Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Preparing for Pentecost

I would like to give you some “points,” just as a retreat director would do during a retreat. You see, Sunday is the feast, at last, of the Holy Spirit that we have heard Jesus promise for weeks.

If you would like to, pray from the following points, asking to be introduced to the Holy Spirit. Use as much as you want for prayer and disregard the rest.



To start, remember you will be praying in the presence of God, the one who watches over you and loves you by name. So sit quietly, with as much patience as you have available.

Ask yourself, “What does the Holy Spirit mean to me?” To some people it is the one who causes them to be “slain in the Spirit.” Others know it as somehow connected with the Trinity. Many have no idea.

—p a u s e   h e r e—

Point One:

In the Gospel [the “B” selection*], Jesus says that the Father is going to send “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit” to us, in his name. The English word advocate is derived from the Latin ad plus voco, and it means “to speak for.” The Holy Spirit speaks for us, on our behalf. This is only one translation of the Greek word, which is also rendered as “Paraclete,” “intercessor,” “teacher,” “helper,” and “comforter.” All these English words refer to someone who is called upon to aid another person and to defend them.

So begin your prayer knowing that the Holy Spirit does this. This scripture quote says so:

  “The Spirit helps us in our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us
with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26).

Ponder what it is like for the Holy Spirit of God to pray within you. Consider what it is like for the Spirit to comfort you and help you when you call out.

—p a u s e   a n d   p r a y—

Point Two:

Imagine being part of the story in the First Reading. You are gathered with the disciples in a house. Suddenly a huge noise “like a strong driving wind” drowns everything out. Something like a flame appears and hovers in the air. It splits into many flame-like presences, which hover over each person in the room.

Then picture yourself preaching to the people, who have 15 different languages represented among them. But they all understand. Pray about it.

—p r a y   q u i e t l y—

Point Three:

There is an immensely comforting statement by Jesus in the Gospel [B].

Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him
and make our dwelling with him.
(Women, please substitute “her.”)

 Take time with each line. (Remember that “keeping Jesus’ word” means loving one another, not just keeping the law.) Consider the Father’s love for you. Let down your guard for a moment or two in order to be a home for Jesus and his Father. Let the Holy Spirit pray inside you.

—p a u s e—

Go as long as you want. Then call out to God to say where your heart is. Maybe God will give you a sense of who the Holy Spirit is in your personal daily life, in your progress from day to day!

John Foley, S. J.


*Note: we are given two texts to choose from for the Second Reading, and two for the Gospel. Since, together with the one First Reading, this makes five possibilities, I cannot know which ones your parish will choose. So I will take my references from any of the five, and designate the readings with the letters A and B in each case.


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