Veni Sancte Spiritus

248We have entered a powerful time of prayer. For nearly 20 years I have taken this time between Ascension and Pentecost to make a novena to the Holy Spirit.

There is no formula to follow, this is your prayer, your conversation with God. What do you need to pray for? This is a time to ask for wisdom, courage, grace, consolation, and healing from the Holy Spirit, but once again, this is your conversation with God, so what do you need to seek from the coming of of Holy Spirit?

Every year, I like to make my daily novena and to listen to Veni Sancte Spiritus from Taize, which I include here. I love the repetitive chant, seeking the coming of the Holy Spirit, the sound of which typically brings me to a place of silence and peace.

Whatever your prayer to the coming of the Holy Spirit might be, find the words of your heart, which may simply be silent waiting, and offer them to God these nine days. Come Holy Spirit, come.

Go!

ascension-of-christ-large“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

This is Jesus’ command in today’s Gospel for Ascension Thursday. For some of us, this is a Holy Day; other dioceses have moved the feast to Sunday.

Whether or not this is a Holy Day depending on our address, Jesus’ words are an imperative. GO! How do we make disciples? It starts by how we live. As Pope Francis has indicated over and over again, in the model of Christ, we must evangelize with our lives. GO!

This past Sunday I was out of town and attended a particularly joyless Continue reading

Hopeful pessimist or hopeless optimist? Thoughts on Ascension Thursday

tumblr_m2ac30GRU61r35gi7o1_500“May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call…” – Ephesians 1:18

A little lectio divina led me to savor this particular line of today’s Scripture, for Ascension Thursday. While I’m a little wistful that Easter draws to an end, I also find myself hopeful. Now I’ve been floundering around for something to say about my hope, and wouldn’t you know it, God pointed me to some words on the topic. Just yesterday, in the throes of my final floundering, I came across a post written by Bridget at Women in Theology, where she, among other things, reminds us of something very important:

“…hope is not optimism. In fact, in certain cases (I suspect most of the cases where it actually matters) optimism can be a vice opposed to hope. An optimist can discount and ignore evidence against her conviction that things will right themselves. An optimist is threatened by others’ pain. But someone acting in hope—the conviction not that things will right themselves, nor that we’ll be able to right them, but that God’s power will work to overturn whatever wrongs our systems can devise—that person can face pain. Without denying pain or being swept away by it, she can face her own and others’ suffering.”

Hope is not optimism. Do a little lectio with those words – they are most powerful!  I find this so helpful – and so hopeful, as I return to those words from Ephesians that open this post. I also appreciate that Bridget reminds us of the importance of language and of depth of reflection, something we can easily forget in the land of status updates and tweets, in the land of “optimistic opinionating” that social media can represent. (This is not a swipe at social media, without which there would be post today, but rather a call to reflection. Add to that a reminder that God uses all things for good – including social media, which provided the incubator for both this post and the WIT post that ultimately inspired it.)

Today my reflection, along with it my prayer, is to be anchored in hope and free from optimism. This does not make me a hopeful pessimist, any more than the opposite would be a hopeless optimist… although I can see the allure of the latter. No, it is the banality of optimism that I was reminded of at the last minute, and the power of great hope that grows out of faith.

Pentecost will arrive on Sunday, May 19. In these days in between, we await the Holy Spirit. What will your prayer be during this powerful time? Suddenly, my own prayer which was centered around the ways that I “hoped” that God would shape my life, has shifted. Today – at least just today, just this moment – pray that hope grows more deeply in my heart. If I am able to string my prayer of hope from moment to moment, and day to day, between now and Pentecost, who knows what will happen? Maybe, just maybe, the “eyes of my heart will be enlightened.” And to that I say, amen, and amen, and amen.

In the meantime, don’t just go staring at the sky, waiting for Jesus to come back down. Open your heart and notice Jesus all around you, especially in the most pessimistic of places and in the people you would never imagine finding Jesus is, but where Jesus might be found with the open eyes of a willing heart.

ascension.jpg!Blog

Pentecost Novena 2010 – Day 1

Last year I was able to offer a novena for these days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost. This is an important and powerful time of prayer – the post resurrection Jesus has ascended into heaven and has promised us the Holy Spirit, which we know will come on Pentecost.

If you are from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany you know that we just had our annual catechetical event, Spring Enrichment. This week kept me pretty busy and as a result I have not been able to prepare a novena this year.

One of the gifts of the internet and blogging is community and one of the gifts of community is that we can share.

Great friend of the blog, Father Austin Fleming, who blogs at A Concord Pastor Comments, is offering a novena on his blog. I am linking to it here and will keep a link to it on the sidebar of the blog until Pentecost.

Thank you Father Austin for giving us a chance to pray with you and your readers.

From his blog:

The oldest novena is the prayer of the first disciples (Mary, the apostles and other believers) from the time Jesus ascended to his Father (40 days after Easter) to the feast of Pentecost. These nine days are a time for us to pray for the coming of the Spirit upon the Church and upon each of us. Each day of the novena you will find a post with scripture and prayer for that day. For your prayer, I’ve added a widget at the top of the sidebar with 17 musical selections for Pentecost.

Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 1

From the scriptures:

Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;

you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor,
she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;

but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.John 16:20-23

For reflection…
 Continue reading at the link….