Monday, 29 May 2017

Pentecost - Meditation and Prayer


The Holy Spirit is God, and Third Person of the Holy Trinity, really God, the same as the Father and the Son are really God.  He is the love of the Father and the Son.

Christ promised that this Spirit of Truth would come and would remain within us  “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete—to be with you always: the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot accept, since it neither sees Him nor recognizes Him: but you can recognize Him because He remains with you and will be within you” (John 14:16-17)

The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, never to depart.  Fifty days after Easter, on Pentecost Sunday, He changed the Apostles from weak fearful men to brave men of faith that Christ needed to spread His Gospel to the nations.

Pentecost the Holy Spirit Comes!
The Holy Spirit is present in a special way in the Church, the community of those who believe in Christ as Lord.  He helps the Church to continue the work of Christ in the world.   By His presence people are moved by His Grace to unite themselves with God and men in sincere love and to fulfill their duties to God and man.  He makes the Church pleasing to God because of the Divine life of grace which He gives.  By the power of the Gospel He makes the Church grow.  He renews it with His gifts, and leads it to perfect union with Jesus.

The Holy Spirit guides the Pope, bishops, and priests of the Church in their work of teaching Christ’s doctrine, guiding souls, and giving God’s grace to the people through the Sacraments.  He directs all thew work of Christ in the Church—the care of the sick, the teaching of children, the guidance of youth, the comforting of the sorrowful, the support of the needy.

We should honor the Holy Spirit by loving Him as our God and by letting Him guide us in life.  St. Paul reminds us to do so: “Are you not aware that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16)

Since the Holy Spirit is always with us if we are in the state of grace, we should often ask Him for the light and strength we need to live a holy life and to save our soul.

The Word of God

“I solemnly assure you, no one can enter into God’s Kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit. Flesh begets flesh, Spirit begets spirit.”  Jn 3:5-6

“This much I have told you while I was still with you, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My Name, will instruct you in everything, and remind you of all that I told you.”  Jn 14:25-26

“When the day of Pentecost came it found them gathered in one place.  Suddenly from up in the sky there came a noise like a strong, driving wind which was heard all through the house where they were seated. Tongues of fire appeared, which parted and came to rest on each of them.  All were filled with the Holy Spirit.  They began to express themselves in foreign tongues and make bold proclamation as the Spirit prompted them.”  Acts 2:1-4

“To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one the Spirit gives wisdom in discourse, to another the power to express knowledge.  Through the Spirit one receives faith; by the same Spirit another is given the gift of healing, and still another miraculous powers.  Prophecy is given to one; to another power to distinguish one spirit from another.  One receives the gift of tongues, another that of interpreting the tongues.  But is is one and the same Spirit Who produces all these gifts, distributing them to each as He wills.”  1 Cor 12:4-11

Come, Holy Spirit!!

Holy Spirit, Divine Spirit of light and love, I consecrate to You my understanding, heart, and will, my whole being, for time and for eternity.  May my understanding be always submissive to Your heavenly inspirations and to the teaching of the Catholic Church, of which You are the infallible Guide.  May my heart be ever inflamed with the love of God and of my neighbor.  May my will be ever conformed to the Divine Will.  May my whole life be faithful to the imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom with the Father and You be honor and glory forever.

God, Holy Spirit, Infinite Love of the Father and the Son, through the pure hands of Mary, Your Immaculate Spouse, I place myself this day, and all the days of the my life, upon Your chosen altar, consuming fire, being firmly resolved now more than ever to hear You voice and to do in all things Your most holy and adorable Will.

Pentecost Tongues of Fire -- Holy Spirit Come!

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator Blest!

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest!
And in our souls take up Your rest;
Come, with Your grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which You have made.
O Comforter, to You do we cry,
O heavenly Gift of God Most High,
O Fount of Life and Fire of Love,
And Sweet Anointing from above!

You in Your sevenfold Gifts are known;
You, Finger of God’s hand, we own;
You Promise of the Father, You,
Who do the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our senses from above
And make our hearts o’erflow with love;
With patience firm and virtue high,
The weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
And grant us Your true peace instead;
So shall we not, with You for Guide,
Turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Your grace on us bestow
The Father and the Son to know;
And You, through endless times confessed,
Of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death , be glory given,
With You, O holy Comforter,
Henceforth by all in earth and heaven.  Amen.

V.   Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created;
R.  And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.  God, You have taught the hearts of Your faithful people 
by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit.  

Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things 
and evermore to rejoice in His Holy comfort.  
Through Christ our Lord.  

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Ascension of Our Lord - Meditation and Prayers

The Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven


On the fortieth day after His Resurrection, after having trained His Apostles for their high calling to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, Jesus prepared to ascend on high to where the glories of heaven awaited Him.  He blessed His loving Mother and His Apostles and disciples and bade them farewell.  A cloud received Him out of their sight.

The countless blessed spirits whom He had released from limbo accompanied Him as the first fruits of the redemption.  All the hosts of heaven’s Angels came out to meet Him, the Savior of the world.

As He took His place beside His heavenly Father, the whole court of heaven gave forth a glorious song of praise.  It was the song heard by John in his visions:  “Worthy is the Lamb That was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and praise!”  (Rv 5:12)

Jesus ascended into heaven to enter into possession of His glory.  While on earth He had always enjoyed the vision of God, but the glory of His Sacred Humanity had shone forth only at His Transfiguration.  On His Ascension into heaven He took His place as Man beside His heavenly Father and was exalted above all other human creatures.

The night before He died Jesus prayed to His Father: “I have given You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do.   Do You now, Father, give Me glory at Your side, glory I had with You before the world began” (Jn 17:4-5)

Since His Humanity is united to the Divine Word, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, It enjoys the right of eternal glory.  It shares with the Father the infinite bliss and mighty power of God.  This is the reward for all He has done and merited on earth.  In heaven He is raised above all because on earth He has lowered Himself below all.

When the struggle of this life is over Jesus will give us the grace to share His joy and triumph in heaven for all eternity.

Jesus ascended into heaven to be our Mediator with His Father.  There He is pleading for us.  He ascended into heaven to give an account to His heavenly Father of the great work He had done on earth.  The Church was born, grace springs up in abundance from His Cross of Calvary and is distributed through the Sacraments, God’s justice is satisfied, hell and death are conquered, heaven is opened and man saved.  Jesus had a right to the glorious homecoming.

Christ’s Ascension is also the assurance of our own ascension into heaven after the Last Judgment.  He entered into His Kingdom to prepare a place for us, for He promised to come again to take us to Himself. 

Let us ascend into heaven with Jesus in spirit, there to dwell by faith, hope and charity.  Let us seek only the joys that are true!

The Word of God

“After speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took His seat at God’s right hand.” Mk 16:19

“When He ascended on high, He took a host of captives and gave gifts to men.”  Eph 4:8

“Since you have been raised up to company with Christ, set your hearts on what pertains to high realms where Christ is seated at God’s right hands.  Be intent on things above rather on things on earth.”  Col 3:1-2

Christ's Ascension into Heaven

Novena Prayers

Jesus, I honor You on the feast of Your Ascension into heaven.  

I rejoice with all my heart at the glory 
into which You entered to reign as King of heaven and earth.  

When the struggle of this life is over, 
give me the grace to share Your joy 
and triumph in heaven for all eternity.

I believe that You entered into Your glorious Kingdom 

to prepare a place for me, 
for You promised to come again 
to take me to Yourself. 

Grant that I may seek only the joys of Your friendship, 
so that I may deserve to be united with You in heaven.

In the hour of my homecoming, 
when I appear before Your Father 
to give an account of my life on earth, 
have mercy on me.

Jesus, in Your love for me 
You have brought me from evil to good 
and from misery to happiness.  

Give me the grace to rise 
above my human weakness.  

May Your Humanity 
give me courage in my weakness 
and free me from my sins.

Through Your grace 
give me the courage of perseverance 
for You have called and justified me by faith.  

May I hold fast to the life You have given me 
and come to the eternal gifts You promised.

You love me, dear Jesus.  
Help me to love You in return.  

I ask You to grant this special favor (Mention your request.)

By Your unceasing care, 
guide my steps toward the life of glory 
You have prepared for those who love You.  

Make me grow in holiness and thank You 
by a life of faithful service.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on us!

Prayer of Praise to Jesus in Glory

I praise You, dearest Heart of Jesus, Fountain of all goodness.

I praise You, most kind Heart of Jesus, 
for the boundless graces that have flowed 
and shall continue to flow from You into the souls of the just.

I praise You, most gentle Heart of Jesus, 
for the tender love with which You have 
so often refreshed devout hearts through Divine consolations.

I praise You, most loving Heart of Jesus, 
for the fullness of Your grace, 
the splendor of Your virtues, 
the generosity of Your Heart, 
and the purity of Your love.

I praise You, royal Heart of Jesus, 
for Your victory over death and sin, 
Your power over souls, 
and Your triumph over the living and the dead.

I praise You, Heart so poor and yet so rich, 
for having despised all earthly riches 
and for having renounced all earthly honors.

I praise You, most obedient Heart of Jesus, 
that hungered after the fulfillment of the Divine Will 
and thirsted after the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.

I praise You, most generous Heart of Jesus, 
that did not seek its own glory; 
most patient Heart, that willingly bore the greatest insults; 
most unselfish Heart, that longed for and lovingly embraced the Cross.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 
teach me to love You with my whole Heart, 
and grant that, according to the little strength I have, 
I may imitate Your wonderful virtues.  Amen.


God Our Father, make us joyful in the Ascension of Your Son Jesus Christ.  

May we follow Him into the new creation, for His Ascension is our glory and our hope. 

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.  


Novena to the Holy Spirit (Starts 9 days before Pentecost)

Holy Spirit Novena Prayers
(starts 9 days before Pentecost)

Novena Prayer

Holy Spirit, third Person of the Blessed Trinity, Spirit of Truth, 
love and holiness, 
proceeding from the Father and the Son, 
and equal to Them in all things, I adore You and love You with all my heart.

Dearest Holy Spirit, 
confiding in Your deep, personal love for me, 
I am making this novena for the following request, 
if it should be Your holy Will to grant it: (Mention your request).

Teach me, Divine Spirit, 
to know and seek my last end; 
grant me the holy fear of God; 
grant me true contrition and patience.  

Do not let me fall into sin.  

Give me an increase of faith, 
hope and charity, and bring forth in my soul 
all the virtues proper to my state in life.

Make me a faithful disciple of Jesus 
and an obedient child of the Church.  

Give me efficacious grace sufficient 
to keep the Commandments and to receive the Sacraments worthily.  

Give me the four Cardinal Virtues, 
Your Seven Gifts, Your Twelve Fruits.  

Raise me to perfection in the state of life 
to which You have called me 
and lead me through a happy death 
to everlasting life.  
I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Blessed Spirit of Wisdom help me to seek God.  Make Him the center of my life and order my life to Him, so that love and harmony may reign in my soul.

Blessed Spirit of Understanding,, enlighten my mind, that I may know and love the truths of faith and make them truly my own.

Blessed Spirit of Counsel, enlighten and guide me in all my ways, that I may always know and do Your holy Will.  Make me prudent and courageous.

Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in every time of trouble or adversity.  Make me loyal and confident.

Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, help me to know good from evil.  Teach me to do what is right in the sight of God.  Give me clear vision and firmness in decision.

Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart, incline it to a true faith in You, to a hoy love of You, my God, that with my whole soul I may seek You, Who are my Father, and find You, my best, my truest joy.

Blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart that I may ever be mindful of Your presence.  Make me fly for sin, and give me the intense reverence for God and for my fellow men who are made in God’s image.


Grant, we beg of You, Almighty God, that we may so please Your Holy Spirit by our earnest prayers, that we may, by His grace, be freed from all temptations and merit to receive the forgiveness of our sins.  Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Christians in the World Early Christian Apologetics

St. Peter preaching in the Catacombs

From a letter to Diognetus

The Christian in the world

Christians in India
Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs.  They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life.  Their teach is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men.  Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine.  With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign. 

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives.  They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through.  They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens.  Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country.  Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them.  They share their meals, but not their wives.  They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh.  They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven.  Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians Martyred
Christians love all men, but all men persecute them.  Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again.  They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything.  They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory.  They are defamed, but vindicated.  A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult.  For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but ever then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life.  They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

Christians in action standing for their beliefs
To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.  As the soul is present in every  part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world.  As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen.  The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of an injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures.  Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians in Israel
Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred.  It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as  in a prison, that the world is held together.  The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven.  As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution.  Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

To read more of the Epistles of Mathetes to Diognetus go to:

Early Christians at prayer

About the writer: 

The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (Greek: Πρὸς Διόγνητον Ἐπιστολή) is an example of Christian apologetics, writings defending Christianity from its accusers. 

The Greek writer and recipient are not otherwise known; estimates of dating based on the language and other textual evidence have ranged from AD 130[1] (which would make it one of the earliest examples of apologetic literature), to the late 2nd century, with the latter often preferred in modern scholarship.[2]

"Mathetes" is not a proper name; it simply means "a disciple." 

The writer may be a Johannine Christian, although the name "Jesus" and the expression the "Christ" are not present in the text. The author prefers, rather, to refer to the "son" as "the Word."[3]

Friday, 12 May 2017

Writings of St. Augustine -- The Sufferings of Christ

St. Augustine, bishop
St. Augustine, bishop
From a commentary on the psalms

The sufferings of Christ are not in Christ alone

Jesus Christ is one man with head and body, the Savior of the body and the members of the body, two in one flesh, in one voice, in one passion, and, when wickedness has passed away, in one state of rest.  

The sufferings of Christ are therefore 
not in Christ alone; 
yes, but the sufferings of Christ are only in Christ.

If by Christ you mean both head and body, the sufferings of Christ are only in Christ.  But if by Christ you mean only the head, then the sufferings of Christ are not in Christ alone.  For if the sufferings of Christ are in Christ alone, how can the apostle Paul, as a member of Christ, say this: That I may fill up in my flesh what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ?

If then you are among the members of Christ, whatever human being you are, whoever you are that hears this, whoever you are that does not hear this (but if you are among the members of Christ you do hear this), whatever you suffer at the hands of those who are not among the members of Christ was lacking to the sufferings of Christ.

Your sufferings are added because they were lacking.  
You fill up a measure; 
you do not pour something that overflows.  

You suffer as much as needed 
to be added from your sufferings 
to the total suffering of Christ, 
who suffered as our head, and
 suffers in his members, that is, in ourselves.

Each one of us in his own measure 
pays his debt to what may be called 
this commonwealth of ours.  

In proportion to our store of strength we contribute as it were a tax of suffering.  The final reckoning of all suffering will not take place until the world has come to an end.

Do not then imagine, brethren that all the just who suffered persecution at the hands of the wicked, even those who were sent to foretell the coming of the Lord before he came, did not belong to the members of Christ.  God forbid that one who belongs to the city which has Christ for king should not belong to the members of Christ.

In the blood of Abel, the just one, the whole city speaks, and so on until the blood of Zechariah.  From then, it is the same city that goes on speaking in the blood of John (the Baptist), in the blood of the apostles, in the blood of the martyrs, in the blood of Christ’s faithful people.

Taken from the Liturgy of the Hours, According to the Roman Rite, Ordinary Time, Catholic Book Publishing Corp.  New York, 1975