Dear Mother Miriam, I know that Pentecost celebrates the birth of the Church, but I was taught also that the Church was born from the pierced side of Christ on Calvary. Can it be both?
Perhaps in a sense, dear Zelda. Just as with human birth, life begins at the moment of conception in the mother’s womb. Yet the fullness of its manifestation, so to speak, takes place nine months later at the birth of that child from its mother’s womb.
In his encyclical, Mystici Corporis Christi (the Mystical Body of Christ), Pope Pius XII, quoting Leo XIII, writes: “The Church which, already conceived, came forth from the side of the second Adam in His sleep on the Cross, first showed Herself before the eyes of men on the great day of Pentecost.”
Saint John Chrysostom, in his teaching on the power of Christ’s blood, writes: There flowed from His side water and blood…symboliz(ing) baptism and the Holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the Holy Eucharist. ( Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. II, p. 474)