…stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.
The Ascension of the Lord
Our Easter Season is vanishing from sight as Our Lord ascends into heaven and we prepare for Pentecost. Imagine the disciples who had lost Jesus once at Calvary and now again at Bethany, one would think they would have been distraught or disillusioned and scattered. But no; after a brief exhortation from two angels, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven”, they return to the city ‘with great joy’! (Acts 1:11) How is this possible? The experience of the resurrected Christ and His promises must have given them confidence when he said, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20) And He is with us, as is evident from our own experience of the Risen Christ. Have not our hearts burned within us during this Easter Season? Has not Christ walked in our midst? I’ve seen many graces here at St. Stephens and I hope you have been able to receive them. As we prepare for Pentecost, let us pray for the Holy Spirit to come upon us, to remain with us, and to make us faithful to the Gospel.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.
Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.
This would be a good prayer to say in preparation for Pentecost. The traditional novena to the Holy Spirit would begin on May 14th and continue nine days. If you are getting a late start, don’t despair, the Lord will hear your prayers. Other novenas are available at: http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/pentecost/seven.htm.
Follow the Cross
It is disturbing to me and many others how many people leave Mass both after Communion and immediately after the final blessing. I ask you to wait for the processional cross to pass by. If you rush ahead of Jesus on the way out of Mass, than you may face the same difficulties of the Israelites who wanted to fight their enemies whether the Lord was with them or not. They were slaughtered for not putting God first. Waiting for the cross is also a sign of communion with the rest of the assembly. It is a waiting for the presence of Christ in all of us in addition
to the priest. As Saint Paul said in relation to the Body of Christ, “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you, “nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.” We need each other. Rushing out of Mass offends the integrity of the Body of Christ.
No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.
We do not consume the Eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.
- St. Justin Martyr, 150 AD
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