Our work is to open ourselves as fully as possible.
Pentecost Novena, Day 2
Come, O Holy Spirit: enlighten my understanding in order that to know your commands; strengthen my heart against the snares of the enemy; enkindle my will … I have heard your voice, and I don’t want to harden my heart and resist, saying “later … tomorrow.” Nunc coepi! Now! Lest there be no tomorrow for me! O, Spirit of truth and wisdom, Spirit of understanding and counsel, Spirit of joy and peace! I want what you want, I want it because you want it, I want it as you want it, I want it when you want it.
On Day 1, we reflected that holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit. As spiritual writer Jacques Philippe points out, then, this means that “We do not have to become saints by our own power; we have to learn how to let God make us into saints.”
Therefore, the work that we must put into our sanctification is not the effort to change ourselves, as much as it is the effort “to open ourselves as fully as possible to his grace, which sanctifies us.”
Holy and divine Spirit! Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your Spouse, bring the fullness of your gifts into our hearts. Comforted and strengthened by you, may we live according to your will and may we die praising your infinite mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
According to St. Luke, Jesus ascended into heaven after “appearing to [the apostles] during forty days” (Acts 1:3) after his Resurrection. This means that the time between Jesus’ ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is nine days (not including the day of Jesus’ ascension). Many Christians through the ages have seen these nine days of prayer as a model, and thus developed devotions that consist of nine days (or months, or even hours) of prayer for a specific intention or to a particular saint. This number was seen as divinely inspired and so “novenas” (from the Latin word, novem, meaning “nine”), were viewed as a uniquely powerful way to pray.