Table of Contents
Contemplations on the Pentecostal Hymn of Asomen
He Ascended into heaven,
And sent us the Paraclete;
The Spirit of Truth, the Comforter.
It is truly amazing to see someone, who, instead of living out life in an ordinary way, makes a total U-turn towards Christ Jesus, our true Lord and Savior. The Apostles, being the most down-to-earth people you can meet were just ordinary men, carrying out their daily responsibilities, with work and family. They were, by no means, the great minds of their time, they did not have any high social standing, and they did not have any special talents or abilities, in which other people could not obtain as well. We learn that the Apostles were very practical and rational people; they could not understand why Jesus, after a long, unsuccessful night of fishing, would ask them to go into the deep; when it was not customary to fish in the deep and to oddly cast out their nets in the middle of the day, as the fish do not stay at the surface due to the heat of the sun. They followed their tendencies, which caused them to be confused, and, evidently, fall. Peter and Andrew could not help but question Jesus, but still they obeyed, and boy were they in for a ride—a ride that would last the rest of their lives!
They were average men. For this reason, our Lord Jesus Christ chose them because of their simple hearts and humble characters: “Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles” (Lk. 6:12, 13). He truly exalted these humble men to become great Apostles of the King of Glory. He gave them the choice to either follow Him make them fishers of men (Matt.4:19), or to refuse this calling. Jesus gave them the command saying, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:18-20).
Christ said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Lk. 5:31-32). He gave the Apostles the Power of His Spirit. We ask You, O Lord to fill us with Your life-giving Spirit as You did with Your saintly Apostles in the upper room. Fill me with hope and faith, for “for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned”(Mt. 4:16). I have come to You as the sick one to his Physician, and as the hungry and needy to the satisfying food, as the thirsty to the spring of Living Water, as the poor to the source of all riches, as the sinner to the Savior, and as the dead to the Fountain of Life, for You are my salvation, my Healer, my Life, my Strength, my Comfort, my Joy, and my rest is in You.
Let us all praise the Lord;
For He is in Glory glorified.
In truth, He ascended into heaven, and poured out His Life-giving Spirit upon all, absolutely free of charge. He did not make any restrictions but gave His Spirit to all kinds of people, regardless of age, gender, social status, and previous vices. The Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, which dwells within us all, is the source of all riches and our spiritual sword against the enemy. Through His Holy Spirit we become as one who stumbles upon a great treasure in the field, opening the door of our hearts to receive the mysteries of life.
Let us all praise the Lord, for He indeed ascended into heaven, never to leave us alone, but rather gave us His own Spirit to bless and sanctify us. The sacrament of Baptism or ‘Bath,’ is given to anyone, offering them ‘the bath of regeneration,’ in which we are washed both with water and with the Spirit. Through it we are granted the remission of sins. Much like the crossing of the River Jordan, we pass from sin to righteousness, from filth to cleanliness. Through baptism, his or her restoration is total, and can be likened to a cure, which heals not only the patient’s wounds but also causes the very scars to disappear.
The Holy Spirit within us is a complete transformation, the putting off of the old man, and the deliverance from slavery-the complete illumination of the soul, which becomes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The moment we receive the Holy Spirit we put on the new man, spiritual rebirth and salvation, adoption as God’s son by grace, union with Christ in His resurrection as in His suffering and death, the right to a heavenly inheritance.
Even after receiving the Holy Spirit, we are constantly being directed and guided. An example of this is from the life of St. Antony, the Father of Monasticism. We are told that: “Antony, as though God has put him in mind of the Saints, and the passage had been read on his account, went out immediately from the church, and gave his possessions to the poor and fled to the desert.” We learn through the experience of St. Antony that the Spirit of God, dwelling within us, convicts, guides, teaches, reminds, comforts, helps, regenerates, prophecies, speaks, gives life, gives wisdom, separates and sends servants, sanctifies, purifies our deeds, liberates, testifies, and finally, invites us all to the heavenly wedding.
Again, Moses and his experience with the bush flaming with fire: He was called to be a prophet of God and to deliver God’s people from the bondage of the Egyptians—to separate the righteous from the disobedient. Do you think Moses could have neglected such a miraculous sight such as the bush flaming with fire? Do you think Moses would have chosen to be a prophet of God and to deliver God’s people from Egypt without the guidance of God’s Spirit? The Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt is very similar to the work of the Holy Spirit within us—the dove, commonly seen as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is filled with all innocence and meekness, and because the dove is very clean, not remaining in any place where there is foul odor. So it was with the people of Israel, and hence with the Holy Spirit within us.
What a wonderful example of the Spirit of God working with the lives of His saints. “Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7).
He Ascended into heaven,
And sent us the Paraclete;
The Spirit of Truth, the Comforter.
Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world, ascended in glory to heaven, His light being greater than the light of the sun! Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ left us not alone, and sent us the light, the Holy Spirit.
O God, Christ Jesus our Lord, we stand before Your holy sanctuary, praising with the Prophet and King David, beseeching You in our troubled times and asking You to send out the Holy Spirit: “send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling” (Ps. 43:3).
O God, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who was sent by Christ to dwell within us, You are the light who causes us to be children of light (Eph. 5:8,9), the light who aids us in finding what is pleasing to the Lord, who strengthens us so as not to participate in the works of darkness, who comforts us in our weaknesses, and whose light covers the darkness of sin within us when you lead us to repentance.
O God, the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, guide us into all truth (Jn. 16:13). O God, the Holy Spirit, let Your light shine within us, that we may be led into repentance, and have Your law of Christ established in us – that law which sets us free from sin and death (Rom 8:2).
He Ascended into heaven,
And sent us the Paraclete;
The Spirit of Truth, the Comforter.
Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ, taken up by the clouds of the sky (Acts 1:9), the wind moving it up, up, towards heaven! Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ left us not alone, and moved us by the true wind, the Holy Spirit.
O God, the Holy Spirit, You are the wind that rushed violently in the upper room where the disciples were during the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:2). As You have changed the disciples and prepared them to glorify the Father, may You, the true wind, move violently through us to blow away sin from within us, and liberate us from its bondage (Rom 8:2).
O God, the Holy Spirit, You are the wind that swept over the face of the waters, and created life out of the void earth and the dark face of the deep. As You have given life to the dead world in the time of creation, may you, the true wind, sweep away the vanity of our lives, put to death the deeds of the body, and give us life (Rom 8:13).
O God, the Holy Spirit, hear our prayers as we commemorate the Ascension and the Feast of Pentecost through this praise. Help us, O Holy Spirit, O you who is the wind that gave Adam life (Gen. 2:7), the wind who is God’s breath that gives us understanding (Job 32:8), the wind who parted the Red Sea, the wind who causes the sea to cover our enemies and sink like lead in the mighty waters (Ex. 5:10).
He made the two into one,
That is Heaven and Earth.
Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ, ascended to heaven, opened the doors of heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father. The whole life of Emmanuel was one that brought forth unity – through His incarnation He united God with humanity, through His acts in life He united humanity with God, through His suffering and death on the cross He united all people together and brought them to Himself, through His resurrection He united our bodies with our spirits, which were divided because of sin and death that reigned over us, and through His ascension He united all the heavenly creatures with the earthly creatures, making us one to the glory of God the Father.
Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ left us not alone, and made us drunk with the true wine, the Holy Spirit.
O God, the Holy Spirit, fill us with the wine that is of Your nature, and let us be drunk in the love of God. Lead us to seek You within us and enjoy Your presence within us, instead of seeking the pleasure of drinking the wine of the world, which leads only to a temporary pleasure. To be drunk with the wine of the world makes us forget the world’s problems temporarily, causing us to sing secular songs and act in a rowdy manner; but to be drunk with the wine that is of Your nature, O Holy Spirit, gives us peace and joy at all times, and causes us to be filled with love for God, such that we burst in the praise of God despite all the afflictions of the world.
“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:18-20).
O God, the Holy Spirit, the spiritual wine who fills us and allows us to realize our unity with God and the heavenly – the unity that was brought about by Christ when He ascended to heaven – hear our prayers as we praise You with the Lord Jesus Christ and the good Father. As Christ has sent You to be within us, may our hearts be united to Christ at all times through You. Amen. Alleluia.
O come all you nations,
Let us worship Jesus Christ.
Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ, ascended to heaven in great glory before the Apostles, and He will come again in glory, to be seen by all the nations. Behold, after His ascension He sent to us the Paraclete, who descended as fire upon the disciples.
O God, the Holy Spirit, who descended as fire upon the apostles gathered in the upper room, who made the apostles united in a true evangelic love, united with one another and united with Christ, who strengthened them and made them preachers of Christianity to all the nations; come and dwell in us and sanctify our hearts and our minds, our bodies and our spirits, that we may be united together with all the nations in love and peace, that we may in unison stand to praise God our creator and worship Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
O God, the Holy Spirit, let your fire flame strongly within us. As fire spreads everywhere and pervades all things without intermingling with them, let Your fire spread throughout the world, purifying each and everyone of us in all the nations of the earth.
O God, the Holy Spirit, as You have separated and sent Your servants, St. Paul and St. Barnabas, to preach the Word to all the nations of the world (Acts. 13:2), let Your fire destroy sin and separate us from the world, that we may through our deeds and words bring the nations of the world to glorify and worship our Lord Jesus Christ.
O God, the Holy Spirit, give us wisdom that we may act according to Christ’s teaching, give us the knowledge that we may be able bring others into the faith in Christ, give us the faith that we may remain firm in what has been revealed to us, and give us the love that keeps us together and nourishes our souls. Amen. Alleluia.
This is God our Savior,
and the Lord of everyone.
Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came by water and blood (1 Jn. 5:6), ascended to heaven with His holy Body. Behold, after His ascension He sent to us the Holy Spirit, who bears witness on earth to Him who came by water and blood (1 Jn. 5:6).
O God, the Holy Spirit, You testify about Christ with the water and blood. Your testimony is that the one who came, died, rose and ascended to heaven is God our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lord of everyone. The water that poured out from the side of Christ on the cross You bring to us today and everyday, so it may wash us from our sins.
O God, the Holy Spirit, You are the waters of baptism, through which we are regenerated (Titus 3:5). It is Your grace, O Holy Spirit, which blesses the water in which we are baptized, it is Your grace that has touched our heads with the hands of the priest. Through You, the pure water, we are washed and cleansed of our sins, and made whiter than snow (Ps. 51:7). Through You, the pure water, O Holy Spirit, we are washed with the water that poured from Christ’s side, and so we are clothed with Christ (Gal. 3:27), are buried and resurrected with Christ, and walk in the newness of life (Rom. 7:4). We belong to the Lord, and we have eternal life in the kingdom of heaven, because we have the Son (1 Jn. 5:11,12), and because we have been baptized of water, baptized of the Spirit (Jn. 3:5).
O God, the Holy Spirit, You are the oil that has been poured upon the heads of the kings and the prophets, who moved them to speak of things never thought of and gave them the spirit of prophecy. O Holy Spirit, the oil, who spoke by the prophets (1 Pet. 1:11), dwell in us and sanctify all the members of our bodies by the oil that has been anointed over our limbs. May our bodies remain the temples in which You abide, O Holy Spirit, for You are the oil that has been sealed on us so that we may glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19,20).
O God, the Holy Spirit, who regenerated us through water and sealed us with oil, continue to abide in us and teach us all things, for You have anointed us, O Spirit of Truth (1 Jn. 2:27). Amen. Alleluia.
Three in One,
and One in Three,
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
The Spirit of Truth, the Comforter,
Behold, the Lord Jesus Christ went into the waters of the River Jordan to be baptized on our behalf, and the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and alighted on Him, while the Father was heard saying: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt. 3:17).
O God, my Lord Jesus Christ, after Your baptism and the manifestation of the Holy Trinity, we have learnt that the Holy Spirit was with You at all times throughout Your life on earth. For after You were anointed with the Holy Spirit when He appeared as a dove (Acts 10:30), You were lead by the Spirit to be tempted in the wilderness (Mt. 4:1); You performed miracles in unity with the Spirit (Mt. 12:28); You were always united with the Spirit even during death and the resurrection. From this, we learn that because of You the Holy Spirit is with us throughout our life, and through the Holy Spirit we are united with You, and through You we are united with the Father. Behold, Christ our Lord, after His ascension, sent us the Holy Spirit, that we may be united with the Spirit as He was united with the Spirit.
O God, the Holy Spirit, the peaceful dove, whose works with us are ineffable in majesty and innumerable in quantity, as You have remained with Christ during His mission on earth after His baptism and His anointing, be with us at all times, for we have been baptized and anointed by You, the peaceful dove. Is it not through You that we have cried out “Abba! Father!” after our baptism (Gal. 4:6), and we become intimate with God? For You are one of the Holy Trinity, worshipped with the Father and the Son, and through You we are united to the Father and the Son.
O God, the Holy Spirit, the peaceful dove who provides us with comfort, strengthen our faith and guide us to all truth, and grant us the peace that is of Christ, given to us after His ascension (cf. Jn. 14:26-29). For You, O peaceful dove, who manifested Himself at the baptism of Christ, have renewed us through our baptism in Christ, and made us newborn babes, desiring the spiritual milk that You provide – the milk of knowledge, of faith, of hope, of love… the milk that lets us grow into salvation (1 Pet. 2:2), the milk that is given to the chosen race, the royal priesthood, the holy people, God’s own people (1 Pet. 2:9).
Glory is Yours, O God the Father, whose voice was heard from heaven, whose will is good and is compassionate towards our race. Glory is Yours, O God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who ascended to heaven from the earth, uniting them both, sat at the right hand of the Father, and sent us the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter. Glory is Yours, O God the Holy Spirit, who appeared as a dove, comforting us in troubles and guiding us to all truth.
Glory is Yours, O Holy Trinity, One God in Three Hypostases, and Three Hypostases in One God, where the Father is the witness of the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Son is the preacher of the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the teacher of the Father and the Son. Amen. Alleluia.