Preparing for Pentecost

Happy Feast of The Ascension!  Today is the day the Church remembers Jesus ascending into Heaven.  I wanted to share with you all something my dad emailed to my family earlier this week.  Check it out and consider walking in the disciples’ footsteps these next nine days leading up to Pentecost!

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Preparing for Pentecost

This coming Thursday, May 29th, is the Feast of the Ascension.  Most dioceses in the US don’t get to celebrate it on Thursday, but rather on Sunday.  It’s a bummer, because in moving the date of the celebration we could miss a very powerful opportunity to walk in the shoes of the early disciples.

Right before Jesus Ascended to Heaven on Ascension Thursday, He gave His disciples some final instructions.  He told them to stay in the city of Jerusalem “…until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)  When Luke picks-up the story in Acts Chapter 1, he states that after Jesus Ascended to Heaven the disciples returned to Jerusalem – to the upper room – and “…devoted themselves to prayer, together with Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” (Acts 1:12-14).  Ten days later – on the day of Pentecost, they were still together when they were filled with the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:1-4).

So, to recap, Jesus Ascends to Heaven – the disciples pray for nine days for the Holy Spirit, the “promise of My Father…” as Jesus said in Luke 24:49 – and on the tenth day they receive the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
…A few weeks ago, I started looking for a way to experience the Holy Spirit, together with the Church, in a deeper way this Pentecost.  I found this Novena to The Holy Spirit (http://www.ecatholic2000.com/novena/hg1.shtml).  Right about now some of you are probably groaning – oh no, another novena!?  But wait – before you dismiss this one – check-out what the website says about this novena:
The novena to the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the First Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church.
As I prayed about this, I got really excited. The Church throughout the World will celebrate the Feast of the Ascension later this week [TODAY!!!] – 10 days before Pentecost.  Let’s do what the early church did – let’s pray for 9 days for an outpouring of the Spirit, using the Novena to the Holy Spirit, beginning onFriday, May 30th, and concluding on Saturday, June 7th (the eve of Pentecost).  And then when we go to Mass on Pentecost Sunday, June 8th, let’s see what God does!

Praying With Mary

Acts Chapter 1 says the disciples “devoted themselves to prayer, together with Mary.”  Let’s ask the Blessed Mother to accompany us during this novena, and in order to fully prepare our hearts, let’s “go the extra mile.”  If you haven’t been to confession lately, GO before Pentecost.  Let’s also consider making some other special sacrifice during this novena, as a way to “devote ourselves” more fully to this prayer.  Maybe…
– Pray the Rosary for 9 days straight – IN ADDITION to praying this novena? Or,
– Visit the Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament everyday for 9 days straight? Or,
– Go to Mass everyday for 9 days in a row if that fits into your schedule? Or,
– Give up Facebook for 9 days (might be harder than all three of the above, combined!).
I plan to send a “Holy Spirit Novena Reminder” out [via Twitter] everyday for 9 days….
Come Holy Spirit!
Love,
Dad (Alan)