And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. - Mt 28:20
He is with us, now in a risen form, but with us. Emmanuel, as we learn at Christmas, means “God with us.” It is a name given to Jesus that He promises to fulfill in our lives no matter what we are going through. He also promises “another Advocate” to be with us, namely, the Holy Spirit. We pray for this gift during this coming week in preparation for Pentecost. While the formal novena began on Friday, June 3rd, it is never too late to start. As I printed in last week’s bulletin, I reprint the novena prayer here, for your convenience and the good of our parish:
Come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. 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.
What if we were to truly pray and fast for nine days as a parish? We’ll be including this prayer at all the Masses during this novena. But could you pray in addition to this for the sanctification of our parish? ‘To be holy’; this should be the goal of every Catholic. This does not mean to be so occupied with heavenly things that one is ‘no earthly good’. No, to be holy makes one more human, just as Jesus was ‘fully human’.
We need the Holy Spirit for this transformation to happen. That is the promise of Our Lord if we keep His commandments. Is there some way to keep His commandments this week in a brand new way? Or is there some practice that you had in the past that would be helpful to return to as a sacrifice for our parish? We have the opportunity to be a little heaven on earth here at St. Stephen the Martyr. All the necessary ingredients, supplied by God, can be found in a parish, but we need to cooperate with God.
Sometimes I think that adding just ten minutes a day of some worthy prayer, scripture reading, or charitable act is enough to make one a saint. Consider it; what if every Catholic studied their faith for ten minutes a day? That’s one billion Catholics. Our world would be revolutionized with peace and justice and the word of truth. Let it rain down from the heavens, even as it arises from the earth. Imagine what God actually desires from humanity beginning with each one of us individually. I believe He desires that His goodness reign upon earth, so that all may know His love. Please pray with me these coming days for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our parish and our world.
Seminarian Cliff Macaraeg
Please welcome Cliff Macaraeg, a seminarian of the Archdiocese of Seattle who just finished his first year of Pre-Theology. This means he has been studying Philosophy and some other foundations for Theology. He is from nearby Holy Family in White Center and brings a wonderful love for apologetics (defending and explaining our faith). Hopefully you will have a chance to meet him and learn more about his vocation and journey. Please pray for him as well, as he spends his summer with us. It is a privilege to host him and a sign of confidence from the Archdiocese that we are a welcoming parish and good soil for forming future priests.
Praying for Bin Laden?
A parish in the south was in an uproar over whether or not to pray for the repose of the soul of Osama Bin Laden. The simple legal answer is that one is neither obligated to nor restricted from praying for him. My own preference is to pray for all souls, regardless of their actions in this life. That is not to say anyone deserves heaven or doesn’t deserve hell. I include here a statement from the Holy See Press Office:
Osama Bin Laden, as is known, claimed responsibility for grave acts that spread division and hate among the peoples, manipulating religion to that end. A Christian never takes pleasure from the fact of a man’s death, but sees it as an opportunity to reflect on each person’s responsibility, before God and humanity; and to hope and commit oneself to seeing that no event becomes another occasion to disseminate hate, but rather to foster peace.
Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to come and spread the fire of God’s love throughout humanity.
- ▼ June (5)