Pentecost Letter 2024

Beloved in Christ,

Pentecost is about the ingathering of the nations. It also celebrates the giving of the Torah, the “Law” or “Instruction,” God’s Words to Moses on Sinai. Today this Instruction has disappeared from our society. We are lawless. We are no longer, in any full and genuine sense, a society of laws, but society of men: a place where those in power do what they please and use the pretense of law to punish and destroy those whom they identify as their political or social enemies.

So we are at war, as the Church has always been, with the “spirit of the age.” This language is derived from Ephesians 2:1-3, where St. Paul speaks of “the αἰών of this world.” The word αἰών refers to a time or “age,” but, as Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon puts it, is “so connected with ἄημι to breathe, blow, as to denote properly that which causes life, vital force.” It is connected then to what has been called the zeitgeist, the “spirit of the times,” or “dominant spirit of the age.” This spirit is today very overtly demonic. It is bent on destruction. This shows up under many guises, under various terminologies, and flows out of various interrelated ideologies and evil philosophies. These include Cultural Marxism, manifested as DEI and numerous other related forms and public agendas. Postmodernismis another form, which teaches the self-contradictory idea that the only thing we know is that we can’t know anything, that there is no objective reality. This disordered presupposition has now even been applied, in some places, to empirical sciences like physics and to disciplines like math. And various forms of the false ideology of Nihilismare also included. Nihilismsays that all things are inherently meaningless, and that there is no such thing as purpose, meaning, significance. All of these wicked philosophies are bent on burning down all the foundations of Western culture and eradicating all influences and activities of Christianity in particular.

Lawlessness and the influences of evil also show up in anti-child agendas. The goal is to eliminate as many children in the womb as possible and to raise abortion and infanticide to the level of a sacred rite. Failing this, the goal is to corrupt children, whether by Marxism, Transgenderism, or whatever other tools come close to hand. Those involved seek to destroy innocence, a particular virtue connected to what it means to be a child. Children are instead to be used, indoctrinated to hate marriage and family and God from Whom all goodness comes. In all this the demonic plan to destroy what is good reveals itself.

The war against the family, against genuine marriage, against beauty and truth themselves in every possible venue, is now in full force. The dominant media, government authorities, members of the corporate elites, and other members of a globalist oligarchy now denounce as “evil” or “immoral” everything at the heart of genuine being, of human nature as God designed it to be. Such attacks on goodness are, of course, not really new. But the extent and the intensity of it, has reached a point never before seen in the history of our country, or even in world history. All foundations of truth and goodness and beauty are now attacked at once. And so the woes, the curses which come from covenant violation, from attacking goodness, are upon us. As God says through Isaiah, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” As God said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18).

Yet, to us, His Church, God gives a sure and certain hope, and an expectation of victory over evil. God gives us the sure prophetic Word (2 Peter 1:19), the “vision” by which we see things truly. God’s Word, properly understood, is our anchor. For it is God-breathed (θεόπνευστος often translated as “inspired,” but literally “God-breathed, see 2 Tim. 3:16). And “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along – φέρω – by the Holy Spirit.”). Jesus Himself, along with the Holy Spirit Who always accompanies the proclamation of the Scriptures, uses the Scriptures to lead us into union with Himself, the Truth, and through Him also to the Father. He joins us to the source of all fatherhood (Eph. 3:14-15), to the Trinity Who is in Himself the perfect, eternal Family.

The proclamation of the Scriptures in, by, and through the Church is for the transformation of the world. That is part of the mission and meaning of Pentecost. It is also what is unpacked throughout the whole season afterwards, in the long “green season” of growth in Him, sitting at His feet and learning His teaching, and summoning others to also “come and see” (John 1:46). As God says in Wisdom of Solomon 1:7, “For the Spirit of the Lord filleth the world” Our Lord’s Words are designed to go out. They are not intended to be hidden under a basket (Matt. 5:14-16) but to echo through the whole created world (cf. Ps. 19), calling all human persons home to Him. The mission of Israel was to receive God’s Words and then to proclaim those Words, calling all nations to God. This, the meaning of Pentecost, is the undoing of Babel, so that all people again speak with “one lip” (Gen. 11:1) one true statement of the Faith. God called Israel to be His holy nation, His priestly people (Ex. 19:6). Israel failed to do this ingathering, to be the instrument of this Pentecost mission. They failed to be the firstborn priest among the nations: interceding, sacrificing, proclaiming in Word and action the only true God. The nations converted them to idolatry instead.

Therefore in the fullness of time God Himself came, as the heir of David, the fulfillment of all the covenants God swore. God the Son took into His eternal Person a second nature, a real human body, soul, and will. He came as Israel reduced to one, the perfect Israelite (Matt. 2:13-15), the new Adam (1 Cor. 15:45-49), and the ultimate firstborn (Melchizedek) kind of priest (Heb. 7). He offered Himself as the perfect Sacrifice, in the perfect act of loving devotion, stronger than death. And He has baptized and confirmed us into union with Himself and His sacrifice. He has buried us and raised us up together with Him (Rom. 6:4-11), and, in His Ascension, has even raised us up to sit with Him in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6).

Christ commissions and sends out His Apostles, and then sends the Holy Spirit from the Father to lead all peoples, all nations under heaven, to Himself. His goal is that His people might be like the stars in heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore, a union of heaven and earth centered in Himself. He makes His Church the new Israel, the restored holy nation, a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Now under our Lord’s direction, empowered by the Holy Spirit, God continues, in us, to work out of His economy (oikonomia): His family plan for all. Christ our God by the power of the Holy Ghost works through us that will, to use us powerfully, until the whole New Creation comes, and His will is fulfilled in all things, on earth as in heaven.

O heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life, come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One!

May God’s will for the ingathering of all be part of our vision, our understanding, our purpose in the days to come, that His Name may in all things be glorified!

In Christ our God,

+ Patrick S. Fodor
Bishop, Diocese of the Missouri Valley