Preparing for Pentecost
It’s time to prepare for Pentecost so that we can receive Jesus’s greatest gift. On May 18th we start nine days of prayer: a novena to the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost is the celebration of fifty days following Easter, completing the Passover of our salvation. It is the day on which the apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s own divine life. This is the goal of our salvation: becoming God’s temple in order to be one with him.
Jesus says something shocking in John’s Gospel: “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (16:7). After spending three years with his disciples, he assures them that it will be even better if he leaves them physically because he will be even closer to them through his Spirit, who will remake and transform them. We see this happening after Pentecost: the apostles are like new men; instead of the cowards who ran away at Jesus’s betrayal, we see them boldly proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus even to their death.
“Wait for the promise of the Father”: This is what Jesus told the disciples on the day of Ascension (Acts 1:4). This started the first novena, a tradition of nine days of prayer, which many Christians continue before Pentecost each year. Each Pentecost day should be a renewal of the Spirit’s presence, which we received at Baptism and Confirmation, as we open our hearts to his love and seek to live through his gifts. Just like the apostles, gathered together in the upper room in Jerusalem, you can gather with your family to pray on each of these nine days.
The end of the Easter season, therefore, has a culmination in the Holy Spirit novena, when we join with the apostles and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit to be renewed in us. You can find many prayer to pray over these nine days, but here is one you could use:
PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen
Dr. Staudt serves as Director of Content for Exodus and as an Instructor for the Lay Division of St. John Vianney Seminary. He is the author of How the Eucharist Can Save Civilization (TAN), Restoring Humanity: Essays on the Evangelization of Culture (Divine Providence Press) and The Beer Option: Brewing a Catholic Culture Yesterday & Today (Angelico Press). He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Ave Maria University and B.A. and M.A. in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN). He and wife, Anne, have six children and he is a Benedictine oblate.
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