Today, Sunday 4, is the Solemnity of Pentecost! The descent of the Holy Spirit on the nascent Church was both dramatic and life-changing.
Pentecost was an extraordinary event since it filled the Apostles with God’s power. From now on they feared no one anymore. Beacause the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, was finally in charge of their lives!
Biblically speaking the Holy Spirit is the Spirit ofrestoration. A restoration to “what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2). Moreover, in the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus’ proclamation from the prophet Isaiah clearly shows that the Holy Spirit is the principal agent of real restoration. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). In each and everyone of us there is the poor, the captive, the blind, and the oppressed.
In what way can the Holy Spirit preach to me the good news? How can he proclaim to me my own release from prison? How can he restore my sight and set me free? How can he format my life to make it acceptable to our Lord? After much thinking about this whole issue the Pentecost novena gave me the answer my heart craved for. The more I prayed it the more I realized that it is only thanks to the Holy Spirit’s power that you and me can become saints. Irrespective of my efforts I cannot save myself. I am solely saved by God’s grace. Therefore I must entrust myself completely to the Holy Spirit’s working in me, thanks of course to the death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Day one centres on charity. “The great charity of all the host of Saints is only made possible by your power, Oh Divine Spirit”. So, please, “increase in me, the virtue of charity that I may love as God loves with the selflessness of the Saints”. Day two my heart pines for your joy oh Lord! “All of the Saints are marked with an uncompromising Joy in times of trial, difficulty and pain”. “Oh Holy Spirit, [give me] the Joy that surpasses all understanding that [I] may live as a witness to Your love and fidelity!” On Day three I long for peace. “The saints were tempted, attacked and accused by the devil who is the destroyer of peace. Oh Holy Spirit, when [I am] accused by the devil, come to [my] aid as [my] Advocate and give [me] peace that lasts through all trials!” Day four encourages me to grow in patience. “Oh Holy Spirit, you [who] give lavishly to those who ask [you] please give [me] the patience of the Saints who are now with you in heaven. Help [me] to endure everything with an eternal patience that is only possible with your help”.
Day five reminds me of how I direly need kindness. “Jesus approached sinners with immense kindness”. Thus, “Holy Paraclete, please treat me, a humble sinner, with the same kindness and give [me] the ability to treat all others with that kindness as well”. Day six instructs me about the infinite value of faithfulness. Holy Spirit, “you, oh Lord, are ever faithful … until the end. Though [I am] weak and distracted, please give me the grace to be faithful to You as you are to me!” Day seven opens me for gentleness. Lord, “despite the gravity of [my] sins … you treat [me] with gentleness. Dear Holy Spirit, give [me] your power to treat all in our lives with the Gentleness of the Saints”.
Day eight leads me to self-control. “Your Martyrs had the overwhelming self-control to go joyfully to a painful death without shrinking from the opportunity to join You in heaven. [Dear Holy Spirit] give [me] this self-control to have command over [my] emotions and desires that [I] may serve You more fully”. Finally, on day nine, I desire “to be like your Saints in heaven”. Hence, “Holy Spirit, renew [me] by your power with your Goodness that [I] may bring the Good News to the world”.
Holy Spirit restore me in you! Amen!
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap