How you and your family can celebrate the fact that the Holy Spirit is with us.
We prepare for Christmas by celebrating the four weeks of waiting known as Advent, and prepare for Easter by undergoing our own 40-day journey into the desert of Lent. The joyous feast time of Easter should be its own form of both Lent (penance/preparation) and Advent (joyful waiting), as we approach the feast of the day our Church began its mission, Pentecost.
It’s probably not realistic to hunker down in an Upper Room like Mary and the Apostles did and wait for the Holy Spirit. But this time of preparation should remind us of the first feast of Pentecost and also lead us to celebrate the fact that the Holy Spirit is already with us, all of us, always.
The annual celebration of this holy day should be an opportunity to begin or renew our commitment to the mission we’ve been given as God’s children.
How? Here are seven ways to prepare your own heart for the feast of Pentecost, and grow more aware of the work of the Spirit in your life and in the world.
1. Find out your Confirmation date. Pope Francis encourages us to discover our Baptism date and celebrate this moment in time when we became part of Christ’s church and were freed from original sin. In the same way, shouldn’t we celebrate the day we chose to embrace our faith of our own free will, and to be commissioned and sent out to tell everyone the good news? The sacrament of Confirmation is a one-time event, with lifetime effects. Read up on the saint you chose as your patron. Reach out and pray with your Confirmation sponsor if he or she is available, or if not, pray for them, and try to make it to mass or adoration on the date. Tell the Holy Spirit “thank you,” for coming to you as Gift and Advocate.
Do you know the date of your Baptism?
2. Refamiliarize yourself with the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, piety (reverence), knowledge, counsel (right judgment), fortitude (courage), and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you sift through your own charisms and gifts, and for guidance on what God’s will is for you in building up the body of Christ.
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through an examination of conscience and prepare yourself to receive the sacrament of Penance. The further we are from sin, the closer we are to each person of the Trinity.
Confession with Pope Francis: The 3-step outline for doing an Examination of Conscience
4. Realize that you are participating in the Church’s oldest novena, the Novena to the Holy Spirit. To promote and encourage devotion to the third person of the Trinity, the Church offers indulgences connected with this devotion.
5. Help renew the face of the earth. We are the body of Christ, and each of us is a vessel of the Holy Spirit. When the Apostles received the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost, they went out and spoke about their faith, about the man they loved and knew to be the Christ. They no longer feared proclaiming their beliefs. They shared what they had, what they knew, with everyone they encountered. Go out and share your faith with someone. Invite someone back. Be not afraid to speak.
6. Gladden the Holy Spirit. Spend some time serving God by serving others. Perform either corporal or spiritual works of mercy in your home and/or community. Pray a prayer to the Holy Spirit.
7. Spend some time thanking the Trinity. One of the easiest ways to do this is by taking up your rosary and simply saying, “Thank you, God the Father” on all of the beads. Then, “Thank you, Jesus Christ, the Son” all the way around the rosary, and finally, “Thank you, Holy Spirit” through all of the beads. Do this as part of Adoration if possible. It is hard not to feel overwhelmed with gratitude by the time you finish the exercise.
Have a great Feast of Pentecost!