Vigil of Pentecost
St. Simon Stock
Confessor of the Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel who received the Scapular
(16th May, transferred yesterday)
In today’s Holy Gospel (the Vigil of Pentecost), Our Lord will come to and abide in His disciples through the coming of the gift of the Holy Ghost. In the Holy Gospel for the Feast of St. Simon Stock, He tells us the necessary preparations for God meeting us at the threshold of our soul: purity (let your loins be girt, Lk. 12.35) – that there be no thoughts, desires, affections, delights, and movements of the bodily senses contrary to the Christian laws all of which direct us to the love of our one and only Good: Jesus (cf., Jn. 14.15, from today’s Holy Gospel); and, our lives at the service of the Truth (lamps BURNING in your hands, Lk. 12.35) – for Truth, that which is objective and therefore external to us (not that which is “for me”), leads us to the Good by much renunciation and subordination of everything contrary and secondary to God – not our mere possession of the Truth. It is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth (Jn. 14.16, from today’s Holy Gospel), who will help us in this our most perfect union with God possible in this our earthly life with a most perfect charity that is the bond of this divine union.
The Divine Office brings before us the action of the Holy Ghost in the life of St. Simon Stock of the school not just of divine union but that of intimate union with God – the school of Carmel, most especially the Teresian Carmel (intimate friendship with God). At the age of twelve, following divine inspiration, Simon Stock left his family and, renouncing things familiar and also the pomps of the world, withdrew himself to solitude in a hollow of a trunk of an oak tree where he could be separated from dealings of men so that he could devote himself assiduously to prayer and delight in contemplation; he rarely conversed with men and gave himself to vigils, fastings, and ascetical discipline (from the fourth Lesson in the second nocturn of the Office of Matins). This is what the Eternal Word teaches us in the “Introit” of today’s Mass: When I shall be sanctified in you, I will gather you together out of all the countries: and I will pour upon you clean water… and I WILL GIVE YOU A NEW SPIRIT. … A new spirit, that is, the spirit of “fuga mundi” (flight of the world) and “contra agere” (to go against the tide of the world and of our disordered passions and inclinations). We flee from those things the worldlings and nominal Christians go “gaga” with; we strive to walk along the narrow and difficult path that leads to Life and refuse to revel with the same worldlings and nominal Christians along their wide, easy, and smooth path that leads to eternal perdition. And following the protestation of the great Prophet of Carmel, we do not halt between two radically opposed ways (3 Ki. 18.21) which is the New [Dis-]Order of the day.