Grace to you!
Today is the Feast of the Visitation. Thus, before I share today’s reflection centered on Pentecost Novena, I would refer you to read my previous reflection on the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Happy Feast of the Visitation.
I invite you to walk with me as we, the Church, begin the Pentecost Novena in view of the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Last year, I reflected on a Pentecost Novena centered on the seven traditional gifts of the Holy Spirit—wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, and awe of the Lord. For this year’s Pentecost Novena, I would walk with you in discovering the numerous charisms (special gifts) the Holy Spirit gives us to serve in the Church and in society.
On this Day One, let us talk about the Gift of the Father through the Son—the Holy Spirit. During the Lord’s final teachings and words of encouragement to the disciples as recorded in the Gospel of John 16, he used several analogies to describe the work of the Holy Spirit.
One of the recurring themes is that the Lord would send us another Gift from the Father (see Jn 14:16-17; 15:26-27; see also Lk 11:13 and Lk 24:48-49). That Gift will fill our heart with joy. Our joy will be full (Jn 16:24).
When the early Church returned to Jerusalem and locked themselves in the Upper Room praying, as the Lord had asked them to do (Acts 1:6-12), they were waiting for this Gift of the Father. They weren’t waiting for gifts (plural). In fact, at the time they weren’t aware of what the Gift of God—the Holy Spirit’s coming would bring. They were simply waiting for the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus concerning the Gift of GOD (singular).
It is important to emphasize that we are better off if we ask for the Gift of God to us rather than simply the gifts of the Spirit. The Gift of God to us is the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes in our hearts or when the Spirit lives in us, the Spirit blesses us with numerous gifts that befit our vocation in life. Some of those gifts arise as circumstances require. New needs call for new gifts and a person lead by the Spirit is then gifted to respond to the needs as God deems fit for each one and each circumstance.
I have to say that none of us knows exactly what gifts are particularly crucial in our lives, career paths or ministries. The Lord, the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit knows. We are better off asking the Holy Spirit to dwell in us.
So, on this Day One of the Pentecost Novena, I would ask us to pray for the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Be sure that when the Holy Spirit is welcome in your heart as the gift of God’s love, he comes with numerous other gifts fitting for your nature. Those gifts could be related to Church leadership, such as ones called hierarchic gifts. Others could be related to unique charisms, called charismatic gifts (see Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, no. 4; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 768).
Pray, therefore, on this first day that God would visit you with the Gift of His love—the Holy Spirit. Pray with me: “Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful, enkindle in them [and in me] the fire of your love.” Amen.
Be sure to pray each day of this novena the traditional novena to the Holy Spirit--Come, Holy Spirit.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday After Ascension Thursday: Acts 18:9-18; Jn 16:20-23]
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.