27th May – DAY #2 OF HOLY SPIRIT NOVENA.

Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

God Holy Spirit

The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

 

26th May – DAY #1 OF HOLY SPIRIT NOVENA.

The novena in honor 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 Spirit 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.

God Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared–sin? Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

 

25th May

This is the second reflection from Pope Francis regarding Our Lady.

Look upon Mary

our lady queen of peaceMary’s gaze! How important this is! How many things can we say with a look! Affection, encouragement, compassion, love, but also disapproval, envy, pride and even hatred. Often a look says more than words; it says what words do not or dare not say.

At whom is the Virgin Mary looking? She is looking at each and every one of us. And how does she look at us? She looks at us as a Mother, with tenderness, mercy and love. That was how she gazed at her Son Jesus at all the moments of his life—joyful, luminous, sorrowful, glorious—as we contemplate in the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, simply and lovingly.

When we are weary, downcast, beset with cares, let us look to Mary, let us feel her gaze, which speaks to our heart and says: “Courage, my child, I am here to help you!” Our Lady knows us well, she is a Mother, she is familiar with our joys and difficulties, our hopes and disappointments. When we feel the burden of our failings and our sins, let us look to Mary, who speaks to our hearts, saying: “Arise, go to my Son Jesus; in him you will find acceptance, mercy and new strength for the journey.”

 

24th May

This is the first of two reflections from Pope Francis regarding Our Lady. This first one is about continuing the mystery of the Incarnation in our own lives.

Jesus Bread of LifeDo we think that Jesus’ incarnation is simply a past event which has nothing to do with us personally? Believing in Jesus means giving him our flesh with the humility and courage of Mary, so that he can continue to dwell in our midst.

It means giving him our hands, to caress the little ones and the poor; our feet, to go forth and meet our brothers and sisters; our arms, to hold up the weak and to work in the Lord’s vineyard, our minds, to think and act in the light of the Gospel; and especially to offer our hearts to love and to make choices in accordance with God’s will. All this happens thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit. And in this way we become instruments in God’s hands, so that Jesus can act in the world through us.

“Blessed is she who believed!” Mary is blessed for her faith in God, for her faith, because her heart’s gaze was always fixed on God, the Son of God whom she bore in her womb and whom she contemplated upon the Cross. In the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Mary says to us:

“Look at my son Jesus, keep your gaze fixed on him, listen to him, speak with him. He is gazing at you with love. Do not be afraid! He will teach you to follow him and to bear witness to him in all that you do, whether great and small, in your family life, at work, at times of celebration. He will teach you to go out of yourself and to look upon others with love, as he did. He loved you and loves you, not with words but with deeds.”

 

23rd May

I travelled down to Kerry yesterday on the bus. We will be celebrating Dad’s 85th birthday tomorrow in the nursing home. Then on Thu I’ll fly to England and will lead a pro-life retreat in Our Lady’s shrine at Walsingham from Friday to Tue. Afterwards I will travel to Hythe, Kent to see the SOLT community there. Departing on Thu, I’ll be back in time for my next chemotherapy clinic on Fri June 2nd.

Here is today’s gospel reflection from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ website.

Gospel Reflection           Tuesday,              Sixth Week of Easter            John 16:5-11 

Holy_SpiritIn the gospel reading this morning, Jesus tells the disciples that when the Advocate, the Holy Spirit comes, he will show the world how wrong it was about sin, about who was in the right and about judgement. Those who were responsible for the death of Jesus concluded that Jesus must have been a sinner to have died in the way he did; his ignominious death showed that God had judged him. Therefore, those responsible for Jesus’ death thought that they were right to put this sinner to death. Jesus declares that the Holy Spirit will demonstrate that this unbelieving world is totally wrong in these assessments. Jesus was not a sinner; he was not judged by God; those who put him to death were not in the right. We see here the enormous disparity between God’s perception and human perception. The one whom God looked upon as a beloved Son, others looked upon as a sinner. The one whom God vindicated was considered judged or condemned by God. Those who saw themselves as in the right were judged by God to be completely in the wrong. Our perspective can be very wide of the mark. We need to keep growing into God’s perspective, to see as God sees, to judge as God judges. It is the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who gives us God’s perspective. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to see as God sees, to know as God knows, to understand as God understands, to be wise in the way God is wise. That is why we desperately need the Holy Spirit to keep filling our hearts and our minds afresh.

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The Gospel reflection comes from WEEKDAY REFLECTIONSTo know the love of Christ 2016/2017 by Martin Hogan published by  The Messenger c/f www.messenger.ie
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GOSPEL:                         John 16:5-11
Unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you;  but if I do go, I will send him to you.

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Now I am going to the one who sent me.
Not one of you has asked,
“Where are you going?”
Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this.
Still, I must tell you the truth:
it is for your own good that I am going
because unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I do go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes, he will show the world how wrong it was,
about sin,
and about who was in the right,
and about judgement:
about sin: proved by their refusal to believe in me;
about who was in the right: proved by my going to the Father
and your seeing me no more;
about judgement:
proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.’

The Gospel of the Lord.

22nd May

prayerIn a recent Office of Readings, St Augustine spoke about the importance of praising God. This is a primary way in which we prepare for the life of heaven. This is echoed at the beginning of each Eucharistic Preface prayer: IT IS TRULY RIGHT AND JUST, OUR DUTY AND OUR SALVATION, ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE TO GIVE YOU THANKS…”

Our thoughts in this present life should turn on the praise of God, because it is in praising God that we shall rejoice for ever in the life to come; and no one can be ready for the next life unless he trains himself for it now. So we praise God during our earthly life.

Now therefore, brethren, we urge you to praise God. That is what we are all telling each other when we say Alleluia. You say to your neighbour, “Praise the Lord!” and he says the same to you. We are all urging one another to praise the Lord, and all thereby doing what each of us urges the other to do. But see that your praise comes from your whole being; in other words, see that you praise God not with your lips and voices alone, but with your minds, your lives and all your actions.

We are praising God now, assembled as we are here in church; but when we go on our various ways again, it seems as if we cease to praise God. But provided we do not cease to live a good life, we shall always be praising God. You cease to praise God only when you swerve from justice and from what is pleasing to God. If you never turn aside from the good life, your tongue may be silent but your actions will cry aloud, and God will perceive your intentions; for as our ears hear each other’s voices, so do God’s ears hear our thoughts.

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One common prayer that we can pray thoughtfully to praise God is the Gloria.

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

 

 

21st May – 6th Sunday of Easter (A)

First Holy CommunionToday we had First Holy Communions in the parish – one of the highlights of the year, everybody dressed up to the hilt. In my homily I spoke about the meaning and importance of Holy Communion in our lives. This is the essence of what I said.

All of us can remember our first Holy Communion regardless of our age. Why is it so important for us Catholics? The key to its importance can be seen in how the boys and girls are dressed up like bride grooms and brides. So what is the connection between Christian marriage and Holy Communion?

At the end of the day it is all about relationships. The happiness of our lives is determined principally not by our possessions, wealth or occupation. Rather our happiness depends on the quality of our core relationships – between spouses, parents and children, siblings and other close friends. This is so because God being a Trinity is about relationships: Father and Son united in the love of the Holy Spirit.

In Christian marriage, a man and woman fall in love. As a result they want to live a united, common life. Furthermore they want to give themselves to the other person – mutual self-gift.

God loved us first and before the beginning of time, had included us in his master plan, knowing when exactly he would bring us into the world. As the Penny Catechism would put it: to know him, love him and serve him in this life and be with happy with him forever in eternity. As we grow in our faith and appreciate this great love, we naturally want to respond to it.

Like married love, there is the instinct to be united, us and Jesus. Holy Communion is a primary way that brings this about. Communion means COMMON UNION. When we receive it, Jesus actually comes inside us and lives in our heart. This is a great gift of Jesus and a great mystery too. He told us in today’s gospel: “On that day you will understand that… you [are] in me and I [am] in you.” Imagine when you and granny hug: it is a comforting expression of love and closeness but you are OUTSIDE each other. In Holy Communion, we are INSIDE Jesus and Jesus is INSIDE us. Truly amazing!

When people love each other, they desire to give themselves to the other – like the husband who wants to give himself to his wife and the wife who wants to give herself to her husband.

When and how did Jesus give himself to us? Well the greatest self-gift is when we die for somebody. Jesus did this on Good Friday when he died to pay the price for our sins. But this self-giving of Jesus continues throughout time and happens in a special way at Mass. Each time we receive Holy Communion, Jesus gives himself to us as the Bread of Life, food for our souls. This gives us the help that we need to live a holy life, it gives us hope and strength when we get discouraged or sick.

The most important Holy Communion we ever receive is at the end of our lives as part of the Last Rites. This Holy Communion is called Viaticum which means food for the journey. It strengthens us for death, the Final Judgement, the final purification of Purgatory and finally the entry into eternal glory. In this way it is like the Manna that fed the Israelites on the way to the Promised Land.

In what way do we give ourselves to Jesus? Well firstly, this happens when we give time to prayer. Friends always want to communicate with each other. Secondly each time we come to Mass, we place our lives on the altar through the offertory gifts: the fruit of the earth and the work of human hands. The priest then offers to God all of what is going on in our lives. Thirdly, we give ourselves to Jesus through the effort to be faithful to the Ten Commandments. As he told us in the gospel: “If you love me you will keep my Commandments.” We all know that in today’s world, the Commandments – and the Christian way of life in general – is highly counter cultural.

In summary: Our relationship with Jesus is like Christian marriage: Jesus gives himself to us and we give ourselves to Jesus. Holy Communion is an important way that Jesus can live in our hearts as our special friend and give us the strength to grow in holiness.