On the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.
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 Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.
Imagine yourself, my soul, seated among the disciples in the upper room of the house where the descent of the Holy Ghost is about to take place. Endeavor in some measure to realize the state and dispositions of that devout assembly waiting with expectant hearts for the things that were to come.
1st. The longer the advent of the Comforter was delayed, the more ardent the longing of the apostles became. Now the day of Pentecost had come, the fiftieth day after our Lord’s resurrection. Concerning this day St. Chrysostom writes thus: “Pentecost is a day of remission, of reconciliation, of release.” We read in the book of Leviticus that the Jews considered the number fifty to be a sacred number, and they made the fiftieth year a year of jubilee, in which according to the law of God all debts were cancelled and all lands and inheritances that had been alienated were restored to their former possessors or to their heirs. Now our inheritance is the land of the living, the eternal possessions for the enjoyment of which we were created. Through Adam’s prevarication this inheritance was lost; we have forfeited our right to those possessions through our transgressions, but now the fiftieth day has come, a year of jubilee for us all; we are reinstated in our inheritance, and the newly founded Church, confirmed and endowed with graces by the Holy Spirit, receives back the eternal goods to dispense them to her children. Rejoice therefore, my soul, be glad of the coming of this day, and remember that it depends solely on yourself whether or no all the debt you owe to God shall be cancelled on the morrow.
2d. Consider that the Holy Ghost is said to come down with the sound of the wind. This is to denote the power of the Holy Ghost, whose action is beneficial as that of the wind frequently is. The wind purifies the air and dispels miasma, so the Holy Ghost cleanses the soul and banishes hurtful influences from it. The wind promotes rain and disperses fog, so the Holy Ghost moistens the soul with grace descending like rain and banishes the mists of pusillanimity and doubt which rest upon and obscure it. The wind cools excessive heat and tempers the air, so the Holy Ghost reduces the fire of concupiscence and refreshes the soul, imparting greater repose and equanimity to it. The wind propels ships on their course and works mills, so the Holy Ghost urges the soul forward on the way of holiness and will not allow her to stand still in the work of her own sanctification and the salvation of others. Finally the wind blows the faint spark to a clear flame, and scatters the chaff far and wide. God grant that the Holy Spirit may find in your breast to-morrow a spark of divine charity, which He may kindle to a bright and glowing fire, not mere empty chaff which the wind carries away.
3d. Consider the mystic meaning of this rushing sound which accompanied the descent of the Holy Ghost. The expression made use of in Scripture is the sound not of the approach of an actual storm, but as it were of a mighty wind. “Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty wind coming.” (Acts ii. 2.) As in the beginning the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters with His vivifying breath, He now manifests Himself as the fashioner and life-giver of the new creation. This sound may also be regarded as an echo of the terrific thunder which on a day of Pentecost long past pealed from the height of Sinai. As Jehova then completed the giving of the law to Israel amid thunder and lightning, so the Holy Ghost, as a whirlwind which nothing can withstand, comes down from Heaven to establish the law of the New Covenant. According to the explanation given by St. Cyril, all that survived of the Old Dispensation tottered and fell beneath the shock of the mighty spiritual impetus descending from Heaven. But all the latent negative force present in the new creation will be roused to its depths and called into action; it will be purified by the might from above and will receive power to take Heaven by storm. Beware, my soul, lest the force of the Holy Spirit, coming down to-morrow from Heaven as it were a mighty wind, should break you off as a dead, a useless, a rotten branch from the tree of the Church. May the Holy Ghost rather on the contrary awaken in you the dormant force for higher, spiritual things; that is, may it kindle more hotly in you the aspiration after perfection and give you power to use that violence by which we are told the kingdom of heaven is borne away.
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.
June Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Obedience, piety, dutifulness
Jesus! Creator of the world,
Of all mankind Redeemer blest,
True God of God, in Whom we see
Thy Father’s image clear expressed!
Thee, Saviour, love alone constrained
To make our mortal flesh Thine own,
And, as a second Adam, come
For the first Adam to atone.
That selfsame love which made the sky,
Which made the sea and stars, and earth,
Took pity on our misery,
And broke the bondage of our birth.
O Jesus! in Thy Heart divine
May that same love for ever glow!
Forever mercy to mankind
From that exhaustless fountain flow!
For this the Sacred Heart was pierced,
And both with blood and water ran –
To cleanse us from the stains of guilt,
And be the hope and strength of man.
Jesus, to Thee be glory given,
Who from Thy Heart dost grace outpour,
To Father and to Paraclete
Be endless praise for evermore. Amen.
An indulgence of 5 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, If this hymn is devoutly recited every day for a month (S.P.Ap., March 12, 1936). (taken from The Raccolta (c)1957)
Prayer to the Holy Ghost.
O HOLY SPIRIT, divine spirit of light and love, I consecrate to Thee my understanding, heart and will, my whole being for time and for eternity. May my understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations, and to the teaching of the Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible Guide; may my heart be ever inflamed with love of God and of my neighbour; may my will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may my whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, to whom with the FATHER and Thee be honour and glory for ever. Amen.
300 Days, once a day.
Pius X, June 5, 1908.
Novena for Pentecost.
i. Seven Years and Seven Quarantines, each day.
ii. Plenary, once during the Novena, Feast or Octave.
This Novena may be made publicly or privately, and the same Indulgences are granted for special prayers said every day during the Octave. Any prayers to the HOLY GHOST may be used.
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