REFLECTION FOR THIS WEEK
Novena of Pentecost
On Thursday we shall celebrate the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven. I must confess that I find this the least significant of the major feasts, and it strikes me as curious that the church should so celebrate the apostles’ bewilderment and sadness when Jesus disappeared from their sight for the last time. However, there was a silver lining to the cloud into which Jesus ascended ̶ the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Ten days later we shall mark that truly great day of the Holy Spirit with the church decked in festal red to signify the Spirit’s coming with fire, and to prepare ourselves for this sacred mystery we could do worse than pray a Novena for the gifts if the Spirit.
‘Novena’ is named after the nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost, and commemorates the happenings described in Acts 1:14 ‘[the disciples] were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus…’. For centuries, it has been the custom of the church to replicate those nine days of intense devotion to pray for the seven-fold gifts of the Spirit to be bestowed both on individuals and the whole church as she prepares for Pentecost.
As a parish we could join together daily in spirit and pray the ninth-century hymn, Veni creator spiritus:
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire;
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost Thy seven-fold gifts impart.
Come down, O love divine
Seek Thou this of mine,
and visit it
With Thine own ardour glowing.
Deacon Douglas Macmillan
Collect for Sixth Sunday of Easter
God our redeemer,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us
he may raise us to eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.