On the Doctrine of Faith concerning the Holy Ghost.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Doctrine of Faith concerning the Holy Ghost.
To-day, my soul, rise up on the wings of meditation to the celestial courts, and there place yourself in the presence of the great, the infinite, the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Pass rapidly in review the works whereby God the Father has revealed His unseen existence to man, making Himself known in the work of creation, as God the Son does in the work of redemption. Now the third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Ghost, emerges from the bosom of the mysterious life of Heaven hidden from human ken.
1st. As the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son from all eternity, so now in time He is sent by the Father and the Son. He is not on this account less than the other two divine Persons, inferior to those who send Him, for, bear it well in mind, faith teaches us that all the three Persons are one in essence, one in omnipotence, equal in wisdom, etc. Do we not repeat in the Creed: I believe in the Holy Ghost who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified? Yes, muse awhile on the sublimity, the divinity of the Comforter who is to come, who is worthy to be adored and worshipped, in order to stimulate yourself to celebrate the feast of Pentecost with greater devotion and more profound reverence.
2d. Consider furthermore what the Church teaches us regarding the Holy Ghost, and meditate upon it. The Father decrees, the Son executes, the Holy Ghost consummates. God the Father decreed from all eternity the creation and redemption of man, the Son, as the Word of the Father performed the work of creation, and in this character of God made man wrought the redemption of mankind, while the Holy Spirit, “moving over the face of the waters,” finished the creation of the world, and completed the work of redemption by abiding in the Church until the consummation of ages. Moreover we pray to God the Father through the Son and by virtue of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost does not proceed from the Father as does the second Person of the Holy Trinity, He is not begotten and consequently is not, like Him, designated as a Son, but He proceeds from the Father in another, an unknown, mysterious manner. The mission of the divine Persons in time corresponds to the procession of those divine Persons in eternity. God the Father is made of none, therefore He cannot be sent. The Son is from the Father alone, therefore He was sent by the Father. The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son, proceeding from both, therefore He is sent by both. Drink in this profound, mysterious, marvellous doctrine concerning the Holy Ghost, and look forward with joyful anticipation to the day when you will be enabled to see clearly that of which you have now only a foreshadowing and dim apprehension.
3d. Consider finally that the mission of the Holy Ghost is a twofold mission, visible and invisible. He appeared visibly on the day of Pentecost in the shape of tongues as it were of fire, and at the river Jordan in the form of a white dove. He is sent invisibly every day, every hour to the souls of men. It is the Holy Ghost who descends in visibly to the heart whenever a sinner is converted, when a just man is interiorly enlightened, when one who has been converted suddenly feels himself mightily urged to strive after perfection, when a youth or a maiden experiences an almost irresistible attraction to the sacerdotal or Religious state, when a Christian is inspired to undertake and given strength to perform some great, extraordinary act of penance or work of charity. How often has this happened to ourselves? how have we made use of such Pentecostal days? My soul, bewail your sins of negligence towards the Holy Ghost, and pray that the approaching Pentecost may be fruitful in such invisible visitations.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
– Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ
(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)
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