“We ought to pray and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help. The more we are lacking in wisdom, weak in strength, burdened with trouble, prone to sin, the more we should turn to Him, Who is the never-ceasing fount of light, strength, consolation and holiness.”
Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903)
The novena in honour of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Ghost on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian. Whilst this is often called the Pentecost Novena, it can be said at any time you wish. For the Traditional Novena, Day One here with the Act of Consecration:https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/pentecost-novena-to-the-holy-spirit-for-the-seven-gifts-day-one-11-may-2018/
Begin by reciting the following prayer…
O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!
I adore You as my True God.
I offer You my whole heart,
and I render You heartfelt thanks
for all the benefits You have bestowed upon the world.
You are the author of all supernatural gifts
and enriched the Blessed Virgin Mary,
the Mother of God,
with all favours,
I ask You to visit me by Your grace and Your love,
and grant me the favour
I so earnestly seek…
…………………………………. State your request here…
O Holy Spirit,
spirit of truth, come into our hearts.
Let us Pray:
O Holy Spirit,
bestow upon us Your seven holy gifts.
Enlighten our understanding, that we may know You.
Give us wisdom, that Your will may be clear to us
and that we may accept it.
Grant us the gift of counsel,
that we may always perceive what is right.
Fortify us, that we may always be capable
of fulfilling Your Divine Will.
Inspire us, with the spirit of learning
that we may be able to penetrate more deeply,
into the truths that You have revealed.
Let our hearts be steeped in the spirit of childlikeness
that we may bring You joy.
Let us have proper fear of God
that we may never grieve You,
or wander from the path of goodness.
Give us the fullness of Your gifts,
that we may glorify You.
Look with compassion upon us,
O Holy Spirit,
and grant us the favour we seek in this novena…
if it be in accordance with Your Holy Will.
Come, O Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
Today is the First Feast Day since his Canonisation, of dearly beloved St Pope Paul VI. So, although a rather belated post for those in the Southern Hemisphere, I simply could not allow this day to go unrecorded.
Saint of the Day – 29 May – St Pope Paul Paul VI (1897-1978), born Giovanni Battista Montini, on 26 September 1897, at Concesio, near Brescia, Italy—died 6 August 1978, at Castel Gandolfo. Priest, Bishop of Rome, Social Reformer. He reigned 1963–1978 during a period including most of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and the immediate postconciliar era, in which he issued directives and guidance to a changing Roman Catholic Church. His pontificate was confronted with the problems and uncertainties of a church facing a new role in the contemporary world. His Mottos were: Cum Ipso in monte (With Him on the mount) and In nomine Domini (In the name of the Lord). Patronages – Archdiocese of Milan and the Ambrosian Rite, Paul VI Pontifical Institute, Second Vatican Council, Diocese of Brescia, Concesio (his birth town), Magenta and Paderno Dugnano.
Early Life And Career
The son of a middle-class lawyer—who was also a journalist and local political figure—and of a mother belonging to the same social background, Montini was in his early years educated mainly at home because of frail health. Later he studied in Brescia. Ordained a priest on 29 May 1920, he was sent by his bishop to Rome for higher studies and was eventually recruited for the Vatican diplomatic service. His first assignment, in May 1923, was to the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature (papal ambassador’s post) in Warsaw but persistent ill health brought him back to Rome before the end of that same year. He then pursued special studies at the Ecclesiastical Academy, the training school for future Vatican diplomats and at the same time resumed work at the Vatican Secretariat of State, where he remained in posts of increasing importance for more than 30 years.
In 1939 Montini was appointed Papal Undersecretary of state and later, in 1944, acting Secretary for Ordinary (or non-diplomatic) affairs. He declined an invitation to be elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1953. In the beginning of November 1954, Pope Pius XII appointed him Archbishop of Milan and St Pope John XXIII named him a Cardinal in 1958.
He was elected pope on 21 June 1963, choosing to be known as Paul VI.
Vatican II And Paul VI’s Pontificate
The Montini pontificate began in the period following the difficult first session of the Second Vatican Council, in which the new pope had played an important, though not spectacular, part. His lengthy association with university students in the stormy atmosphere of the early days of the fascist regime in Italy, in combination with the generally philosophical bent of his mind—developed by a long-standing habit of extensive and reflective reading—enabled him to bring to the perplexing problems of the times an academic understanding, coupled with the knowledge derived from long years of practical diplomatic experience. Paul VI guided the three remaining sessions of the Second Vatican Council, often developing points he had first espoused as Cardinal Archbishop of Milan. His chief concern was that the Roman Catholic Church in the 20th century should be a faithful witness to the tradition of the past, except when tradition was obviously anachronistic.
Upon the completion of the council (8 December 1965), Paul VI was confronted with the formidable task of implementing its decisions, which affected practically every facet of church life. He approached this task with a sense of the difficulty involved in making changes in centuries-old structures and practices—changes rendered necessary by many rapid transformations in the social, psychological, and political milieu of the 20th century. Paul VI’s approach was consistently one of careful assessment of each concrete situation, with a sharp awareness of the many varied complications that he believed could not be ignored.
This prevalently philosophical attitude was often construed by his critics as timidity, indecision and uncertainty. Nonetheless, many of Paul VI’s decisions in these crucial years called for immense courage. In July 1968 he published his encyclical Humanae vitae (“Of Human Life”), which reaffirmed the stand of several of his predecessors on the long-smouldering controversy over artificial means of birth control, which he opposed. In many sectors this encyclical provoked adverse reactions that may be described as the most violent attacks on the authority of papal teaching in modern times. Similarly, his firm stand on the retention of priestly celibacy (Sacerdotalis caelibatus, June 1967) evoked much harsh criticism. Paul VI later likened the large numbers of priests leaving the ministry to a “crown of thorns.”He also was disturbed by the growing numbers of religious men and women asking for release from vows or who were abandoning out of hand their religious vows.
From the very outset of his years as pope, Paul VI gave clear evidence of the importance he attached to the study and the solution of social problems and to their impact on world peace. Social questions had already been prominent in his far-reaching pastoral program in Milan (1954–63). During those years he had travelled extensively in the Americas and in Africa, centring his attention mainly on concern for workers and for the poor. Such problems dominated his first encyclical letter, Ecclesiam suam (“His Church”), 6 August 1964 and later became the insistent theme of his celebrated Populorum progressio (“Progress of the Peoples”), 26 March 1967. This encyclical was such a pointed plea for social justice that in some conservative circles the pope was accused of Marxism. (- ring any bells folks?)
In an address to the Council Fathers at the end of the first session of the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Montini formulated a question that may be called the theme of his pastoral service as pontiff: “Church of Christ, what say you of yourself?” In an effort to answer this fundamental question, Paul VI undertook a series of apostolic journeys that were unparalleled occasions for a pope to set foot on every continent. His first journey was a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (January 1964), highlighted by his historic meeting with the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras, in Jerusalem. At the end of that same year, he went to India, becoming the first pope to visit Asia. The following year (4 October 1965), in the first visit by a pope to the United States, he delivered a moving plea for peace at a special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City and said mass at Yankee Stadium. In 1967 he undertook short visits to Fátima (Portugal) and to Istanbul and Ephesus (Turkey), a journey that had special ecumenical significance – a second meeting with Athenagoras in the patriarch’s own episcopal city (Constantinople). In August 1968 the pope went to Bogotá, Colombia, and he appeared before the International Labour Organisation and the World Council of Churches in Geneva in June 1969. The following month he was in Uganda, East Africa. In the autumn of 1970 he undertook the longest papal journey in modern history up to that time – 10 days spent in visits to Tehrān, Pakistan, the Philippines, Western Samoa (now Samoa), Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), each stop bringing Paul VI into personal contact with different peoples of the world of the Universal Catholic Church! His arrival in Manila almost ended in tragedy – within minutes of his descent from the plane, an attempt was made on his life but with no serious injury.
The themes treated by Paul VI on these trips were basically the same – world peace, social justice, world hunger, illiteracy, brotherhood under God and international cooperation.
Social And Ecumenical Interests
On 6 January 1971, in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican, Paul VI conferred the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize on the Albanian-born Mother Teresa, who had spent most of her life in India, where she had founded a special religious congregation of women dedicated to the alleviation of the countless ills of the poorest classes in the country. Paul VI declared on this occasion that the award was intended to centre attention on how even a humble individual without means can further world peace without fanfare, simply by proving in day-to-day action that “every man is my brother.” Here, as in other instances, Paul’s aim was to confront the world at large with the inescapable problems of justice and peace while at the same time proving conclusively that even these apparently insoluble problems can and must be settled with realistic courage and individual perseverance.
Paul VI’s human concern found further expression in his efforts to lessen the long-standing tensions between the church of Rome and other churches and even with those professing no religion at all. He sought out closer understanding with numerous religious leaders throughout the world, both Christian and non-Christian, placing more emphasis on those aspects that unite the churches than on those that divide. To show that mutual acquaintance is at the very foundation of any plans or hopes for unity, Pope Paul met with prominent religious leaders from various communities in Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union as well as other countries. Paul VI also set up a special secretariat for nonbelievers, stressing the need of understanding and endeavouring to solve the problems posed by atheism.
Under his guidance the Roman Catholic Church drastically revised its legislation governing marriages between its own members and those who profess other faiths, expressing a firm desire to diminish the threat of human tragedy following possible clashes of individual consciences. For this reason Paul VI’s motu proprio was welcomed and praised for its understanding of human problems and its desire to find a satisfactory solution to the problem of mixed marriages without demanding of either side any renunciation of basic principles of conscience.
In the rise of modern ecumenism, Paul VI saw excellent opportunities to encourage world brotherhood, which, he hoped, might further efforts for human well-being in the pursuit of happiness in unity of faith in God. On 15 May 1971, commemorating the 80th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum novarum on the reform of the social order, Pope Paul issued a forceful apostolic letter, Octogesima adveniens, with particular insistence on the necessity of involvement of all human beings in the solution of the problems of justice and peace.
In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI declared that Paul had lived “a life of heroic virtue.” Two years later he was Beatified by Benedict’s successor, Francis. He was Canonised by Pope Francis on 14 October 2018.
I think I am superwoman but have now realised I am not! I am so sorry but I have an imminent deadline for original work I am doing for my Diocese. It needs to be ready by Pentecost and I have done absolutely nothing as yet!
So no posts for a few weeks. I will be back as soon as I have made some progress and prepared at least 3 months of the 12 month-long programme.
I will be praying for you all! Please pray for me and keep on keeping on.
For those who would like to read about today’s Saints:
Marian Thoughts – 24 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter, C
Mini Series – Pope Francis and the Holy Rosary
“Throughout her life, Mary did everything that the Church is asked to do in perennial memory of Christ. In her faith, we learn to open our hearts to obey God, in her self-denial, we see the importance of tending to the needs of others, in her tears, we find the strength to console those experiencing pain. In each of these moments, Mary expresses the wealth of divine mercy that reaches out to all in their daily needs.”
Pope Francis – 9 October 2016
The Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist
“It is in the Lord, who gave His life for us on the cross, that we will always find that unconditional love which sees our lives as something good and always gives us the chance to start again.
In the Eucharist, Divine Mercy reveals itself in a special way. Celebrating the greatest mysteries of our faith, we touch the source of mercy.
The Eucharist is flavoured with Jesus’ words and deeds, the taste of His Passion, the fragrance of His Spirit. When we receive it, our hearts are overcome with the certainty of Jesus’ love. (18 June 2017)
Let us pray that frequent participation in the Holy Mass would expand our hearts, enrich our strength and enable us to give ourselves to our neighbours.”
Thought for the Day – 24 May – Friday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide: Today’s Gospel John 15:12-17
Firstborn of Many Brothers
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide”…John 15:16
Blessed Isaac of Stella O.Cist. (c 1100 – c 1170)
Cistercian Monk, Abbot, Theologian, Philosopher
An excerpt from his Sermon 42
Just as the head and body of a man, form one single man, so the Son of the Virgin and those He has chosen to be His members, form a single man and the one Son of Man. Christ is whole and entire, head and body, say the Scriptures, since all the members form one body, which with its Head is one Son of Man and He, with the Son of God is one Son of God, who Himself with God is one God. Therefore, the whole body with its Head is Son of Man, Son of God and God. This is the explanation of the Lord’s words – Father, I desire that as you and I are one, so they may be one with us.
And so, according to this well-known reading of Scripture, neither the body without the head, nor the Head without the body, nor the Head and body without God, make the whole Christ. When all are united with God, they become one God. The Son of God is one with God by nature, the Son of Man is one with Him in His person; we, His body, are one with him sacramentally. Consequently, those, who by faith, are spiritual members of Christ, can truly say that they are what He is – the Son of God and God Himself. But what Christ is, by His nature, we are as His partners, what He is of Himself in all fullness, we are as participants. Finally, what the Son of God is by generation, His members are by adoption, according to the text – As sons you have received the Spirit of adoption, enabling you to cry, Abba, Father.
Through His Spirit, He gave men the power to become sons of God, so that all those He has chosen might be taught by the firstborn, among many brothers to say – Our Father, who are in heaven. Again He says elsewhere – I ascend to my Father and to your Father.
By the Spirit, from the womb of the Virgin, was born our Head, the Son of Man and by the same Spirit, in the waters of baptism, we are reborn as His body and as sons of God. And just as He was born without any sin, so we are reborn in the forgiveness of all our sins. As on the cross, He bore the sum total of the whole body’s sins in His own physical body, so He gave His members the grace of rebirth, in order that no sin might be imputed to His mystical body. It is written – Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no sin. The blessed man of this text is undoubtedly Christ, who forgives sins insofar as God is His head. Insofar as this Man is the Head of the body, no sin is forgiven Him. But insofar as the body that belongs to this Head consists of many members, sin is not imputed to it.
Just in Himself, it is He who justifies Himself. He alone is both Saviour and saved. In His own body on the cross, He bore what He had washed from His body by the waters of baptism. Bringing salvation through wood and through water, He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, which He took upon Himself. Himself a priest, He offers Himself as sacrifice to God and He Himself is God. Thus, through His own self, the Son is reconciled to Himself as God, as well as to the Father and to the Holy Spirit.
Quote/s of the Day – 24 May – Friday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide: Today’s Gospel John 15:12-17
Speaking of Love…
“This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you…
“What is the mark of love for your neighbour? Not to seek what is for your own benefit but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul.”
St Basil the Great (329-379)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.”
“God is always trying to give good things to us but our hands are too full to receive them!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or wider; nothing is more pleasant, nothing fuller and nothing better in heaven or on earth, for love is born of God and cannot rest except in God, Who is above all created things.”
Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471) – Imitation of Christ
“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope, it can outlast anything. Love still stands, when all else has fallen.”
One Minute Reflection – 24 May – Friday of the Fifth week of Easter, C, Gospel: John 15:12–17 and the Memorial of Our Lady Help of Christians and Blessed Maria Gargani (1892-1973)
“You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide”…John 15:16
REFLECTION – “Oh, how happy and blessed are those who love God and do as the Lord Himself says in the Gospel – “You shall love the lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and your neighbour as yourself.” Let us love God, therefore and adore Him with a pure heart and a pure mind…
And let us love our neighbours as ourselves. And if there is anyone who does not wish to love them as himself, at least let him do no harm to them but rather do good. But those who have received the power to judge others, should exercise judgement with mercy, as they themselves desire to receive mercy from the Lord… Let us then have charity and humility, let us give alms since this washes our souls from the stains of our sins. For people lose everything they leave behind in this world but they carry with them, the rewards of charity and the alms which they gave, for which they will have a reward and a suitable remuneration from the Lord…
Upon all men and women, if they have done these things and have persevered to the end, the Spirit of the Lord will rest and He will make His home and dwelling among them. They will be children of the heavenly Father whose works they do. And they are spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ… Oh, how glorious it is, how holy and great, to have a Father in heaven! Oh, how holy, consoling, beautiful and wondrous it is to have a Spouse! Oh, how holy… humble, peaceful, sweet, lovable, and desirable above all things to have such a Brother and Son, who laid down his life for his sheep and who prayed to the Father for us, saying: “Holy Father, protect those in your name whom you have given to me…; and I wish, Father, that where I am they also may be with me so that they may see my glory in your kingdom” … St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226) Founder of the Friars Minor – Letter to all the faithful, 2nd version
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, You gave us a new birth in holy baptism and a new life in Your Son, who gave His life for us. Give us the grace to bear much fruit always striving after what He has taught who goes ahead of us to lead us to You. May the prayers of His beloved Mother and ours and Blessed Maria Gargani, grant us help and inspiration as we travel the road to eternal life. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God now and for all eternity, amen.