Gary Wright, SJ
As the Easter Season moves into its final weeks, the liturgy draws our attention to another aspect of the mystery of the Risen Christ: the coming of his Holy Spirit, and the effects of this Holy Spirit in the life of the church – that is, in our lives. In an ancient tradition that mirrors the period of prayer of the first disciples waiting for Pentecost (see Luke 24:49, Acts 1:12), the church enters into 9 days (a novena) of prayer to open itself more profoundly to the gifts and action of the Holy Spirit.
I invite everyone to join me as I pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our parish during the novena days starting next Friday, May 11, through Saturday, May 19. What do we pray for? – all the wonderful Gifts
of the Spirit that heal and enliven and make joyful our own lives, and those of our fellow parishioners. These gifts and effects of the Spirit are not just for ourselves, but for the building up of the community – they enable us to carry on the mission of Jesus; we need them to unfold the full meaning and purpose of our lives, to follow our own vocation. St. Ignatius of Loyola often evoked the Spirit at the end of his letters, especially those to Jesuit missionaries, with “Ite, inflammate omnia!” “Go, set the world on fire!” In particular, let us pray with and for our new parish intercessory prayer ministry (announced in this column at the beginning of Lent) which is just getting started, still figuring out how concretely to best support the prayer life of the parish, and to pray in depth for each one who asks for our prayers.
You can pray the novena by using one of the traditional Prayers to the Holy Spirit
, or just pray in your own words, opening your heart to receive whatever gifts of the Spirit God wants to give you.
Finally, let me remind all again of the great opportunity to hear Fr. Howard Gray, SJ, a master at making Jesuit spirituality accessible for lay people, at the upcoming May 22 Jesuit Alumni and Friends luncheon. See details near this column.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful,
And enkindle in them the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created,
And You shall renew the face of the earth.