Pentecost is often called the birthday of the Church.This is because the coming of the Holy Spirit transformed the Apostles from being a group of of Christ into being the the living presence of Christ in the world. Three symbols help us understand the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The Scriptural account of the first Pentecost (in Acts 2:1-11) tells us that the coming of the Holy Spirit was signaled by the sound of a strong driving wind. Wind is invisible, like the Holy Spirit; we do not see the wind, but we see and feel its effects. The same is true of the Holy Spirit. Also, we could say that the wind was like the breath of God himself. (In fact, the Latin word for breath is.)
The Acts of the Apostles tell us that tongues of fire appeared and came to rest on each of the Apostles. Fire shows us the warmth of love and the light of faith; these are two important aspects of the life and work of the Holy Spirit in us.
A third symbol of the Holy Spirit is found in the Gospel accounts of the Baptism of Christ. They tell us that the Holy Spirit appeared over Christ in the form of a dove. The dove is a sign of peace; one of the clearest signs that we are being guided by the Holy Spirit is that we have true inner peace.
Today we rejoice in the many ways that the invisible, yet infinitely powerful, Spirit of God works in us and around us. May all we do be guided by the Holy Spirit, the life-breath of God himself.