by HFH Reuvers


As a little eight years old boy I received a beautiful coloring page at school. It was a picture of the twelve apostles, gathered around virgin Mary in the cenacle. Of course, I didn't know yet this was the room where Jesus and the same apostles had eaten the last supper. In the picture, I saw at the ceiling a dove that radiated beams of light and above the heads of each of the apostles a flame. The dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent us after his ascension to help us permanently. The flames represent the enthusiasm and the mental faculties which the Holy Spirit gave to the apostles, whereby they could speak about Jesus in all languages. When distributing the coloring pages, the teaching miss probably told that the apostles first sat praying unsuspectingly in the cenacle, when suddenly a wind sprang up and the Holy Spirit descended upon them.

Such a coloring page very nicely depicts the essence of Pentecost: the Holy Spirit who proceeds from God the Father and God the Son is working in the Church from that moment, a short time after Jesus' ascension. Among other things, this makes the pope infallible when he solemnly proclaims a dogma about Catholic faith.
But ... I think some groups of Protestant and Catholic faithful exaggerate the influence of the Holy Spirit. They claim that the Holy Spirit gives to their group or leaders very special assistance. They become over-enthusiastic, lift their arms up to heaven, utter disorderly sounds (they call it 'speaking in tongues'), and they testify in a loud voice they have suddenly been converted or restored to health. I'm alluding to the diverse charismatic and pentecostal movements.
I'm not able nor allowed to judge of these movements, but I don't like them. They are so contrary to the sober sort of Catholicism I received during my childhood.