Seventh Week of Easter

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Table of Contents

(In many dioceses, the Solemnity of the Ascension is celebrated today.  If you celebrate the Ascension in your diocese today, see the reflection from the previous Thursday.)

Offering the Holy Mass with Jesus

Seventh Sunday of Easter (When the Ascension was celebrated Thursday—Year A)

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.” John 17:1–2

This passage comes at the conclusion of the Last Supper and at the end of a lengthy discourse by our Lord. During the three previous chapters of John’s Gospel, Jesus taught His disciples that He will bestow His peace upon them by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that they must remain united to Him as a branch is attached to a vine and that the world will hate them and persecute them. After those instructions, Jesus raised His eyes to Heaven and prayed a lengthy prayer to the Father. It is His High Priestly Prayer by which Jesus acknowledged that His hour had arrived and that it is an hour in which He will glorify the Father. In this prayer, Jesus asks his Father for the disciples to be kept safe from the evils of the world. He also prays for all who would believe in Him and become His followers. Thus, in this prayer Jesus prayed for you.

Spiritually speaking, this High Priestly Prayer continues today through the celebration of the Holy Mass. Recall that Jesus had just celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples and was preparing to offer His life on the Cross for the salvation of the world. Within this holy context, Jesus prays this prayer. It is a prayer that is perpetuated by our Lord every time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist.

In commenting upon this passage, Saint Augustine notes that this prayer is prayed immediately after Jesus told His disciples that they would encounter trouble within the world. “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” For that reason, Jesus set an example for us on how we are to deal with the troubles we encounter in life. We, too, must turn our eyes to Heaven and pray to the Father. The best way to do so is by our full interior participation in the Holy Mass.

What form of “trouble” do you experience right now in your life? There are many things that fall into that category and are different for each person. As you call your struggle to mind, try to imagine our Lord kneeling next to you, praying this prayer to the Father for you. In reality, this is exactly what Jesus does every time we participate in the Holy Mass. The Mass is His “hour.” It is His perfect offering to the Father. It is the one and only source of all grace in our world and in our lives. It is Jesus glorifying the Father and inviting us to share in that glorification by uniting ourselves and our troubles to Him in His offering. It is through this perfect Sacrifice that Jesus bestows “eternal life” upon you and all who turn to Him in their need.

Reflect, today, upon the way in which you celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When you attend, do you find you become distracted or are inattentive to what takes place? The Mass is your hour each week in which you kneel next to Jesus as He kneels next to you, praying to the Father in Heaven. The power of the Mass is infinite. Within the Mass all the grace you need is given to you, and you are invited to share in the glory of the Son of God. Ponder your participation in the Mass and renew your commitment to pray it with our Lord with the same depth of prayer Jesus had at that first and perpetual offering.

My Eucharistic Lord, in union with You I offer to the Father in Heaven Your Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity for the salvation of the world. Help me to do so with my whole heart and to be attentive to the offering of Your life as it is perpetuated through the Holy Mass. May I bring my life, my troubles and my whole being to every celebration of the Mass so that I may receive from You the gift of eternal life. Jesus, I trust in You.

(In many dioceses, the Solemnity of the Ascension is celebrated today.  If you celebrate the Ascension in your diocese today, see the reflection from the previous Thursday.)

Consecrated in the Truth

Seventh Sunday of Easter (When the Ascension was celebrated Thursday—Year B)

“Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” John 17:17–19

What does it mean to “consecrate” something or someone? Consecration is, of course, a very familiar term within our faith. We speak of the bread and wine being consecrated and becoming the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus our Lord. The consecration of the mere earthly substances of bread and wine transform them into God Himself. Thus, “consecration” is a powerful word.

Another familiar use of this word is in reference to those women who have been called by God to enter religious life so as to dedicate themselves to God as spouses of Christ. They become “Consecrated Religious” through their solemn lifelong vows. They are dedicated, taken out of the world and presented to Christ in a unique way.

Among the laity, there are many who have consecrated themselves to our Blessed Mother, or to the Sacred Heart, or to our divine Lord through some other special form of devotion. In all of these cases, to “consecrate” is to dedicate, set aside and make holy. Another translation for the word “consecrate” above is “sanctify.” 

To “Sanctify them in the truth” is to make them holy by the truth. This is Jesus’ prayer in the above-quoted passage. This line comes from Jesus’ beautiful High Priestly Prayer in which He prays to the Father for His disciples and for all who will eventually become His disciples—and that includes you! Jesus’ prayer is not only effective as a prayer, it is also effective as a lesson on holiness. How do we become holy? Simple. We allow the Word of the Father to consecrate us in truth. In other words, we allow God’s holy Word to engage us, challenge us, change us, call us from sin, point us to Heaven and transform every aspect of our lives. God’s Word is the Truth, and we will become holy if we are transformed by this Truth.

In what ways do you need the Truth, spoken by the Father in Heaven, to engage you? What are the truths of our faith that you especially need to know, accept, profess and believe? One of the best ways to answer this question is to commit yourself to an in-depth, prayerful reading of the Word of God. By prayerfully reading the Scriptures, you will open yourself to all that God wants to reveal to you. And as the voice of God speaks to you through His Word, you will be invited to change. His Word will combat the confusion and lies of the world and the evil one and set you upon the path to holiness, to true sanctity and interior consecration.

Reflect, today, upon the transforming power of the Word of God. Reflect upon how fully you have allowed His Word to speak to you, call you out of the world, set you apart for holiness and direct you toward Himself. Engaging the Word of God must become your daily spiritual food, and it must paint for you the picture of your glorious life to which you are called. 

My Jesus, Word of the Father, You are Truth Itself. You are the Living Word Who has come to set us free. Give me the grace I need to listen to Your holy voice so that Your Truth will engage me in the depths of my soul, transforming me into the person You have called me to be. I open myself to You, dear Lord, and to all You wish to say to me. Jesus, I trust in You.

(In many dioceses, the Solemnity of the Ascension is celebrated today.  If you celebrate the Ascension in your diocese today, see the reflection from the previous Thursday.)

Unity and Perfection in Christ

Seventh Sunday of Easter (When the Ascension was celebrated Thursday—Year C)

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “Holy Father, I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one…” John 17:20–22

What an amazing prayer! Don’t miss the meaning of this prayer. This is Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer that He prayed just before He was arrested. This prayer concludes the Last Supper at which Jesus instituted the Most Holy Eucharist. It is truly His Eucharistic prayer that culminates in the offering of His life on the Cross. This prayer is not only a prayer; it is also a teaching about the life that we are invited to share in with our Lord.

Note that in the passage quoted above, Jesus prayed not only for the disciples “but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” In other words, Jesus was praying for you and for everyone who would hear and respond to the Gospel. And His prayer was that you share in the perfect union that Jesus shares with the Father. He prayed that all may be one in the same way that He and the Father are one. Again, this is an amazing prayer!

To begin, it is important to understand the concept of unity. Deep within each of us is a longing to be united to another. The draw to marriage, the love of a parent and child, the desire for friends and the bonding together as a community all point to this desire. We want unity. We want to be one. Unfortunately, our natural ability to form a holy union with others was deeply wounded by Original Sin. For that reason, the most central mission of the Son of God was not only to restore that which was lost but to transform it into something even greater. Now, because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we are not only able to live in peace with each other, we are also able to share in a new spiritual union with God Himself. This union goes to the heart and soul of who we are.

Look within you and try to discover the innate desire you have for communion with others. When properly understood, pondering this desire is very consoling and enticing. If you can separate selfishness, lust and possessiveness from the equation, you are left with a very holy desire for union with others. Try to discover this desire within.

As you discover this desire that God placed within you, learn from Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. Understand that this desire is only completely fulfilled by entering into the life and unity of the Most Holy Trinity. We are called to share in God’s very life. When that happens, we also share in a perfect and holy union with one another. In this life, a holy marriage is an earthly prefiguration of that union that is to come. In Heaven, the divine marriage to which we are called will enable us to fulfill every human desire we have.

Reflect, today, upon the draw you have within you to live in union with others. As you ponder this desire, know that it can only be fulfilled by accepting the invitation from the Most Holy Trinity to share in Their divine life. Prayerfully read Jesus’ prayer to the Father and know that He was praying this for you. Join with Him in this prayer and make it your own so that your every human desire will begin to be fulfilled in God.

Most Holy Trinity, You have invited me to share in Your glorious life. You invite me to share in the unity that You share. Please purify me of every selfish desire and fill me with a desire only for You. May this union with You perfectly fulfill me and enable me to obtain true unity with others. Jesus, I trust in You.

Peace? Or the World?

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:33

What did Jesus tell His disciples that produced the “peace” of which He spoke? He is especially referring to His entire Last Supper Discourse from which we have been reading. The words spoken throughout this discourse are meant to give the disciples, and us, “courage” and the ability to conquer the trouble imposed upon us by the world.

Throughout Jesus’ discourse, He especially points to the unity He has with His Father and the fact that if we stay united with Jesus, we will also be united to the Father. He spoke of Himself being the vine and us the branches who must remain firmly attached to Jesus. He spoke of this being possible only by the coming power of the Holy Spirit Whom He will send. And He spoke of the hatred that the world has for all who remain firmly grounded in the Truth. Therefore, if you are one who seeks to remain deeply rooted in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit and separated from the deceptions of the secular and un-Christian world, then Jesus is clearly speaking to you.

In this passage above, Jesus identifies one gift that will help us on this journey. This particular gift is the gift of His peace. Peace is the ability to remain calm and focused in the midst of any and every “trouble” we encounter. The trouble that Christians will especially face are the various persecutions of the world when we live in accord with the Truth. And though there are many moral truths presented clearly by our faith that the world attacks, there are also other forms of troubles we will encounter within the world today.

One of the most manifest troubles inflicted upon many by the world comes in the form of constant visual, auditory and mental stimulation. Our world is a noisy world. Modern electronics, the mass media, commercials, radio, Internet, social media and so many other parts of our daily life have the subtle effect of distracting us, stimulating us and stealing away the peace of Christ.

Consider, for example, the idea of entering into the silence of a retreat for a day, or two, or longer. How would you handle turning off your smartphone, tablet, computer, television and radio for an extended period of time? Would you go through a form of withdrawal? Many today would indeed find this difficult. And the reason for this is that the “peace” of which Jesus speaks is slowly dwindling in the lives of many. Instead of God’s peace, we are filled with constant noise, commotion and activity. This is the “world” attacking us and stealing the peace God wants to bestow.

Reflect, today, upon the exceptionally important truth—that Jesus wants you to know His peace in your heart. And He wants that peace to sustain you. Reflect upon the interior battle that may take place within you between the world and the peace of Christ. Who is winning that battle for your soul? Is there more of the world or more of the peace of Christ reigning within you? Seek out the peace that only Jesus gives, and, as you discover His peace, you will also discover the source of that peace: Jesus Himself.

Lord of all peace, You have called us out of the world so that Your peace will abide within us, sustaining us, giving us courage, wisdom and strength. I open my life to You, dear Lord, and pray that the many distractions and commotions imposed upon me by the world will begin to cease. May I always hear Your gentle voice and follow You to the place of silent repose found only in You. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Glory of God 

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

“I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.” John 17:4–5

Saint Ignatius of Loyola bases his spiritual masterpiece, The Spiritual Exercises, on one basic premise: Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. This is the essence of what Ignatius calls the “Principle and Foundation” of our lives. In other words, our goal in life is twofold: First, we must seek to give God the greatest glory possible by our lives. And second, the effect of this singular focus is the salvation of our souls.

In the Gospel passage quoted above, Jesus speaks of the fact that He perfectly fulfilled His human life on earth by glorifying the Father in Heaven. He did this by accomplishing the work that the Father gave Him to fulfill.

If you are looking for purpose in your life or if you are trying to discover the meaning of your life, then look no further. Jesus’ words above offer the ideal “principle and foundation” for your life. This message of our Lord could be broken down into three lessons.

First, the Father truly does have a plan for your life. Are you seeking to discover that plan? Knowing that there is a divine plan for your life is the first step in fulfilling it. If you do not know God’s plan, it will be difficult to fulfill it. So do you seek to discern this plan each and every day?

Secondly, when you do discern what God wants of you in your daily life, you must accomplish His will. Sometimes we fall into the trap of trying to fulfill only a portion of what God wants of us. The problem with that approach is that we may actually accomplish “a portion” of God’s will. But that’s not enough. We must aim for perfection. We must strive for the complete fulfillment of the will of God in our lives.

Thirdly, if we can truly accomplish the daily will of God for our lives, then our lives will not only glorify God in every way possible, but we will also be blessed to share in God’s glory. To share in God’s glory is to share in God’s very life. It means that God will be alive in us and we will become partakers of the joys of Heaven. And it will begin here on earth. Why would we settle for earthly “joys” and earthly pleasures when we are called to share in delights that are beyond what we could ever imagine in this world?

Reflect, today, upon Jesus’ act of perfectly fulfilling the will of the Father in His human nature. Even though our Lord was divine, He was also fully human. He, therefore, perfectly understands your human struggles and weaknesses. He knows what you go through, and His humanity is the model for you to follow in life. Reflect upon His human life and the way in which He lived in union with the will of His Father day in and day out. Commit yourself to this unwavering mission of fully accomplishing the will of the Father in your life and you, too, will share in the glory of our Lord.

My glorified Lord, You now share in the full joy and glory of Your Father in Heaven with Your human nature. By doing so, You invite me to not only imitate Your life on earth but to also share in that same glory in Heaven. Give me the grace I need, dear Lord, to accomplish all that the Father calls me to do. May my life fully imitate You in every way so that I may also share, one day, in Your glory. Jesus, I trust in You.

Rejecting the evil one

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

“I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.”  John 17:14–15

Unfortunately, the evil one is real. He is the highest of the fallen angels who retain their natural spiritual power given them at their creation. God created all angelic creatures with the purpose of serving His holy will. The Scripture reveals that there are nine levels or “choirs” to which these angelic creatures belong. Among the fallen angels, the highest of them directs the others, and he is traditionally given the name Lucifer or “the devil.”

One of the natural spiritual powers that these fallen angelic creatures retain is the power of influence and suggestive thought. They were created to be messengers of God’s truth to us; but, in their fallen state, they seek to communicate confusion and lies instead. Therefore, it is very helpful to understand the way the evil one and the other fallen angels communicate to us so that we can reject their lies and listen only to the voice of God.

In his rules for the discernment of spirits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola explains that when a person is going “from mortal sin to mortal sin,” the evil one and the other demons continually propose to their imagination the “apparent pleasures” and “sensual delights” that they obtain from their sin as a way of keeping them firmly controlled by that sin. However, when a person is “intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better,” the evil one and the other demons act in a contrary way. They will “bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on” in their pursuit of holiness. God and the good angels will act in the opposite way. For those immersed in sin, God and the good angels will use “the opposite method, pricking them and biting their consciences through the process of reason” so as to draw them away from sin. And when a person is, in fact, growing in holiness, God and the good angels will “give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing” (See

These spiritual lessons on the discernment of spirits are of great value and will assist you on your daily struggle with sin and your daily pursuit of holiness. Understanding the deceptions of the evil one and discerning the promptings of grace given by God bring clarity to our daily lives and direction to all of our actions. The good news that is revealed by the Scripture passage above is that our Lord is fully aware of the working of the evil one, has prayed for you and will assist you as you seek to combat these lies and deceptions in your life.

Reflect, today, upon the importance of learning how to discern both the voice of God and the lies of the evil one. Work to discern the voice of God so that you may follow Him more faithfully. And seek to discern the lies of the evil one so that you will not be influenced by him and can directly reject him. Commit yourself to a more rigorous discernment of these spiritual experiences in your life and allow this prayer of Jesus to direct you into His holy will.

My all-powerful Lord, You have conquered the evil one and provide all the grace I need to overcome his lies and deceptions. Open my mind to discern Your voice and give clarity to the voice of the evil one so that I may choose You with my whole heart and reject all that the evil one tries to say to me. Jesus, I trust in You.

Gestures of Love

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”  John 17:20–21

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been continually reading from Chapter 14–17 of John’s Gospel. These chapters contain Jesus’ Last Supper Discourses and provide us with Jesus’ last sermon, so to speak. Chapter 17, which we have been reading this past week, presents us with Jesus’ final prayer for His disciples and for all of us “who will believe” in Him through the preaching of the disciples. Each time we read from Chapter 17, the Lectionary begins the reading with the phrase “Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying…” That line is an adaptation of Chapter 17:1 but is used to introduce the various parts of the prayer of Jesus each time it is read at Mass.

It’s interesting that Jesus would look up to Heaven when He prayed. Of course, Heaven is not physically in the sky, because Heaven is a spiritual reality. The Father is not located in some place in the sky but is omnipresent, meaning, present all places and all times. And yet, Jesus raises His eyes upward when He prays to the Father. There is a great lesson in this.

Our physical disposition is important, at times. For example, when someone we owe respect to enters a room, we usually rise and greet them. It would be disrespectful to remain lounging on a bed or sofa in that case. And at Mass, we do not sit back with legs crossed during the Consecration; rather, we kneel in adoration. And when we greet someone for the first time, we do not look at the floor; rather, we look them in the eyes.

Jesus’ act of “Lifting his eyes to heaven” was not done because He thought He might see the Father in the sky; rather, it was done out of respect and love and as a way of acknowledging the dignity of the Father. This should teach us about our own bodily disposition and the message we communicate to others, especially to God in prayer.

When you pray, what do you do? Though you can pray at any time and while in any disposition, it is an excellent practice to speak to God not only by your words but also by the disposition you take. Kneeling, raising hands in prayer, falling prostrate before your Lord, sitting upright with attentiveness, etc., are all ways in which you communicate to God your love.

Reflect, today, upon this image of Jesus praying. Gaze at how attentive He would have been as He lifted His sacred eyes upward as a physical gesture honoring the glorious, all-powerful Father in Heaven. Try to imagine Jesus’ devotion, intensity, respect and burning love. Imitate this holy gesture of prayer and attentiveness to the Father and remind yourself of the importance of expressing your love in bodily form.

My most holy Father in Heaven, I do join Your Son, Jesus, in lifting my eyes, my heart and my whole life to You in honor, love and respect. May I always be attentive to You and always show You the devotion due Your greatness. My dear Jesus, thank You for Your love of the Father in Heaven. Give me the grace I need to imitate You and Your perfect love in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.

True Love

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

“Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.” John 21:18–19

On this, the third time that Jesus appeared to His disciples, Jesus enters into a threefold discourse with Peter. Each time that Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, Peter responds that he does. And Jesus responds back each time, “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” and “Feed my sheep.” The passage quoted above concludes Jesus’ discourse with Peter using very powerful language. Jesus tells Peter that when he grows old, “someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” This was Jesus’ way of saying to Peter that he would ultimately express his love of Jesus by dying for Him. As we know, tradition states that Peter was ultimately crucified. And at Peter’s request, he was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy of dying in the exact same way Jesus died.

As we consider this conversation between Jesus and Peter, it is clear that Jesus’ understanding of love is very different from the way many others understand it today. Jesus was not only telling Peter that he would die for Jesus, but Jesus was clearly offering His approval of this act of love Peter would one day offer. Most often when we love someone, we would do all we can to keep them from any such fate. In fact, when a loved one suffers, we often will do all we can to look for a way to relieve them of that suffering. So which approach is most loving?

Clearly, Jesus sees suffering differently than most of us. For Jesus, suffering is not opposed to love when the suffering is freely embraced for a higher purpose. Suffering in and of itself is of no value. But when suffering is embraced sacrificially out of love for another, it is able to take on tremendous power. And when Jesus offered His clear support to Peter who would one day die out of love for Jesus, Jesus was focusing upon the eternal merit that would be won by Peter’s cross. The fact that Jesus did not shy away from Peter’s future sacrificial suffering is one of the clearest signs of Jesus’ more perfect love for Peter.

Reflect, today, upon your attitude toward the sufferings that your loved ones endure. Do you find that your primary goal is to rid them of their sufferings? Or do you understand that even their sufferings have the potential to become a source of their own holiness and the source of grace for others? Strive to see suffering as Jesus sees it. Look at the sacrificial love that is made possible when your loved ones unite their sufferings to the Cross of Christ and try to commit yourself to the mission of helping them embrace that sacred gift of love.

My most compassionate Jesus, in Your great love for us all, You desire that we unite our sufferings to Your Cross so that all suffering shares in Your redemptive love. Give me the grace I need to not only embrace my own sufferings in life out of love for You but to also help those whom I love to live sacrificially by embracing the crosses they carry out of love. Jesus, I trust in You.

A Holy Awe

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter

It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written. John 21:24–25

As we conclude our Easter season, we are given the conclusion of the Gospel of Saint John to ponder. Recall that John’s Gospel has been a central focus throughout the Easter Season. Therefore, if you have been prayerfully reading the Gospel for Mass each day for the past several weeks, then you have truly immersed yourself in this holy Gospel.

The Gospel of Saint John is much different from the other three Synoptic Gospels. John’s language is mystical and symbolic. John presents the seven miracles as the seven “signs” that reveal Jesus’ divinity. Jesus is identified as I AM, the Son of the Father, the Vine, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Eternal Word, and more. John points to the Crucifixion as Jesus’ hour of glory in which He takes up His throne of the Cross for the salvation of the world. And John’s teaching on the Eucharist is truly profound.

John states that the reason he wrote his Gospel was so “that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). John clearly loved our Lord and understood Him, not only by personal experiences while Jesus was alive on earth but also through a profound level of prayer in his later years. And this depth of understanding and mystical knowledge is communicated in such a way that the reader is easily drawn into John’s prayerful understanding.

As John concludes His testimony about Jesus, he states something worth pondering. He states that Jesus did so many things that were not recorded by him or others, that if they were all written down, the whole world would not contain the books that would be written. First of all, everything that was written down could be the source of prayerful study for a lifetime. John’s Gospel alone could never be exhausted of its meaning. But then consider this final line of John’s Gospel and try to take it as a literal statement for a moment. If that statement were literally true, that the whole world could not contain the books that would record all that Jesus did, then this fact should leave us with a holy awe. In fact, the reason this must be true is because what Jesus did within each and every mind and heart He touched is truly indescribable. Volumes upon volumes could not thoroughly describe it. His divine action of saving souls, rescuing people from sin and death, and pointing them to eternal life is more than our feeble minds can fully comprehend. 

Reflect, today, upon the holy Gospel of Saint John. As we do conclude this Easter Season and our reading of John’s Gospel, allow yourself to sit in awe of the infinite activity of our divine Lord in the lives of those who have turned to Him. Consider every movement of grace in their lives that has been accomplished with such care and love by our Lord. Reflect upon the fact that for eternity you will be contemplating the Eternal Word made Flesh, the Messiah, the Great I AM, the Son of the Father and every other name given to Him Who is our God and King. Saint John loved our Lord and understood Him deeply because he spent his life prayerfully pondering all that Jesus did. Continue to commit yourself to this holy pondering so that you will be drawn more deeply into this contemplation with holy awe.

Jesus, Messiah, You are truly beyond comprehension in Your beauty, glory and holiness. You are God from God and Light from Light. You are the Great I AM, and all the books in the world could not properly describe the depth of Your greatness. Fill my mind and heart with the gift of deep spiritual insight so that I, like Saint John the Evangelist, will be continually drawn into a holy awe of You. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Age of the Holy Spirit

Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Year A)

And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.  Acts 2:2–4

And with that, the Church was born. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost which, in many ways, was the culmination of the mission of Christ. The pinnacle of His mission will come at the end of time when He returns in all His glory to judge the living and the dead and to establish His permanent Kingdom. But for now, we live under the rule of the Holy Spirit Who has descended upon us in full form, transforming us and making it possible to prepare for Jesus’ final and glorious coming.

The Trinity is truly a Mystery of Faith. In our limited way, we understand that God is Three in One. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each a distinct Person. Each fully sharing in the one divine nature. Though They act in perfect unison, They each fulfill Their unique mission. The Father is the one Who sent the Son into the world and willed that He give His life for the salvation of all. The Son was sent and perfectly fulfilled the will of the Father, uniting humanity with divinity. The Holy Spirit is the Promise of Father and Son Who proceeds from Them and descends upon us, animating us and making it possible for us to share in the life of the Most Holy Trinity.

If that is hard to comprehend, it should be. Our limited intellects can only grasp a shadow of the reality of God. That fact, however, should not discourage us. On the contrary, it should inspire us to anticipate that day when we will see God face to face and enter more deeply into the mystery of His divine life.

Today we especially focus upon the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity: The Holy Spirit. It is an incredible gift we have been given to live in this age of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you have thought to yourself that it would have been nice to live during the time that Jesus walked the earth. But Jesus Himself said that it was good that He go. Why? Because then He would send His Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, Who will lead you into all Truth. Thus, the age in which we now live, the age of the Holy Spirit, is the most blessed age the world has ever seen. This is because we are now able to receive the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is no longer spoken only through the prophets. He is no longer revealed only through the Person of the Son in Jesus Christ. He is now also able to live within us, making our very souls His dwelling place. Heaven and earth unite within our souls. There could be nothing greater than this.

As the Holy Spirit descends upon you, He brings the presence of the Father and the Son. They are inseparable. Therefore, as we prayerfully look within ourselves, we discover the Voice of the Father, leading us into His holy will. We discover the Person of the Son to Whom we are called to be conformed in every way, living as members of His very body on earth. This is made possible because the Holy Spirit descends upon us in a way similar to the way the Holy Spirit overshadowed our Blessed Mother, conceiving within her the Son of God. As the Holy Spirit overshadows us, God is conceived within our souls, and we begin to share in the very life of God here and now.

Reflect, today, upon these holy mysteries of our faith. See the actions of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a true mystery. The only way we will be able to begin to probe these mysteries is through prayerful pondering. We must look for the workings of God within, see Him at work within our souls, savor His presence, rejoice in it and keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him. We must see the fruit of God’s presence in our lives, such as the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Below is a full list of these Gifts. Ponder them today. As you do, and as you see these Gifts within you, you will be seeing God Himself, the Holy Spirit, alive and living within the depths of your soul.

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I worship You and adore You with all my Heart. Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son into the world. Thank You Father and Son for sending the Holy Spirit into my life. May I open my soul more fully to You today and every day so as to prepare for Your glorious return at the end of the ages. Jesus, I trust in You.


Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Fear of the Lord: With this gift, the Christian becomes keenly aware of anything that may hurt his/her relationship with God.  There is a holy “fear” of hurting this relationship, and grace is given to avoid these things at all cost.

Wisdom: With this gift, the Christian is given a special grace to “ponder divine realities” in his/her speculative reason.  We are able to see the big picture and know how best to be an instrument of peace and harmony in our world.

Understanding: This is the ability to have a supernatural assurance of the matters of faith.  Life makes sense.  We can make sense of the deeper parts of revelation, make sense of suffering and understand those things that tempt us to doubt.  With this gift, we come to see how everything in life can work for good in accordance with God’s plan.

Knowledge:  With this gift, the Christian knows, more in the practical intellect, what God’s will is in this or that situation.  We know how to live, how to discern God’s will and what decision to make in our daily lives.  It also enables us to learn from our past mistakes.

Counsel:  With this gift, the Christian sees him/herself as a link in a chain which makes up the entire Church.  God uses each one of us to help and support one another on our journeys.  We know what to say and how to act so as to do our part to build up one another.

Fortitude: Simply put, it is a firmness of mind and spirit to do good and avoid evil.  It’s a sort of Christian courage.  The Gospel will call all of us to a radical life of love.  Fortitude gives us the strength we need to follow through.

Piety:  This gift enables us to first reverence and love God, but also to see the dignity of one another and reverence each other as children of God

Reconciled & Filled by the Holy Spirit

Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Year B)

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” John 20:21–23

Happy Pentecost! Today, throughout the world, our Church celebrates the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ first followers and upon all of us. Why do we need the Holy Spirit in our lives? This is an important question to ponder. Today, as always, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work as One God. It is the Father Who wills that we be reconciled to Him; it was the Son Who made this reconciliation possible; and it is the Holy Spirit Who now accomplishes the completion of this act in our lives. At the heart of that gift of salvation is the remission of our sins. The passage above clearly reveals to us that Jesus bestowed a unique gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, His first bishops, entrusting them with the ability to forgive sins in His name and by His power.

As we celebrate Pentecost, it is a good opportunity to prayerfully consider the action of the Holy Spirit in your life. One of the greatest ways that the Holy Spirit is potentially active in your life is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through that Sacrament, the Holy Spirit draws you to the Father and enables you to see and understand His perfect will, living more fully in union with the Son as a member of His Body.

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are some of the other ways that the Holy Spirit helps us in our Christian walk. However, these gifts would be ineffective in our lives if we did not first receive the gift of forgiveness given through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That is the first and most foundational action of the Holy Spirit and opens the door to every other gift. Perhaps that is why Jesus’ first bestowal of the Holy Spirit focused upon the power given to His Apostles to forgive sins in His name.

Once we are reconciled to the Father and begin to live in a state of grace, the Holy Spirit will continue to deepen His relationship with us and bestow His help upon us for our Christian journey. This especially happens through the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts most affecting our intellect are the Gifts of Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge. Wisdom helps us to understand the inner life of the Trinity more clearly. Understanding helps us to make sense of our lives and mission in the light of the Gospel. Knowledge helps us make practical decisions in accord with God’s will.

The gifts of Fear of the Lord and Piety assist us in our love of God. Fear of the Lord helps us to see how our actions help or hinder our relationship with God, helping to motivate us to avoid all that harms this relationship and choose all that strengthens it. Piety helps us to see the great dignity and beauty of God and enables us to have a deep reverence for Him and for all of His people.

Counsel and Fortitude are also given by the Holy Spirit and help us to firmly move forward in faith and love. Counsel especially helps us with love of neighbor, and Fortitude adds the strength we need to do all that we are called to do in love with unwavering commitment.

As we celebrate the great Solemnity of Pentecost, reflect, today, upon the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. If you want to be open to the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life and receive the many gifts you need for your journey of faith, then begin with the most fundamental gift. Begin with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Ponder the words Jesus spoke in our Gospel today and know that by entrusting the grace to forgive sins in His name to His first priests, Jesus was also calling you to embrace that gift. The Holy Spirit wants you to be cleansed of all sin. Allow Him to do so and you will be amazed at all the grace that follows.

My glorious Lord, You promised to send the Holy Spirit upon us to lead us into all Truth and to reconcile us to the Father. You were faithful to that promise at Pentecost and now continuously bestow the Holy Spirit upon all who believe. Holy Spirit, please come upon me, especially by forgiving my sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and by filling me with Your sevenfold Gifts. Jesus, I trust in You.

Come to Us Holy Spirit!

Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Year C)

And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.  Acts 2:2–4

Happy birthday! Today, as we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we also celebrate the birth of the Church. Thus, today is a celebration of your membership in the life of the Church. As a human institution, the Church has always suffered on account of the sins of Her members. This sad truth is something that we are increasingly aware of today. But the Church itself is the Spotless Bride of Christ. It is the Body of Christ on earth, in Heaven and in Purgatory. Those of us on earth are members of the Church Militant. Those in Heaven are members of the Church Triumphant. And those in Purgatory are members of the Church Suffering. But all of us are united under Christ our Head as members of His holy Body, the Church.

We profess our faith in the Church every Sunday. We profess that we believe in “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” What exactly does this mean? First, it means that by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, those who profess faith in Christ are united as “one.” This oneness is a spiritual union that will endure for eternity. It is unbreakable and restores us to the life we were created to live. That is, a life of union with God and others, a communion of humanity with God.

As one family, the Church is also “holy.” Holiness is another way of saying that we are made whole by the blood of Christ, sharing in His redemption. By His mercy, our sins are forgiven and we become children of the Father in Heaven, sharing the eternal life of the Son.

The word “catholic” refers to the truth that the offer of salvation is given to all. It is a universal calling given to all people who will accept this gift. God did not come to save only a few but all, and many will accept this gift of salvation.

We are “apostolic,” in that God chose to establish His Church through the mediation of His Apostles. They were uniquely called to become instruments by which the saving Truth is proclaimed and the grace won by the Cross is distributed. The work of the Apostles continues today through their successors, the bishops, and those who are co-workers with the bishops, the priests. Sinful though they may be, God uses them, nonetheless, to bestow His grace and truth upon the world.

As a member of the one Body of Christ, you are also invited by God to enlarge His family through the sharing of the Gospel and by your life of deep prayer. You are called and sent, and this takes place by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we especially celebrate today.

Reflect, today, upon the incredible privilege it is to be invited to be a member of the Family of God, the Church. And reflect, also, upon the important duty you have to extend that invitation to others. Pray to the Holy Spirit, asking for an increase in His seven-fold gifts in your life so that You can help share the saving message of the Gospel to those whom God wants to reach through you.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. 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. Jesus, I trust in You.

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