Petals cascade down from the Oculus of the Pantheon in Rome after Mass, symbolizing the tongues of fire.
Collect for Pentecost:
Deus, qui sacramento festivitatis hodiernae
universam Ecclesiam tuam
in omni gente et natione sanctificas,
in totam mundi latitudinem Spiritus Sancti dona defunde,
et, quod inter ipsa evangelicae praedicationis exordia
operata est divina dignatio,
nunc quoque per credentium corda perfunde.
Fr. J. T. Zuhldorf's "slavishly accurate" translation from What does the Prayer Really Say.
O God, who by the mystery of today’s feast
does sanctify Thy universal Church
in every people and nation,
pour down the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon the whole breadth of the earth,
and, because divine favor was at work
amongst the very beginnings of the preaching of the Gospel,
make them now to flow also through the hearts of believers.
From the Holy Father's homily (Via Zenit):
At times it is thought that missionary effectiveness depends primarily on careful programming and its subsequent intelligent application through a concrete commitment. The Lord certainly does ask us for our collaboration, but before any other response his initiative is necessary: His Spirit is the true protagonist of the Church. The roots of our being and of our action are in the wise and provident silence of God.I am always struck, by just how much emphasis Pope Benedict puts, time and again, on prayer, on contemplation, on silence, on listening to the Lord, on the mission of the Church not being any program or idea (or worse, ideology), but carrying forth, faithfully, Christ's work.
The images used by St. Luke to indicate the irruption of the Holy Spirit -- wind and fire -- recall the Sinai, where God revealed himself to the people of Israel and offered his covenant (cf. Exodus 19:3 and following). The feast of Sinai, which Israel celebrated 50 days after the Passover, was the feast of the Covenant.
On speaking of the tongues of fire (cf. Acts 3), St. Luke wants to represent Pentecost as a new Sinai, as the feast of the new Covenant, in which the Covenant with Israel is extended to all the nations of the earth. The Church has been catholic and missionary from her birth. The universality of salvation is manifested with the list of the numerous ethnic groups to which those belonged who heard the apostles' first proclamation (cf. Acts 2:9-11).
The Holy Spirit, on the contrary, makes hearts capable of understanding everyone's languages, as it re-establishes the bridge of authentic communication between earth and heaven. The Holy Spirit is love.(Emphases added.)
But, how is it possible to enter into the mystery of the Holy Spirit? How can the secret of love be understood? The Gospel passage takes us today to the Cenacle, where, the Last Supper being over, an experience of disconcert saddened the apostles. The reason was that Jesus' words aroused disturbing questions: He spoke of the world's hatred of him and of his own, he spoke of his mysterious departure; much remained to be said but at that moment the apostles were not able to bear the weight (cf. John 16:12).
To console them, he explained the meaning of his departure: He would go, but he would return; meanwhile, he would not abandon them, would not leave them orphans. He would send the Consoler, the Spirit of the Father, and the Spirit would enable them to know that Christ's work is a work of love: love of him who gave himself, love of the Father who has given him.
Love. Love! Beloved, love one another, for love is of God. For God is love!