On the Importance of Obeying the Inspirations of 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.
Wednesday before Pentecost.
On the Importance of Obeying the Inspirations of the Holy Ghost.
Place before your mind some saint of your Order or of your state in life, one in whom the operation of the grace of the Holy Ghost was plainly visible, one who was distinguished by the most eminent virtues which are the effect of grace and the fruits of the Holy Ghost. Now if the contemplation of this saint fills you with longing to become yourself such a vessel of the Holy Ghost, such an instance of the results of His gracious operation in the soul, then lay to heart this saying of an eminent master of the spiritual life: “The greatest hindrance in the way of our progress and of the reception of spiritual graces consists in this, that we do not carry out the holy desires God instils into our hearts.” Non-obedience to the suggestions of the Holy Ghost is another hindrance to our obtaining the graces of the Pentecostal feast.
1st. “No man can come to Me except the Father who hath sent Me draw him” (St. John vi. 44) the divine Redeemer asserts. This drawing on the part of God is a gentle impulse; it is an invitation, a whispered call; in a word it is the daily suggestions of His grace. If we do not obey these divine inspirations, if we do not correspond with them and make use of these graces, bestowed on us by God, He will be slow to confer others on us. “He,” says Father Avila, “who makes a bad use of the light given him by God has no right to expect other graces, for God might with all justice say to him: How canst thou want to know any further what My will is, since thou dost not accomplish it in matters wherein thou dost know it? If thou dost not carry out the holy desires with which God now inspires thee, with what semblance of a claim canst thou ask similar graces of Him at a subsequent period, to suit thine own pleasure and convenience?” St. Stephen, addressing the Jews, exclaimed: “you stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you did always resist the Holy Ghost.” (Acts vii. 51.) His hearers were attracted by the words of truth which he spoke, the utterances of the Holy Ghost coming from his lips; but they did not heed them at the time, and later on they had not the chance of hearing them. Wherefore if you desire to come to God, if more particularly you desire to approach the fountain of all grace, the Holy Ghost of God, oh let yourself be drawn by Him, obey His holy suggestions day by day, and take as your own the words of the prophet Samuel: “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” (I. Kings iii. 10.)
2d. Consider what is to be understood by the attraction or the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The Fathers of the Church and Holy Scripture employ different expressions to designate this operation of the power of the Holy Ghost, such as knocking, inspiring, enlightening, calling, speaking to the soul, visiting it, comforting it. How often the Spirit of the Lord speaks within us! The Holy Ghost, St. Antony declares, speaks within us whenever we have a thought that is good. How often He sweetly stimulates and incites us to act, how often He helps us with “unspeakable groanings.” Consequently every really good thought, every good resolution, every pious desire of the soul is an impulse from the Holy Ghost. Listen to the words of the author of the Imitation: “Blessed is that soul which hears the Lord speaking within her. Blessed are the ears which receive the instilling of the divine whisper, and take no notice of the whisperings of the world.” (B. iii. ch. 1.) Unhappily for us, we do not hear them, and still more often do not heed them. “Even until now,” says our Lord in the words of the Imitation, “I cease not to speak to all, but many are deaf to My voice, and hard. Most men give ear more gladly to the world than to God.” Do you, my soul, belong to the many of whom our Lord here speaks?
3d. Consider how carefully one must distinguish between what is and what is not divine inspiration. “For, not every desire is from the Holy Ghost, even though it seem to a man right and good. It is hard to judge truly whether it be a good or an evil spirit which urges thee on to desire this or that, or whether thou art not moved by thine own spirit.” (Imit. B. iii. ch. 15.) Wherefore whenever you feel uncertain in this respect, let this be your petition: “Lord, Thou knowest in what way it is best; let this or that be done as Thou wilt. If Thou knowest that it will be hurtful to me, take away from me such a desire.” But if after mature deliberation on your own part, or consultation with your spiritual director it is clearly apparent that God is speaking within you, oh obey His inspirations; do not heed what is agreeable or disagreeable to the flesh, but strive that it may against its will be brought into subjection to the Spirit. Consider how much may depend upon one such call from God, if we yield obedience to it. His voice it was that led St. Antony to adopt his wondrous career, that instigated St. Francis to found his Order, that brought St. Mary of Egypt to her supernatural life of penance. How much greater would have been your advancement in perfection, how much more often would the festival of Pentecost have been a day of rich graces for you, had you only paid more attention to the daily inspirations of 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.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen. (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)
The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.
Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).
Novena to the Holy Ghost
The novena in honor of the Holy Ghost is the original novena, of which all other novenas are only imitations. Our Lord himself instituted this novena when, on the day of His ascension, He sent His Apostles back to Jerusalem to pray for nine days that they might be ready on the tenth day, which was Pentecost, to receive the Holy Ghost. Therefore, the Church has richly indulgenced novenas in honor of the Holy Ghost, and they may be made, not only at Pentecost, but at any time of the year.
INDULGENCES—(1) 300 days, each day. (2) Plenary, once during the novena, or octave on the usual conditions, i.e., confession—communion—prayer for intentions of the Pope. This novena may be made at any time, with any form of prayers approved by competent ecclesiastical authority. (Nov. 26, 1876.)
INDULGENCES__(1) 7 years and 7 quarantines, each day. (2) Plenary, once during the novena or on the feast or on any other day during the octave on the usual conditions, i.e., confession—communion—prayers for the intentions of the Pope. This novena may be made publicly or privately. Any prayers to the Holy Ghost may be used. (Leo XIII, May 9, 1897.) Another plenary indulgence can be gained by those who say some prayers in honor of the Holy Ghost each day of the octave and go to the sacraments any day of the octave and pray for the intentions of the Pope.
Since no particular prayers are prescribed, the following devotions are suggested as appropriate for the novena.
The Gift of Counsel.
CONSIDERATION – The gift of Counsel is a disposition in the soul through which the Holy Ghost prompts us to choose to do the better of two good actions. It is the elder sister of supernatural prudence. Prudence teaches us the A,B,C, of Christian life; the gift of Counsel trains us in the fine arts of Christian perfection. As this gift gains greater influence over our actions, the soul begins to realize more and more the full meaning of the words of St. Paul: “All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient.” (I Cor. VI. 12). This gift can never be developed in the Christian soul which stops short only of mortal sin in its use and abuse of liberty. Such a rule of conduct will not keep us long from mortal sin, and when mortal sin enters the soul, grace and all the supernatural gifts depart. Because my use of the things of this world may give my neighbor a pretext for abusing them, it is often expedient for me to hearken to the counsel of my divine Guide and refrain from licit pleasure and actions. Above all, as Catholics, we should be as shining lights to our neighbors, going before them in the path of virtue. To do so, we need the gift of Counsel, and therefore, let us pray for it.
COME, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Amen.
To obtain the special favors and blessing for which you are making this novena and also an increase of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost recite 7 times the “Glory be to the Father.”
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.
Indulgences for a 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.
Act of Perfect Contrition
Oh my God! I am heartily sorry
for having offended Thee and
I detest all my sins because
I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell;
But most of all because I have offended Thee, My God,
Who art all-good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,
To confess my sins, to do penance,
And to amend my life. Amen.
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood.
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide’, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide’, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
Prayers in Time of Calamity
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