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The Upper Room in Jerusalem – A “Thin Place”

Fr. Michael Shea, C.M., Associate Director of the Miraculous Medal, Shrine reflects on Pentecost through the lens of some Irish mystics.

The Most Important Room in Christendom

The Irish mystics talk about a Thin Place … a Place where heaven and earth have intersected giving people a taste, a glimpse, a momentary experience of the presence of God.

The Upper Room in Jerusalem, the Cenacle where Jesus and a number of his followers gathered together on various occasions, is a Thin Place. Three majestic events happened there. First, on Holy Thursday evening Jesus gathered in the Upper Room with several of his disciples to celebrate the Passover meal. The Lord used this occasion to institute the Eucharist. The following Sunday evening, Easter Sunday, the risen Lord appeared to his apostles in the same Upper Room. He offered them shalom peace and instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Then fifty days after Easter the Holy Spirit, in the form of tongues of fire, descended upon the apostles in the Upper Room and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church was founded. On these three occasions the Upper Room, the most important room in Christendom, was a Thin Place … a Place where heaven and earth intersected giving people a taste, a glimpse, a momentary experience of the presence of God.

A Suggestion For Pentecost

May 31st is Pentecost Sunday. On that day I suggest that we visit the Upper Room virtually. As baptized Christians, as people filled with God’s Holy Spirit, we can do this by quieting ourselves down, raising our minds and hearts to God in prayer and allow the Holy Spirit, who dwells in our hearts, to reach out to the Holy Spirit who descended upon the apostles in the Upper Room fifty days after Easter… and linger there. If we do this, heaven and earth may intersect within us and make our hearts a Thin Place.

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