Meditation for the Day (Solemnity of Pentecost)

Pentecost Sunday – Mass during the Day, June 5

We Are Each Called to Live the Gifts with Which You and I Have Been Blessed by the Holy Spirit, Bringing God’s Love to the World Around Us, Sharing Our Varied Gifts and Talents with One Another so that We May begin to Truly Build Up the Body of Christ Here on Earth.

“Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.” – the antiphon which we read from today’s Responsorial Psalm – words which speak to us of this great Solemnity of Pentecost which we celebrate today.

Today is the culmination of the Easter Season, for it has been fifty days since the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! And today commemorates the birth of the Church through the special indwelling of the Holy Spirit upon our Blessed Mother and our Lord’s disciples in that Upper Room in the form of flaming tongues of fire!

I am aware that this meditation may seem slightly longer than usual, but today we celebrate the beginning of our Church, the day in which the Apostles began to truly live the mission Jesus had given them before His Ascension into Heaven, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

And today, you and I also celebrate the fulfillment of our Lord’s promise to each of us, for which we give our sincerest thanksgiving and most heartfelt gratitude for His special Gift from God – His Holy Spirit, who has been given to us – who enlightens us to God’s Truth, who strengthens us to live this Truth in our daily lives.

And when we freely embrace this Truth and make it our own, He sanctifies us with His grace, for this faith which fills our hearts gives us a joy and a serenity which the world cannot give, for it is truly a gift from a Most Loving and Most Merciful God!

If we truly reflect today upon the meaning of Pentecost, this Solemnity is all of which I have just described – and so much more!

It was many years ago when a young man had spoken to me about the many trials and tribulations he had experienced as a youth growing up in an oftentimes hostile and abusive family environment – an experience which left him feeling very weak and alone inside.

He felt that no one understood him as a person; no one took the time to show genuine love and concern for his emotional and physical safety and welfare, much less his spiritual well-being.

He felt totally alone in a world which he saw as cruel and unkind; until, one day, he felt what he could only describe as an external force gently consoling and guiding him with an indescribable love – feelings and emotions which were new to him, feelings which he had never truly felt before, especially to the degree in which he was now experiencing them!

It was as though God literally went out and sought His lost sheep, and placed this young lamb, abused and wounded, upon His shoulders and carried him back to be reunited with His flock! This young man, for the first time in his life, felt the overwhelming presence of God’s Divine Love and Mercy through the grace and special indwelling of the Holy Spirit!

Today, many years later, this person is, with the help of God’s grace, an active member of his faith with a loving and supportive wife and children.

This is just one story amidst a countless number of untold stories which unfold each and every day – stories of one’s life’s journey lived through this vale of tears in which we all exist and experience in our own way – stories about how the long reach of God’s Infinite Love, stories about how the Divine Spirit of Eternal Truth reaches out, grabs hold of and affects the lives of His children in a wonderfully positive and meaningful way.

Each one of us, both you and I, regardless of our personal faith persuasion, are truly sons and daughters of our Eternal and Heavenly Father; we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, all united under the one umbrella of faith and love through the Holy Spirit.

And this same Spirit, about whom we celebrate today, reaches out and touches our lives in so many different and diverse ways, calling each of us into that profoundly intimate and loving relationship which God wishes to have with each and every one of us. And within this relationship, God calls us to become the extension of Himself in our relationships with each other.

Paul tells us in our Second Reading today, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”

Within our faith environment, we find many different ministries, filled with many good and hard-working individuals, to bring the love of Christ to those who are in most need – ministries which feed and clothe the poor, catechize our youth, ministries which reach out to the deaf and disabled, to those imprisoned and homeless, grief ministries which attend to those who have just experienced the loss of a loved one – and the list is almost endless, for it is as long as the needs are great!

The reason I bring all of this to our attention is because of what today is all about – empowerment – empowerment through the workings and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within each and every one of us!

And it is this theme of empowerment – the giving of special gifts – which all began on that special day of Pentecost in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit came to our Lord’s chosen disciples, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind and it filled the entire house.”

Our First Reading presents us with this amazing account of how the Apostles were infused with enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, strengthening and empowering them to proclaim the fullness of God’s Truth.

These timid followers of Jesus Christ were no longer cowering in the shadows, as they had been doing since Jesus’ death on Calvary, but became emboldened witnesses to the Word made Flesh, so as to become true pillars upon which our Church was to be founded.

And Saint Paul is telling us today in his Letter that, by virtue of our Baptism in Christ, we, as members of Christ’s Church, are empowered by this “same Spirit” with unique and special gifts to build up the Body of Christ.

For though we are many in numbers, we are but one in Christ Himself, and it is through the Spirit working in each of us, and the gifts with which He has blessed us, that we “…renew the face of the earth” as we read in today’s psalm.

And in our Gospel for today, we find Jesus, after His Resurrection, commending His Apostles to evangelize His Name and all that He has taught them with the words, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And this is exactly what each and every one of us, by virtue of our Baptism in Christ Jesus, are called to become – His disciples in the world which we live today.

By virtue of our Baptism, we are called to live the gifts with which you and I have been blessed, gifts imbued within us by the Holy Spirit, in order to bring God’s Love to the world around us. It is through each of us sharing our varied gifts and talents with one another that we begin to truly build up the Body of Christ here on Earth.

Living our faith today – practicing our faith in a culture which oftentimes shows disdain for Divine Truth – means hearing the words of our Lord and keeping them. And we do this through the guidance and strengthening of His Spirit.

Jesus once said, “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” And He also said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit…”

Jesus, out of His unfathomable and indescribable Love for you and me, asks that each of us becomes a flowering and fruitful part of this growing Vine, giving witness to God’s Light in the world around us.

And we become this through the way we live our faith – all through the workings of His Spirit within and through us. Each and every one of us is called by God to be faithful, to become that fruitful branch.

May you and I open our hearts to His Spirit of Truth, so that we may become His disciples in the way we live our lives in today’s world. May we become empowered by His Spirit of Love by becoming all that He needs us to be for the sake of the Body of Christ – for the sake of each other’s personal salvation.

As Saint Paul says, we are many, but together we are “one body” in Christ. Let us, together, as faithful children of God, attend to the needs of His Body here on Earth.

It is the Spirit who gives us the grace necessary to accomplish this. And it is the Spirit who assists us at every moment of our daily lives here on this side of the eternal.

May each of us humble ourselves and open our hearts to His indwelling of Love and Divine Truth, together with the gifts with which He wishes to bless us, today and always!

May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you.

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “When you send forth your spirit, [all living things] are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:30)
  • “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
  • “To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
  • “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13a)
  • “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)
  • “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit…” (John 15:5abc)
  • “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth…” (John 14:16-17a)
  • “…the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)
  • “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” (John 14:26)
  • “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a)
  • “…the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5)

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Prayer for the Day

“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Truth and of Light,
Dwell ever in my soul by Your Divine grace.
May Your breath dissipate the darkness,
And in this light may good deeds be multiplied.

“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Love and of Mercy,
Who pour the balm of trust into my heart,
Your grace confirms my soul in good,
Giving it the invincible power of constancy.

“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Peace and of Joy,
You invigorate my thirsting heart
And pour into it the living fountain of God’s Love,
Making it intrepid for battle.

“O Divine Spirit, my soul’s most welcome Guest,
For my part, I want to remain faithful to You;
Both in days of joy and in the agony of suffering,
I want always, O Spirit of God, to live in Your Presence.

“O Divine Spirit, who pervade my whole being
And give me to know Your Divine Triune Life,
And lead me into the mystery of Your Divine Being,
Initiating me into Your Divine Essence,
Thus, united to You, I will live a life without end.” Amen.

Saint Maria Faustina (Diary, 1411)

DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, § 1731)

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“Lord Jesus Christ, You who are the King of Glory, on a most profound journey of Love, You came down from Your Divine Throne and assumed our frail human nature; and after Your Resurrection, You glorified it in Heaven when You ascended to Your Father and ours, and are now seated at His right hand in glory for all eternity;

– as we look forward to our own bodily ascension one day, may we always embrace and live the faith with which Your Spirit has filled our hearts, so that, through Your grace, we may be found worthy to become co-heirs with You and give glory and thanksgiving for all the wonders which await Your faithful children. We shall always and humbly pray this request in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”

Mercy Minutes with Jesus (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

May 29 ~ Present in Its Fullness

Theme:  Eucharist

“When I steeped myself in prayer, I was transported in spirit to the chapel, where I saw the Lord Jesus, exposed in the monstrance. In place of the Monstrance, I saw the glorious face of the Lord, and He said to me, ‘What you see in reality, these souls see through faith. Oh, how pleasing to Me is their great faith! You see, although there appears to be no trace of life in Me, in reality it is present in its fullness in each and every Host. But for Me to be able to act upon a soul, the soul must have faith. O how pleasing to Me is living faith!’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1420)

My prayer response:

Jesus, I do believe, but increase my faith that I may please You even more in each reception of Holy Communion. May I see with the eyes of faith that You are truly present – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – in each Holy Eucharist. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

May 29 ~ Strive for the Love of God

Theme:  Love

“As long as we live, the love of God grows in us. Until we die, we ought to strive for the love of God.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 1191)

“My Jesus, penetrate me through and through so that I might be able to reflect You in my whole life. Divinize me so that my deeds may have supernatural value. Grant that I may have love, compassion and mercy for every soul without exception.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 1242)

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

Meditation for the Day

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, May 29

May We Always Embrace and Live the Faith with Which God Has Filled Our Hearts, So That We Will Find Ourselves Rising One Day in the Wonder and Awe of Our Own Ascension into His Heavenly Kingdom.

“Then [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.”

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven, an event which occurred, as Scripture tells us, forty days after His Resurrection. And our Lord’s Ascension should give each of us pause to reflect upon our own mortality, and what awaits us after our last breath and our final heartbeat in this life.

I am sure that each one of us, who is old enough, has experienced a personal death, be it a grandparent or parent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, spouse or child. Physical death is a reality of life, and not one of us can ever escape its ultimate hold which it has upon us.

How we deal with death, and what comes after it, is fairly well determined by our faith, and how central our faith has become in the way we live our lives. Christianity teaches us that there is a Heaven and a Hell. The Church teaches us that our eternity is determined by how we live this life of faith which we profess, and the willing observance of God’s Commandments and the Precepts of His Church.

In our Readings for today, we are given a glimpse of what becomes our own possibility, for we are witnesses to the bodily Ascension of our Savior into His Heavenly Kingdom.

In our First Reading, we find Jesus, just prior to ascending to His Father, telling His Apostles to wait in Jerusalem for their Baptism by the Holy Spirit – “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak…”

The Ascension marks the end of Jesus’ physical time here on Earth among His disciples, and the time of the Holy Spirit and the beginnings of Christ’s Church is about to commence.

And in our Gospel today from the Book of Luke, who is also the author of our First Reading, we hear our Lord reminding His disciples of the coming of the promised Paraclete, “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.”

And the Gospel tells us that the disciples “…returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.”

What a magnificent scene this must have been – seeing our Lord lifted up in all His Glory to be seated at the right hand of His Father and ours!

Today, we celebrate this faith which we hold so dear to our hearts – that, one day, we too shall be lifted up from this vale of tears, so that we may also be in union with the Most Blessed Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – together with our Blessed Mother and all the holy saints whom we honor each day!

What an awesome wonder the angels in Heaven must enjoy! What an awesome privilege for all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, including our loved ones who have left this life in God’s eternal friendship, for they have been gifted with standing next to the angelic hosts – being able to behold and forever enjoy the Beatific Vision, the Holy Wonder of God Himself!

One of the early Fathers of our Church, Saint Cyprian, put it this way in his letter to the Ephesians, “How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God…to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of Heaven with the righteous and God’s friends!”

And this is the faith we live, the Creed which we profess when we pray “We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.”

But we also know that this is a gift given to those who LIVE the life of faith which we profess. It is one thing to say we are Christian; it is something entirely different to BE Christian.

Faith is a gift freely given by God to those He wills, and living that faith in a culture which tends to disparage and belittle what we believe oftentimes requires courage. Living our faith also requires a willingness on our part to open our hearts to what God is asking of us, and also to be willing to accept the ridicule and persecution we may face in a world which is becoming more and more hostile to Christianity.

In all that our Lord taught, He showed us that the way to true happiness lies in living and being caught up in His Love. This means placing God first in our lives, and accepting whatever trials may come our way as blessings! For it is these crosses which we bear from time to time which help make us a better people, a holier people, a people purified and pleasing in the sight of Almighty God.

Remember, Jesus once said “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” It is in this free will acceptance of all that our Lord has taught us, and is now asking of us, which helps us in our growing relationship with our Creator and Savior.

For God’s faithful, it becomes an interior desire to be a more virtuous, a more loving and holier people which enables us to be a truly happier people, a people who are at peace within the embrace of God’s Eternal Love.

At the end of each day, it is most fitting that we make an examination of conscience, asking ourselves if we have said and done everything out of love freely given – that we have observed all that the Spirit of Truth has taught us through the Sacred Scriptures and His Holy Church.

And after we have taken stock of our day’s activities, if we find we have come up short in some way by something we thought, said or did, or something we failed to do, then we need to ask God’s forgiveness and make a firm resolve, a firm purpose of amendment to do better tomorrow.

For this brings to mind an expression which I am sure many of us have heard and about which I have written in others meditations, “Tomorrow morning is never promised.” For each one of us knows that the day will come, like “a thief in the night”, when we will have no more tomorrows, and we must stand accountable for the life we have lived in thought, word and deed.

It is God’s desire to lose no one. It is His desire that we always place Him first in our hearts. And yet, there will be those days in which we will feel out of sorts and we will feel that God is far from us – days in which we shall feel overcome with anxiety, sadness, depression – even, what I sometimes refer to as, waves of grief – and none of us are exempt from these feelings!

But it is at these times when each of us feels at our lowest, when the circumstances of life seem to overwhelm us, when we need to reach out to God remembering the words of Saint Paul which we read today, “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.”

In other words, what marvelous glory awaits each of us when we remember – even in the midst of our individual sadnesses, in the midst of our trials and tribulations in this valley of tears – to reach out to the Divine Love who wishes to console us in this life, and who will, one day in His unfathomable Mercy, embrace us for all eternity!

Our Lord’s last words to His Apostles in Matthew’s Gospel were, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Let us always, in good days and bad, embrace and live the faith with which God has filled our hearts. And then we, too, when it is our time to be called, will find ourselves rising through the Power, Love and Mercy of Jesus Christ. We will find ourselves rising in the wonder and awe of our own ascension into His Most Loving Embrace, and into His Heavenly and Eternal Kingdom!

May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you.

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.’(Mark 16:15-16)
  • (Luke 24:49)
  • “Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.” (Luke 24:50-53)
  • “…as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
  • “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
  • “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
  • “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
  • “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24b)
  • “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19a)
  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
  • “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

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“God our Father,
make us joyful in the Ascension of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
May we follow Him into the new creation,
for His Ascension is our glory and our hope.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

cf. Solemnity of the Ascension (Roman Breviary)

DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, § 1731)

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“Heavenly and Eternal Father, You who are my Most Loving Creator, please help me to open my heart and recognize the profoundness of Your indescribable Love for me and Your desire to hold me in Your loving arms forever;

– please fill me interiorly with an insatiable zeal for Your House – a burning thirst, a hunger which only You can satisfy in my heart and soul through Your Merciful Love, so that I may be one with You for all eternity. I humbly pray this in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”