated with Pentecost, very beautiful. These customs informed the rhythm of people’s lives for centuries.
Then we will drill into the image of the dew of the Holy Spirit. Which, as Preserved would put it, it isn’t as hard as some bishops think. We enlist the help of a very wise Bishop, the great Ambrose of Milan (+397) who always explained hard things to his people rather than assume that they were too stupid to get the point. Ambrose wrote a work On the Holy Spirit in which he explains the dew that descended on Gideon’s fleece in the Book of Judges. So, we will hear Judges 6 and 7 and then Ambrose’s allegorical commentary. Fascinating stuff.
This reading from Scripture and the Patristic commentary, gives a sense of how the Father’s worked with Scripture and how their reflections can be useful for us today.
For music, we have an antiphon for Pentecost in Gregorian chant, and a bitter sweet song Dancing at Whitsun, a folk song, which speaks of the rhythm of our lives and the challenges we endure. I like this version best. There is something right about it being sung by a woman. There is a Fanstasia super Kom, Heiliger Geist BWV 651 by J.S. Bach on the pipe organ, which Holy Church recommends above all other instruments. We hear a haunting Byzantine Communion for mid-Pentecost, in other words this very week and at the end a real change of pace, which you can listen to yourselves.