Preparing for a Joyful Encounter
Preparation for Pentecost by Fr. Ignatius Mary
I begin by observing that the Christian life is a gift of continuous renewal, reinforcement, and regeneration; a fulfilling experience that increases from “glory to glory.” I pray you have time to read it through.
Since after last Easter Sunday, it has been impressed upon my poor soul to continuously preach about the Holy Spirit; a topic that I felt incompetent to discuss. At the beginning, I didn’t know how to delve into it as to inspire souls. However, this invocation, “to prepare for the events of Jesus and neglect the event of the Holy Spirit is a letdown and negligence to the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.” We observe that we have a time (Advent) set aside to prepare reverently for the event of Christmas; we also observe that we have the time of Lent set aside to prepare for the “Christic’ event of Resurrection, what many persons ignore is this time set aside to prepare for the event of the Holy Spirit, the Pentecost. Perhaps we understand that Christ speaks highly about the Holy Spirit, “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him” (Mat.12:31). This invocation or sudden awareness of my soul was like a fire trapped in my bones and since the octave of Easter I have preached both in Sunday and weekday masses on the Holy Spirit and preparing for the Pentecost. To my delight, many persons in the Church responded and are eager to hear more about my topics on the Holy Spirit.
As the world’s joy is renewed by the birth of Jesus Christ on every Christmas – Christmas is a borrowed word from Spanish meaning “more of Christ.” Many of us can testify that the joy in the world skyrockets during Christmas time; so also do we need the outpouring of grace of the Holy Spirit as sin still abounds in the world. As the victory of our Baptism is invoked on the Easter renewal of baptismal vow, so also are we expected to prepare for the “reinforcement” of the power of the Holy Spirit received at our Confirmation. For some reasons, many of us can bear witness that our “Confirmation” was so casual in the sense that we did not prepare in a mature way for the experience of Pentecost, which the sacrament of Confirmation should lead to. During preparation for Confirmation, I was more concerned with passing the “question and answer of the catechist” rather than deepen myself in the mystery of the Sacrament. In many parts of the world today, the sacrament of Confirmation is tied up with a particular graduating class, that it becomes an “accolade’ that is given to all members of that class. Someone had conveyed the indifferent attitude of many of the class of Confirmation who pruned their nails while the catechetical instruction was going on; we also take into cognizance many teachers of the confirmation class who are not adequately enlightened to lead candidates into the spiritual disposition for this noble Sacrament. The result is that many persons received the Sacrament without that disposition for the grace. Pentecost is the time to make up for that oversight.
Recently, I have preached on three reasons why we need to participate in this years’ Pentecost more than ever. At Pentecost, the participants were filled with joy such that bystanders thought they were intoxicated with wine. As stress increases in the world, every committed Christian needs this joy that the world cannot give.
Secondly, we need the strength and power to carry on our faith. Faith-failure is compared to heart-failure; we cannot live the spiritual life without faith, and no one can be holy without the Holy Spirit. I have written about a global purification that is unfolding; I hear many persons complain of hardship and why they have decided to quit going to church. A recent pew survey revealed that the exodus from the Church is increasing; my concern is likened to that of Jeremiah, ““If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses?” (Jer.12:5). Losing faith at this time raises more serious question on what many persons will do in the coming challenge. The strength of the Holy Spirit will lead us through.
The third reason is that riot and disorder is felt from one continent to another this time. We need the Holy Spirit to reestablish order. Recall that at the beginning of creation the world was formless (chaotic) when the Holy Spirit hovered over the formlessness night and day were separated, land and sea were separated, etc.; an atmosphere of peace overshadowed the once formless world (Gen.1:1-3). I had given this analogy of the Holy Spirit, which delighted some hearers. Imagine putting sugar, coffee, milk, and hot water in your cup. When you drink it this way all these ingredients produced a decoupled taste. Now, imagine stirring the sugar, coffee, milk, and hot water with the spoon; everything is harmonized and tastes very palatable. The Holy Spirit acts like that spoon in our lives. I have seen many persons who are so talented but so much disorganized or even messed up. When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, there is harmony between the soul and the body, and all talents are harnessed. Peace wells up from within and we look serene without. In this period of much stress and clinical anxiety when persons fall into the terrible prescription of marijuana and alcoholism, the Holy Spirit is the only way out.
Please I encourage you to share this reflection with your friends; they may need the same help. It is worrisome that many of us receive a word from a celebrity and we post it or the link in our Facebook page, attracting 3 billion viewers to the celebrity, whereas anything about Christ is not shared on the same magnitude, or we send it to only few persons. Jesus deserves to be heard a trillion times more than many of the celebrities who are currently spreading errors in some talk shows.
Preparation for the Holy Spirit.
How to prepare
- Observe a lectio every day. This is simply reading a passage of the Sacred Scriptures, meditating on it, and then prayer/intercession on it as your spirit moves you (Passages: Lk.24:49-53, Acts 1:1-9, Acts 2:1-13, Acts 4:23-31, Joel 2:28-32, Mat.7:7-12, Jn.14:16-20, 1 Cor.12)
- I know it is good to have a sound sleep, we may not want to fall into the same tragedy of most shepherds of Israel who had loved sleep so much (Isaiah 56) even while the wolves feast on the sheep (we see lot of this situation in our current world; please read entire chapter of 56). I will recommend that you spend 1 or 2 hours in the late night of these nine days, praying for this gathering. Please do not neglect to take your healthy sleep, if you plan it well and dismiss many distractions during the day, you will get one or 2 hours for God in the late night.
- Saying the Holy Rosary during this night will be very fruitful; you can also add short prayers from popular 9 days novena to the Holy Spirit.
- I will recommend that for these 9 days each of us observe a moment of silence where you can dialogue with God, and wait silently like the Blessed Mother and the Apostles.
- Please avoid much talking and anger in these nine days; be also vigilant as persons may want to upset you.
In the Lord’s service
Fr. Ignatius Mary
(Thanks to Brian Kiczek for sharing this post. Check out his apostolates here:)