Friday, May 22, 2020

Come, Holy Spirit

These nine days that occur between the traditional date of the Ascension and Pentecost are the origin of the Catholic custom of the novena - nine days of prayer (usually in preparation for a feast day), which has its foundation in the uniquely formative experience of the early Church in the interval between the Ascension and Pentecost. As the Church’s original novena, this period is particularly focused on highlighting the presence and action of the Holy Spirit, who animates and empowers Christ’s mystical body, the Church, for its mission in the world. 

Invoking the aid of the Holy Spirit is always appropriate, of course, but it seems especially so this year as we prepare for a new experience of Church and parish life this Pentecost, when we will resume the regular celebration of public parish Masses under the restrictive regulations which we must follow to minimize risk to ourselves and everyone else from this dangerous disease.

If the expression "New Pentecost" takes on an unexpected connotation this year, all the more reason to highlight our perennial dependence on the grace of the Holy Spirit to animate our life and activity in this world.

(Photo: Paulist Press Pamphlet, Novena to the Holy Spirit by Rt. Rev, John J. Burke, CSP, 1925)

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