"Walking in the way and the love of the Lord"
"Do not be afraid. Go on speaking and do not be silenced." --Acts 18:9
On the first Christian Pentecost, the Holy Spirit dealt in a magnificent way with tongues. First, the Spirit appeared in the form of "tongues as of fire" (Acts 2:3). The apostles yielded their formerly silent tongues to speak in both native and foreign languages, proclaiming the prophetic Word of God (Acts 2:4ff). Their hearers used their tongues to repent and ask how to be saved (Acts 2:37).
Once the Spirit has your tongue, the battle begins. Satan accuses you of being foolish (Acts 2:13) and attacks any fears you may have. The world attempts to intimidate and silence you. This is what the apostles experienced once the Spirit took over their tongues. Nevertheless, the apostles yielded to the inspiration of the Spirit, not to the attacks of Satan and the world.
When we yield our tongues to the Spirit, the pressure to stifle the Holy Spirit and hold our tongues is so fierce that the Lord personally assures us: "Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silenced, for I am with you" (Acts 18:9).
Today is the first day of the Pentecost Novena, nine days of prayer to prepare to receive the Holy Spirit in fullness at Pentecost. Give the Lord your mind, heart, soul, and tongue. Ask the Lord to teach you "what to say and how to speak" (Jn 12:49). Allow the Holy Spirit to control your speech in both your native tongue and in the spiritual gift of tongues.
Prayer: Father, I ask You in Jesus' name to prepare my heart to be a worthy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit.
Promise: "I give you My assurance, whatever you ask the Father, He will give you in My name." --Jn 16:23
Praise: St. Isidore and his wife were united in Holy Matrimony. They accepted their sacramental graces in full and are now both canonized saints.
An excerpt from Living in the Father’s Embrace
BY: FR. GEORGE MONTAGUE, S.M.
Jesus assures us that we can have that Holy Spirit for the asking. Our asking cannot, however, be routine. It must be passionate and persevering.
That is the meaning of Jesus’ story just before he tells us to ask (Luke 11:5-8). A midnight visitor arrives, and the family provider has no bread to set before him. So the host has to go next door and bang repeatedly on the neighbor’s door, even after refusals, until finally the neighbor gets up and hands him an armful of loaves. God wants us to nag and keep nagging, because the process deepens our desire and our capacity to receive and appreciate the gift once given.
So how badly do we want the Holy Spirit? How badly do we thirst for him? Are we like the cowboy who sings, “All day I’ve faced the barren waste without a taste of water, cool water”? If you don’t remember the song, think of the time when you were so thirsty that you thought of nothing else but water. That’s the thirst we should have for the Holy Spirit. It means dropping all other priorities until we reach the well of living water.
And what happens when we get there? I cannot tell you because you have to experience it for yourself. All I can say is that you are experiencing a creature’s share in Jesus’ experience of the Father. You have been granted entry into the unimaginable depths of the Godhead, the eternal gaze of the Son upon the Father on whose breast he rests (John 1:18). St. Paul says as much when he writes that “eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it ever entered the mind of man, what God has prepared for those who love him,” yet this is what “God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches out everything, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10; my translation).
The Holy Spirit is thus the searchlight, revealing things about God that we would never dream of. He is like the lights and camera, sunk to the depths of the Atlantic and revealing the Titanic, or a guide throwing a powerful flashlight on a cavern wall and showing us an awesome, eons-old water-crafted pillar. But the Father is no Titanic, nor is he an awesome pillar. He is … no words will do. Let the wordless Word carry you from here.
This article is an excerpt from *Living in the Father’s Embrace *by Fr. George Montague, which is available from the Word Among Us Press.
By William A. Barry, SJ
From God’s Passionate Desire
Why do we pray? Do we pray for utilitarian reasons—because it benefits our physical or psychological health?
Honesty compels me to say that I often do pray for utilitarian reasons. First of all, most of my prayers of petition ask for some good result, either for me or for someone else or for all people. Moreover, I feel contented when I remember in prayer the people who mean much to me, even if my prayer is not answered. I notice, too, that I feel better about myself when I pray regularly. I feel more centered, more in tune with the present, less anxious about the past or the future. So I suspect that I do pray for the purpose of psychological or physical health. But does that exhaust my motivations for prayer?
Prayer Is a Relationship
Thinking of prayer as a conscious relationship, or friendship, with God may be illuminating. Why do we spend time with good friends? As I pondered this question, I realized that I relish times with good friends for some of the same reasons just adduced for spending time in prayer. If I have not had good conversations with close friends for some time, I feel out of sorts, somewhat lonely, and ill at ease. When I am with good friends, I feel more whole and alive.
Still, I do not believe that my only reason for wanting time with them is to feel better. I want to be with them because I love them. I am genuinely interested in and concerned for them. The beneficial effect that being with them has on me is a happy by-product. Moreover, I have often spent time with friends when it cost me trouble and time, and I did it because they wanted my presence. Haven’t we all spent time with a close friend who was ill or depressed, even when the time was painful and difficult? Such time spent cannot be explained on utilitarian grounds. We spend that time because we love our friend for his or her own sake.
Of course, there are times when we need the presence of close friends because we are in pain or lonely. Friendship would not be a mutual affair if we were always the ones who gave and never were open to receive. But if we are not totally egocentric, we will have to admit that we do care for others for their own sakes, and not just for what we can get from the relationship. We spend time with our friends because of our mutual care and love. Can we say the same thing about our relationship with God?
Our Deepest Desires
Prayer is a conscious relationship with God. Just as we spend time with friends because we love them and care for them, we spend time in prayer because we love God and want to be with God. Created out of love, we are drawn by the desire for “we know not what,” for union with the ultimate Mystery, who alone will satisfy our deepest longing. That desire, we can say, is the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in our hearts, drawing us to the perfect fulfillment for which we were created—namely, community with the Trinity. That desire draws us toward a more and more intimate union with God.
We pray, then, at our deepest level, because we are drawn by the bonds of love. We pray because we love, and not just for utilitarian purposes. If prayer has beneficial effects—and I believe that it does—that is because prayer corresponds to our deepest reality. When we are in tune with God, we cannot help but experience deep well-being. Ignatius of Loyola spoke of consolation as a sign of a person’s being in tune with God’s intention. But in the final analysis, the lover does not spend time with the Beloved because of the consolation; the lover just wants to be with the Beloved.
Thanks and Praise
Another motive for prayer is the desire to praise and thank God because of his great kindness and mercy. In contemplating Jesus, we discover that God’s love is not only creative but also overwhelmingly self-sacrificing. Jesus loved us even as we nailed him to the cross.
If we allow the desire for “we know not what” to draw us more and more into a relationship of mutual love with God, then we will, I believe, gradually take as our own that wonderful prayer so dear to St. Francis Xavier that begins O Deus, ego amo te, nec amo te ut salves me: “O God, I love you, and not because I hope for heaven thereby.” Gerard Manley Hopkins translated the prayer:
I love thee, God, I love thee--
Not out of hope for heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesus so much in love with me?
Not for heaven’s sake, not to be
Out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and will love thee.
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.
Excerpt from God’s Passionate Desire by William A. Barry, SJ.
- See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-what-how-why-of-prayer/why-do-we-pray/
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle 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.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox
Saint James, pray for us that we may be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus as you did. Help us to become special friends of Jesus as you were. Amen