Thursday, May 13, 2010

From Earth to Heaven and Back Again

I find it fascinating somehow that Ascension Thursday falls on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

Jesus has completed the saving act of his passion and crucifixion and he has risen from the dead. All that remains is for Him to enter into his glory at the right hand of His Father. But He is very conscious of the ones He will leave behind on earth. Jesus said to his disciples, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

We are witnesses of these things. But "these things" are no small matter. They are serious enough that people will kill because of them. It is frightening to think that we have been given such knowledge and such a task as witnessing to these things. But Jesus makes a promise to us; He promises to clothe us with "power from on high". He promises us His Holy Spirit. 
We wait. And wait. And wait for Jesus to return upon the clouds, coming in glory. It can be sad and discouraging in our day and age to know that while we are waiting and waiting for Him to return and trying to witness to His Truth, the world around us seems to have entered an abyss of death and destruction choosing blindness and deafness.

Ninety-three years ago, the Blessed Virgin appeared to three innocent children and foretold the misery the world would choose but, like her Son, did not leave us without weapons. She told us to pray the rosary and go to Mass on Saturdays and offer reparations for sins. We are working on getting to Mass more besides Sundays but we'd also like to pray the rosary with the girls.
Does anyone have any advice on when during the day might be the best time to try to implement this? I can't decide if early in the morning is best, before nap-time, after nap-time or when would be best.

Our Holy Father has been in Fatima this week reflecting on the words of Our Lady. He said

At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart. At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity. May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.  
Today we celebrate His ascent into Heaven and her descent onto earth. We hear His promise to send help and we hear her prophecies and promises of help. She reminds us that we are not stuck in a vacuum. She reminds us that, although Christ ascended almost 2000 years ago, we are still moving forward toward that glorious moment when He will return and every tear will be wiped away. She brought Him into the world and now she prophesies His return. Her words of His imminent return should urge us all the more to pray "Come, O Holy Spirit! Come!"

In two Sundays, we will celebrate Pentecost, when we celebrate the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to send His Holy Spirit. Join us in praying a Novena to the Holy Spirit.

FIRST DAY (Friday, 6th Week of Easter)
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."
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. 

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)

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)

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