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St. Luke, Archbishop of Crimea

The great feast has arrived, a feast of great joy for Christians: The Holy Spirit has descended upon the apostles, and not only upon the apostles—the Holy Spirit has come to the world to fulfill the promise made to us by our Lord Jesus Christ when He said, “I will not leave you orphans, I will send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.” And the Holy Spirit sanctified the Earth, and He will lead the Christian race on the path of salvation to the end of the ages. The Holy Spirit came down first of all upon the apostles. And how did He come down? In the form of fiery tongues, visibly. The Holy Spirit has not descended visibly like this upon anyone else since then. What does this mean? Why was it needed that the Holy Spirit should descend upon the holy apostles in the form of fiery tongues, visible and tangible to all? Because the apostles where saints; because through them, through their preaching, the Holy Gospel would be confirmed throughout the whole world.

They were the first preachers of the Gospel, the first to bring the light of Christ into the world. This is why the Holy Spirit marked them in this way, descending upon them in the form of fiery tongues. He made their hearts and minds fiery, sanctified and enlightened them, reminded them of everything they had heard earlier from the Lord Jesus Christ, and gave them strength, so that they would bring the whole world to Christ. But doesn’t the Holy Spirit come down upon all who are worthy to receive Him? Wasn’t St. Seraphim of Sarov filled with the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit came down upon him not in the form of fiery tongues but in such a way that it took possession of all his thoughts, desires, feelings, and longings. He filled St. Seraphim. Thus did the Holy Spirit fill many, many saints, and thus did the Holy Spirit fill also all of us unworthy contemporary Christians, for in the Sacrament of Chrismation and Baptism we are all given the grace of the Holy Spirit. All are given this grace, all have received it, but not all have preserved it. Many have lost this treasure, lost the grace of the Holy Spirit.

For could the Holy Spirit possibly abide in an impure heart that is filled with sin? As smoke chases away the bees, as stench repels all people, so does the stench of the human heart repel the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives only in pure hearts, and only to them does He grant His Divine grace, His holy gifts, for He is the “Treasury of good things”—all the true and most precious goods