Grace to you and Happy Easter!
I welcome you to Day 1 of the Novena to the Holy Spirit. Did you know that this is the novena of all novenas? You are probably familiar with different novenas in our Catholic Christian spirituality—Marian novenas, novena to St. Joseph, novena to St. Jude, novena to St. Theresa, etc. Did you know that all these novenas took from the first novena ever in the history of the Church? It's the novena to the Holy Spirit.
It was the novena right from the mouth of the Lord Jesus as he was ascending to His Father. He told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). The disciples didn't know what that meant or how long they were to wait. Thank God, they obeyed the Lord and waited in prayer. Providentially, the Holy Spirit came on the ninth day from which we got the name—novena (Latin for nine).
The practice of novena prayers in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church was lost for centuries. It pleased the Lord to restore it when in 1897, Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical Divinum Illud Munus (On the Holy Spirit). In that encyclical, the Holy Father called for a novena (nine days of prayer to the Holy Spirit) throughout the Church in anticipation of Pentecost's day. So much of this is background information.
Let's get back to our objective for these nine days of prayer to the Holy Spirit. Our reflections' style would change to a devotional, to connect us with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
On this Day-I of the novena to the Holy Spirit, may we reflect on what the first disciples did in anticipation of the Promised Gift. They obeyed the Lord Jesus and went back to Jerusalem and started to pray.
On this first day of our novena, let us open our hearts to hear Jesus speak to us. Listening to him as he says: "My child, I want to give you the special Gift. The Gift of my Spirit, the Advocate."
If you have received the Sacrament of Confirmation, you have received the Holy Spirit. The Lord wants a revitalized presence of his Spirit, too, which the Church invites us to welcome. If you have not received the Sacrament of Confirmation, novena to the Holy Spirit is even more appropriate for you.
The novena renews our Spirit, making our hearts more docile to the Holy Spirit within us. For those who have not received him the first time, the novena makes them more disposed for the Holy Spirit's renewal.
I would ask you have some quiet time this evening, or at your convenience, and pray the classic prayer to the Holy Spirit “Veni Creator Spiritus.” Meditate on those words, pray over them as you meditate on Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 1:1-5.
Pray: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful; enkindle in them the fire of your love. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.