Preparing for the coming of the Spirit
The 50 days of the Easter season allow us to appreciate, ponder, and savor the reality of Jesus' resurrection. Easter is truly the turning point of human history. Thinking about the meaning of God having power over all things, even death, is worthy of our full attention.
This time also prepares us for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and this week's preparation is very specific. Just before his Ascension into heaven, Jesus tells his disciples that they "will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon" them, and they "will be [his] witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
May 4, 2008
Ascension of the Lord
Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9
The Ephesians passage gives more definition to just what they will be proclaiming when Paul writes of "the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion . . . "
Taking on this view of the world changed Jesus' disciples from their indecisive ways into men who traveled to the far corners of the world to tell others that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
But first they had to wait for the Holy Spirit and then be obedient to Jesus' command to proclaim this good news, that he had conquered death, and his Father had proclaimed him Lord.
When I first came to my adult faith three decades back, I experienced a profound reorientation of my life. Instructions in the Catholic faith, a Life in the Spirit Seminar, then service on my parish liturgy committee and in the pro-life movement, displaced the regular companionship of my unbelieving young adult friends. New friendships with Christians and new activities filled my time and became my passion.
What can you do to prepare for God to take a greater role in your life?
Are there Bible studies, retreats, or service projects in your parish or
diocese that would help you turn your life toward God?
I still have those old friendships, but they ceased being my primary relationships, the ones that formed my values and view of the world, as my life became reoriented around the truth of the Resurrection.
It's been 34 years since what were for me pivotal times, the times of my own personal Pentecost. I have no regrets. Preparing for the coming of the Spirit is worthy of our best efforts.
This column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.
This week's readings
Week of May 4 - 10, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Ascension of the Lord
Reading I: Acts 1:1-11
Reading II: Ephesians 1:17-23
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
Monday, May 5, 2008
Reading I: Acts 19:1-8
Gospel: Jn 16:29-33
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Reading I: Acts 20:17-27
Gospel: Jn 17:1-11a
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Reading I: Acts 20:28-38
Gospel: Jn 17:11b-19
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Reading I: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Gospel: Jn 17:20-26
Friday, May 9, 2008
Reading I: Acts 25:13b-21
Gospel: Jn 21:15-19
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Mass in the Morning
Reading I: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
Gospel: Jn 21:20-25
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Pentecost Sunday, At the Vigil Mass
Reading I: Acts 11:1-9 or Ex 19:3-8a,
16-20b or Ez 37:1-14 or Jl 3:1-5
Reading II: Rom 8:22-27
Gospel: Jn 7:37-39
Pope's Prayer Intentions
May General Intention
Human Dignity. That Christians may use literature, art, and mass media to create a culture which defends and promotes the values of the human person.
May Mission Intention
Mary's guidance. That the Virgin Mary, Star of evangelization and Queen of the Apostles, may still guide missionaries with maternal affection, just as she accompanied the Apostles in the early stages of the Church.
Prayer to St. Raphael
Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.
We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.
We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.