The first novena ever began on this day!!
May 27 @ 2:34 pm
The Holy Spirit descended, that first Pentecost, “like the blowing of a violent wind” (Acts 2:2) upon Mary and the Apostles. They had seen the Risen Jesus just nine days before as He was taken up to Heaven before their eyes. His parting words commanded them to “stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
And that, they did. Together in prayer with Mary, they waited nine days in the city. Christ Himself requested this of them, and in response to their obedience, He poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the newborn Church. This is the origin of the “novena” (novem, nine), a prayer repeated consecutively for nine days in petition for a particular intention.
But this gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Church is not locked in the past 2,000 years ago! At Baptism we each receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. He is present today in you and me!
If God is that close, why are we, then, not as holy as we could be? He waits upon us. The Holy Spirit will never override our freedom to choose. Sometimes we ignore His presence or give Him half-heartedness. He can do in us only what we allow.
How do we allow Him to act in us? Through prayer! Prayer, this “turning our hearts to God,” can be done in as many ways as there are individual hearts. It can be as simple as bringing ourselves into stillness for a moment as we think of Him, or as profound as the Holy Mass. The smallest moment shared with God is an opening of our hearts by which He draws us closer to Himself with earnest love!
Today, the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, is exactly nine days from the Feast of Pentecost and is a perfect time to begin a novena to the Holy Spirit. Let us fervently ask God to increase His gifts in us that we may desire deeper communion with Him and may be made more like Jesus who possessed in full each Gift 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 of the Lord that I may be filled with a loving reverence toward 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.