The Time Was Fulfilled

The sun will be up in a few minutes, and a new day will begin.  Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day to remember and celebrate when the Christian Church was launched. We read from the Acts of the Apostles,

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.  And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (2:1-4)

Friends, that same Holy Spirit which came to rest on Jesus’ disciples rests on us a well.  Through our baptism, we were cleansed of original sin and became God’s children.  From that moment onward, the Holy Spirit has been present to us, to guide us along the path of life.  What a gift, but sadly this gift often goes unrecognized in the lives of many.  I hope that might change today.  I pray that the Holy Spirit would enliven our faith and our trust in God.  I pray that we would tap into that same power which moved the first disciples to go out to the whole world and spread the Good News, regardless of the cost.  They held nothing back, and we are each called, in our own way, to participate in their mission.  The time for holding back has come to an end. How have you shared the Good News? How are you sharing the Good News?  Who could you share the Good News?

In May of 1994, I arrived at a church assignment which was to last about a year.  The Lord had other plans, and now, in May of 2018, that assignment has come to an end.  I chose Pentecost Sunday as my last official day because it marks a new beginning, a launching point for new adventures. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will use my gifts to share the Good News with all who will listen.  In addition to God’s Word, Ignatian Spirituality provides a framework for my message today.  In a nutshell, that message is that we are loved sinners and God wants to heal us, so that we can partner with him and help souls.  Helping people get healthy: body, mind and spirit, is what I aim to do.  St. Ignatius called it cura personalis, or care for the whole person.  Would you like to join me in this mission?  More to come…  Trust me, this is going to be exciting!


A Pentecost Novena

In the Acts of the Apostles, we know that after Jesus ascended to Heaven, the disciples went back to Jerusalem, went to the upper room where they were staying, and “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:13-14). Our spiritual practice of novenas (nine days of prayer for a specific purpose) is patterned after this period of waiting by Jesus’ disciples. When that period of prayerful waiting was over, “suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:2-4).

There are many Holy Spirit Novenas accessible with a quick internet search, but I thought I’d share this simple one. Today is Friday, May 11th, and this is the day to begin the Novena below. As one of my good priest friends likes to remind people, don’t get discouraged if you miss a day or start late. The Lord is pleased with your desire to prepare yourself for Pentecost, so let’s all use these nine days to get ready for a renewal of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and world.


The Novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the original novena, of which
all other novenas are only imitations. Jesus Christ Himself instituted this novena
when, on the day of His ascension, He sent His Apostles back to Jerusalem to
pray for nine days so that they might be ready on the tenth day, which was
Pentecost, to receive the Holy Spirit.


First Day Holy Spirit, Lord of light, from your clear celestial
height, Your pure beaming radiance give.

Let us pray

O God who has taught the hearts of your faithful by the light of the Holy
Spirit; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise
and ever rejoice in his consolations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Second Day Come thou father of the poor, Come with treasures which
endure, Come thou light of all that live.

Let us pray

O Holy Spirit, thou father of the poor, come fill my poverty-stricken soul
out of the plenty of thy eternal riches. Warn me, I beg thee, of every
opportunity in my daily round of duty, to lay up treasures where no thief
approaches nor moth corrupts, that I may enjoy them together with you forever.

Third Day Thou of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast,
Do refreshing peace bestow.

Let us pray

O Divine Consoler, and of all Comforters the best, to you do we come in
trouble and distress. Do thou, in the all-powerful name of Jesus, our Redeemer,
and out of love for Mary, our sorrowful Mother and your chaste Spouse, come to
our assistance and comfort us in all our trials and tribulations. Amen

Fourth Day Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the
heat, Solace in the midst of woe.

Let us pray

O God, who did give the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, grant to your people the
effect of their pious prayers, that on those to whom you have given grace, you
may also bestow peace. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen

Fifth Day Light immortal, light divine, Visit  these hearts of thine And our inmost being

Let us pray

May the Paraclete, who proceeds from you, enlighten our minds, we beseech
thee, O Lord; and even as your Son has promised, may he lead us into all truth.

Sixth Day If you take your grace away, Nothing pure in us will stay;
All our good is turned to ill.

Let us pray

Send down, we beseech you O Lord, the Holy Spirit in his might, to the
merciful purifying of our hearts and to our sure deliverance from all danger.
You, who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen

Seventh Day Heal our wounds, our strength renew; On our dryness pour
your dew; Wash the stains of guilt away.

Let us pray

Burn up, O Lord, our reins and our hearts in the fire of the Holy Spirit;
that chaste of body and clean of heart, our service may be well pleasing to
you.  You, who lives and reigns world
without end. Amen

Eighth Day Bend the stubborn heart and will, Melt the frozen, warm
the chill, Guide the steps that go astray.

Let us pray

Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, come into our hearts; give to all peoples the
brightness of your light, that they may be well pleasing to you in unity of
faith. Amen

Ninth Day You on those who evermore, You we confess and You we adore,
In your sevenfold gift descend.

Give them comfort when they die. Give them life with you on high, Give them
joys which never end.

Let us pray

Send down upon us, we beseech you, O Lord, the Holy Spirit, that, inspired
and encouraged by him, we may comply with the duties of our state, carry our
daily crosses patiently, and grow daily in Christian perfection. Grant us, we
beseech you, through the same Divine Spirit, the intentions of this novena or
what is most conducive to our eternal salvation and your glory. Amen


Forever Learning

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been meeting with someone who wants to make the Spiritual Exercises this fall.  I’ll save the story on how he ended up getting in touch with me for another time, but there’s no doubt in my mind that God (or Ignatius?) was at work in bringing us together.  I hope it will all work out and we can begin our Ignatian journey together in September.  Well, in some sense, our journey has already begun in the form of a very long preparation period.

A few weeks ago, he began telling me about his reading of Ludolf of Saxony’s Vita Christi (Life of Christ).  I thought he must be confused, because to my knowledge there was no English translation available.  When doing my doctoral research, I knew that some parts of Ludolf’s medieval epic work on the life of Christ were available in English, but not the complete work.  When we sat down together recently over coffee, he mentioned reading the Vita Christi, so I asked him about it.  Low and behold, there is a new translation, having just come out, available a few weeks ago as an e book.  In fact, the hard copy will be available tomorrow!!!  This will be a multi part work, but that it’s been done at all is a really wonderful thing.  I’ll buy my copy tomorrow, since I can’t imagine reading this electronically.  I want to feel the pages, read the printed words.

I think I wrote this in an earlier post, or maybe in a few of them, but I’m always amazed at how much I continue to learn about St. Ignatius and his Spiritual Exercises, along with those people/concepts which influenced him throughout his life.  While recovering from his battle wounds, Ignatius was given two books to read to pass the time.  One of those books was Ludolf’s.  In fact, his Life of Christ was one of the most widely read books of his day, with countless copies and translations available all over Europe.  Unfortunately, this work lost favor when Biblical scholars were looking for purity, not embellishment.  Ludolf wove the Fathers of the Church, maps, stories, etc. into his text, which as we know, made it difficult for some to differentiate what was from Scripture and what was from Ludolf.

For me, that was centuries ago, and now, with my Bible in hand, I can easily see the difference, so I’m not concerned I’ll get things mixed up.  I can’t wait to begin reading this first volume,  translated by Milton Walsh.  I’m grateful to him for what must have been an exhaustive labor of love.  I hope I’ll always be forever learning.  I hope it’s the same for you!