” When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound, the multitude came together, and they were bewildered because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” (Acts 2:1–11)

Is it not providential that we will be celebrating the feast of Blessed Maria Domenica Brun Barbantini three days after Pentecost? This was the question I had asked myself as I reflected once again on the life of this blessed foundress. Last Sunday, we heard in the first reading how the Holy Spirit filled the apostles in the upper room. The fear in their hearts and the feeling of directionlessness were replaced by fortitude and understanding. They became so courageous with their conviction in Christ Jesus that they proclaimed Him openly, and everyone present during that time understood them. Looking at the life of Blessed Maria Domenica, we can see how she had also experienced Pentecost in her own “upper room”. We know how Blessed Maria Domenica endured tragedies and sufferings in her life; she had said, “I don’t know how I didn’t lose my sanity.” It was in this ‘upper room’ of her sorrows and tears that Jesus, now her only love and eternal portion, sent her the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit that sustained her, consoled her, fortified her, and helped her transform the unspeakable drama in her life into an offering of her life! Filled with the Holy Spirit and immense love for God, she courageously proclaimed her conviction in Christ Jesus, not only by words but more so by carrying out the works of mercy, especially for the sick and the dying. As the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles like tongues of fire on that first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit also came and rested in Blessed Maria Domenica, which made her heart inflamed with love for God and for others. This fire, which for me represented by the fire in her lamp, illuminated dark alleys of hopelessness and helplessness during her time.

Blessed Maria Domenica’s experience of Pentecost shows us that while she did not speak in tongues like the apostles, she was able to speak a language that everyone can understand—and that is the language of love! Through her works, Blessed Maria Domenica communicated and attested to the gospel message that “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him” (1 John 14:16). This language is spoken by Love himself. Blessed Maria Domenica teaches us that in our world today, marred with the language of conflicts, wars, poverty, famine, and death, we need to speak the language of love. A love that is not selfish, but always seeks the good of others. A love that is willing to serve and not to be served. A love that knows no boundaries, even in the face of danger and death. But only this is possible if we allow God to make us experience Pentecost, just as Blessed Maria Domenica allowed God into her life.

Brothers and sisters, fellow devotees of Blessed Maria Domenica, this is the good news: we can still experience Pentecost! God is more than willing to send us his Holy Spirit so that we may also renewed and transformed. May the life of our dear Maria Domenica Brun Barbantini inspire us to open up ourselves to this experience so that we may all become courageous and convicted in loving one another so that God’s love may be perfected in us!

May Blessed Maria Domenica pray for us always! Happy feast day to us all!

Br. Christian Allain P. Cerda, T.O.Carm.