On the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Love.
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 Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Love.
Fire is rightly considered to be an apt emblem of charity, for charity is also a pure flame emitting light and heat, self-consuming for the benefit or for the glory of others. This is another reason why the Holy Ghost appeared on the day of Pentecost under the form of fire, as He is essentially the Spirit of charity.
1st. Consider that St. John tells us that “God is charity.” (i. 4, 16.) Although this applies to all the three Persons of the most Holy Trinity, yet this sublime attribute of “charity” is appropriated more especially to the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost. For as the Son was begotten of the Father in the character of the Eternal Word, the highest, most perfect, absolute Wisdom, so the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son as supreme, absolute charity, and constitutes the sweet bond of love between the Father and the Son. And therefore also the charity of God is, as the Apostle declared, and as the Church teaches, “poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us.” (Rom. v. 5.) Where the Holy Spirit is present there the flame of divine charity burns brightly and hotly. This is apparent in the apostles; this is apparent in those to whom the apostles in their turn communicated the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands; this is apparent in the saints of God, the men and women who are filled with the Holy Ghost; this you are conscious of in your own soul, for the charity of God only abides in you as long as you remain in a state of grace, the sanctifying grace imparted to you by the Holy Spirit. And according as this grace is increased or diminished, so the love of God waxes or wanes in our hearts.
2d. Consider how the Holy Ghost is a source whence charity, peace and concord flow. Hence it was that St. Luke was able to write in reference to the early Christians, the first community of the faithful who were endowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that they “had but one heart and one soul.” (Acts iv. 32.) None among them, he tells us, said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own, but in the Spirit of charity they had all things in common. As the children of God they formed one household, one family. Pause, my soul, and contemplate this fair picture which the Church presented in her first bridal days; imagine that you see that community united in the bonds of mutual charity, united together by the Spirit of charity, who still continues to produce that union in ecclesiastical associations and monastic communities where He and He alone holds sway.
3d. Consider the state of things that prevails when this Spirit of charity is wanting. Look at the disunion, the divisions among Christians on earth, from which not even those are exempt whom Nature has united in the closest ties of relationship. See how the world is split into factions, each seeking its own selfish interests, see how men live in strife and contention, as if the earth were inhabited by ravenous beasts rather than by brethren and sisters, members of one great family. Look further and you will see that even among Priests who have received the Holy Spirit in a special degree, that even in religious Communities, whose members have been called by the Holy Spirit to lead the life of the early Christians and have received graces similar to theirs, this Spirit of charity is to a great extent wanting, and in its place a very different spirit reigns, a spirit of jealousy, of envy, of malice, of discord. Nay, you need but to look into your own heart, where there is so much that is in direct variance with charity; observe how often in the course of a single day uncharitable thoughts intrude themselves into your mind, how often your eye looks with ill-will on others, how often your tongue utters words which will give pain, then ask yourself when this state of things began to prevail and you will find that it was when the grace of the Holy Spirit, sanctifying grace, began to lose ground in your soul. Wherefore pray to-day from the bottom of your heart for yourself, for your brethren and sisters, for the world in general; saying: Come Holy Ghost, visit our hearts and kindle in them the fire of Thy love. For our Lord tells us that on love towards God and towards our neighbor, “the whole law and the prophets dependeth.” Now He who alone can impart to us this twofold charity mark these words is the Holy Ghost.
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
DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART.
CONSIDERATIONS.—Jesus Christ desires us to love Him with our whole heart; now as it is by perfection we are amiable, the more we are perfect the more worthy we are of love. On this principle could we love our Saviour too much? That heart so tender, so humble, so charitable so liberal shall we ever sufficiently know it? All the plenitude of divinity is centered in the adorable person of our Saviour, He is then worthy of infinite love.
Prayer.—I see, O my God, that my soul is like unto a mirror on which the slightest infidelity leaves a stain which displeases Thee. I will then neglect nothing in order to offer Thee a pure and unspotted heart; at least, I shall avoid with the greatest care all voluntary faults and premeditated transgressions.
Heart of Jesus, strength of the weak, cloth, me with Thy strength!
PRAYER TO THE SACRED HEART.
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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