The Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit is a powerful plea for the light, strength and love that we all need!
We can prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit by praying the Novena at home with our families or friends beginning on Friday, May 22 and ending Saturday, May 30, the Vigil of Pentecost.
(Photo of window in Baptistry of Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle)
Begin the Novena on Friday, May 22
In the New Testament, we learn that during the period between the Ascension, which we celebrate this year on Sunday, May 31, and Pentecost Sunday, “all … joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts 1: 14) while they awaited being “clothed with the power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) We, too, can prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit by praying the Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit in our own homes and with our own families beginning on Friday, May 22 and concluding on Saturday, May 30, the Vigil of Pentecost. In this prayer, we ask for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, piety, fortitude and fear of the Lord). It is a powerful plea for the light, strength and love that we all need!
The Novena begins on the day after the Solemnity of the Ascension, Friday of the 6th Week of Easter, even if the Solemnity of the Ascension is transferred to the 7th Sunday of Easter as it is in the Archdiocese of Washington. Therefore, this year the novena begins on Friday, May 22.
Transformation by the Holy Spirit—A New Life!
In a commentary on the gospel of St. John, Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop, wrote the following on the subject of transformation by the Holy Spirit.
“It can easily be shown from examples both in the Old Testament and the New that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell; he so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life. Saul was told by the prophet Samuel: ‘The Spirit of the Lord will take possession of you, and you shall be changed into another man.’ Saint Paul writes: ‘As we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, that glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us all into his own likeness, from one degree of glory to another.’
Does this not show that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell and alters the whole pattern of their lives? With the Spirit within them it is quite natural for people who had been absorbed by the things of this world to become entirely other-worldly in outlook, and for cowards to become men of great courage. There can be no doubt that this is what happened to the disciples. The strength they received from the Spirit enabled them to hold firmly to the love of Christ, facing the violence of their persecutors unafraid. Very true, then, was our Saviour’s saying that it was to their advantage for him to return to heaven: his return was the time appointed for the descent of the Holy Spirit.”