Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17TH Lk. 12:8-12 Do not worry about how or what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you, at that moment what you are to say.
Today, let us open our mind and heart to the Holy Spirit, the Sweet Guest of our soul! Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Mary prayed the Magnificat! Let us make this pray our own, praying it slowly and fervently, pondering the words and applying them to our life as Scripture tells us Mary did.
My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
BE OPEN TO THE INSPIRATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
At the end of Saint Thomas Aquinas’ rather short but extremely holy life, Jesus spoke to him from the cross. He said Thomas had written well and asked what gift he would like to receive? The brilliant Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, responded: “Lord, I beg you for the grace to love you more and more!”
THE INTERIOR MASTER OF THE SOUL.
Among the many titles given to the Holy Spirit is The Interior Master. The Holy Spirit teaches us to pray and teaches us the importance of growing in the love of God, which is the greatest of all virtues. In this short essay we will present some inspirations that the Holy Spirit sends to us and how important it is for us to be open, to recognize, to accept, to receive, and to follow these inspirations. Our growth in holiness, our sanctification, our daily conversion depends in great measure on being attentive and docile to the Holy Spirit’s heavenly inspirations. Let us beg Mary, who is the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit, to help us to be more docile to His heavenly inspirations. Let us pray: “Come, Holy Spirit, come through the Heart of Mary!!!”
If you take your spiritual life seriously, which you really should, it has definitely happened that you felt a little nudge, a thought, an interior movement to open your heart to prayer. This would be a typical manifestation of an inspiration coming from the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, most of the time you correspond to the inspiration and pray!!!
Then once you get down to the nitty-gritty time allotted for your prayer, sometimes you will find yourself struggling. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states clearly and unequivocally that prayer is a battle at times. Such is the truth of this that the Catechism of the Catholic Church takes as an image with respect to the battle of prayer, the person of Jacob wrestling the whole night with an angel and he will not relinquish his hold on the angel until the angel gives him a blessing. Prayer at times can be a real struggle. However, we should never lose heart because the Holy Spirit will come to our help in this struggle. Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans expresses the battle of prayer in these words: “We do not know how to pray as we ought. But the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with ineffable groans so that we can say Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:26) Indeed we have a most powerful intercessor to perfect our prayer life—the Holy Spirit of God!
3. LENGTHY PRAYER EXPERIENCE—RETREAT.
Many have experienced this truth—the power of lengthy prayer experiences called Retreats. I have given Retreats for decades now. As a priest, I have noticed lives radically transformed by people making these Retreats, especially Ignatian Retreats. Upon starting one of these Retreats, I frequently mention the fact that I am not the Principle Retreat Master. Rather, it is the Holy Spirit who is the Principle Guide and Director of the Retreat! By placing the Retreat under His Heavenly Guidance, the Retreat is always a resounding success!
4. PRAYER, PENANCE, POWER, PERSEVERANCE, PEACE OF SOUL.
The Holy Spirit and His Heavenly inspirations revolve often around the Five P’s! These are the following: Prayer, Penance, Power, Perseverance, and Peace of Soul. As mentioned above, the Holy Spirit often inspires us to open our heart to prayer, but also to the practice of penance, mortification, self-denial. If done, then our lives have more Power, as we witness in the Acts of the Apostles. That being said, the virtue of Perseverance is indispensable. Many start the spiritual long-distance race or marathon, but not all cross the finish-line. It is the Holy Spirit who inspires us to hang in there, especially in difficult times, and persevere until the end. Jesus expressed this clearly: “Those who persevere until the end will be saved.” (Mt. 24:13) If done, then the Holy Spirit blesses us with His fruits, as Saint Thomas Aquinas explains, an interior sweetness in the soul. And one of these fruits is that of PEACE!
5. CHALLENGES US IN OUR WEARINESS.
In the small spiritual masterpiece by the modern Author, Jacques Phillipe, “In the School of the Holy Spirit”, the author mentions an experience he had after returning from giving a retreat. As retreat-masters, we all know how exhausting retreats can be. But upon returning home, the author had an inspiration from the Holy Spirit to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, in spite of his weariness. Now if he were to have resisted this inspiration, most likely it would have been more difficult to fall asleep. However, upon recognizing this inspiration and following it, a good night’s rest followed and a spirit well-disposed to tackle the problems of the next day. In other words, the Holy Spirit, if we are open to His Heavenly inspirations, will challenge us to walk the extra mile and conquer our tendency to succumb to sloth.
6. TO SPEAK UP AND DEFEND THE TRUTH.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit work extremely quickly; the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity with less alacrity! Jesus warned His disciples, and that is also you and me, when put to the test, we should not worry or even prepare for our defense because it is the Holy Spirit who will be working through us. Read the Acts of the Apostles and you come to the quick conclusion that these uneducated men, open to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, became both eloquent and persuasive, as well as willing to suffer anything for the sake of the Truth and to defend their love for the Person of Jesus the Lord. Saint Peter expressed boldly and unequivocally: “Better for us to obey God, rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) Another powerful and noteworthy example of courage to speak the truth in persecution is the person of Saint Joan of Arc. (Read Joan of Arc by Mark Twain, Ignatius Press.) The inquisition tried to trick her in her speech with the insidious question: “Are you in the state of grace?” Her response, inspired by the Holy Spirit: “If I am, thanks be to God; if I am not, may God place me there.” The most learned and brilliant theologian could not have answered with greater clarity, conviction and precision!!!
7. TO FORGIVE SERIOUS OFFENSES.
In our fallen human nature, it is near to impossible for us to forgive and be merciful towards those who have seriously hurt us. The inner law in many of us is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” In other words, the law of revenge! It is the Holy Spirit who both inspires and teaches us to be merciful, to forgive, to pray for our persecutors, and even to love them. Saint Stephen prayed for Saul. And Saul was converted into the fiery Apostle, Saint Paul. The Proto-martyr, Saint Stephen is an excellent example of a heart open to the Holy Spirit granting him the grace to practice mercy by forgiving, praying for, and even loving those who not only persecuted him, but actually stoned him to death, with Saul (soon to be Paul) looking on in approval. Now in heaven, side by side are two great friends—Saint Stephen and Saint Paul! (Read Acts of the Apostles Chapter 7)
8. RECOGNIZING THE DIVINE PRESENCE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Due to Original Sin, we all suffer, at least to some degree, from spiritual-blindness. The worst scenario is when we do not admit our blindness, and consequently make no effort to conquer this deplorable condition. A most powerful example of being open to the Holy Spirit is the recognition of the Son of God—of Jesus in the arms of Mary, by the Prophet Simeon that we encounter in the 4th Joyful Mystery, the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Lk. 2:22-38) Three times in this passage do we see Simeon under the influence of the Holy Spirit! “The Holy Spirit was upon him.” (Lk. 2:25) Then, “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not taste death until he had seen the Messiah of the Lord.” (Lk. 2:26) Finally, “He came in the Spirit into the temple. (Lk. 2:27) How fascinating! In these three consecutive verses, the Prophet Simeon had this direct contact and influence of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, this patient, holy, and elderly man is a true model for all of us to be open at all times to the presence and the inspirations of the Holy Spirit! Indeed, the Holy Spirit is always ready to speak to us, to inspire us, to motivate us, and to use as His instruments, but unfortunately we put up barriers of resistance. Let us tear down those barriers right now!!!
9. THE HOLY SPIRIT: OUR CONSCIENCE AND OUR CONFESSION; OUR CONSOLATION AND COMFORT—COME, HOLY SPIRIT.
Another powerful and all-important passage in Scripture is the passage of the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation that first Easter Sunday night. Hidden in the Upper Room or Cenacle, the Apostles experienced an encounter with Jesus and the Holy Spirit that would transform their lives. In His glorified body, Jesus passed through the wall and greeted them: “Shalom”… “Peace be with you.” Then He said, “‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ Then Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you forgive, shall be forgiven; whose sins you bind, shall be bound.” (Jn. 20:21-23) In this precise passage Jesus was giving to the Apostles, Bishops, and priests the power from the Holy Spirit to forgive sins in His name! This being the case, the Holy Spirit enlightens our conscience to see our sins; the Holy Spirit motivates us to confess these sins to Jesus through the priest. As a result and fruit of this admission and confession of our sins which culminates in absolution, we experience great consolation and comfort from the Holy Spirit! In other words, the Holy Spirit wants to purify our heart, mind, soul, and conscience of all our sins so that we can contemplate the glory of God. Jesus reminds us: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” (Mt 5:8)
10. THE HOLY SPIRIT AND MARY—HIS MYSTICAL SPOUSE.
Our Lady is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and she is the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Actually, the Church was born on the Feast of Pentecost. After nine days and nine nights of fervent prayer, the Apostles united with the Blessed Virgin Mary experienced a radical experience that changed their lives. The Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in tongues of fire. (Acts 2:1-13) It was the Blessed Virgin Mary who facilitated the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on this Birthday of the Church! It is for this reason that the great Marian Saint, Saint Louis de Montfort exclaimed: “Those who love Mary, the Holy Spirit flings Himself into that soul.” (True Devotion to Mary, Saint Louis de Montfort)
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA