Those who love God’s name shall dwell in Zion

Pilgrimage to the Cedars of Lebanon, Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka (1853–1919), 1907; Hungarian National Gallery

Fr Neil’s homily for the Second Sunday after Trinity, 13 June 2021

We are of courage … so whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

In this verse¹, Paul is speaking of the desire to be ‘at home’ with the Lord in heavenly glory rather than in exile here in the body on earth. Yet he counsels courage in whatever state we are in, because of the hope of what is to be.

In doing so he recognises that there is a connection between the fullness of the Kingdom which is to come and the arena of the fallen world in which we live at the present.

It is an old heresy to see a stark opposition between the heavenly and earthly. Arianism is the father of varied heresies that fall into similar mistakes: Calvinism and the total depravity of the created order is one example, where in simple terms creation equals evil and spiritual realm equals good. This mistaken thinking led to two different excesses. The first was to deprive and punish the body to the extreme. The Puritans for example banished sport, theatre, alcohol, colourful garments and Christmas celebrations in an attempt to rid life of any joy. For if one was to experience joy in ‘worldly things’ it would feed the fallen flesh and thus must be a sin.

The opposite excess is to see the body as meaningless and only that which happens in the soul, in the spiritual realm, as being important. Therefore what we do with our bodies doesn’t matter. It is this sort of thinking that has feed our hedonistic culture. How popular it is to have a bit of benign spirituality, Buddhist meditation where good and evil are but an illusion, crystal mumbo-jumbo and magical well-being, without it having any element of moral challenge to the manner in which we live our lives.

A naïve reading of St Paul might charge him with a similar duality. However, a proper reading of Paul and an orthodox understanding of Christian revelation gives us an altogether different understanding. Christianity proclaims a resurrection of the body: in baptism we are regenerate and the final judgement shall see the renewal of heaven and earth. It is the vision of the created order — not done away with, but purged of evil, sin and death. In Christ heaven and earth, human and divine are reconciled.

This renewed created order of heavenly glory is anticipated in the outbreaking of the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom is like the boughs of the cedar under which many will find shelter, or a small mustard seed that will grow into a mighty shrub. There is an inevitability to the Kingdom of heaven coming into its full glory, for it is God-willed and not subject to the whims of man. The Church’s sacraments are a gift of God and a foretaste of what is yet to be fully manifest. Of course Paul longs to be at home with the Lord. As he says in 1 Corinthians², “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”

The beatific vision and the longing to see the fullness of the promised heavenly kingdom is the desire and hope of Paul’s heart that gives him courage to continue to walk by faith, while still in this body. This same desire should be ours every time we pray, “thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” These words should reveal an appetite, a sense of longing and a desire to belong to the one who revealed his most sacred heart in his embracing the cross of our redemption.

Yet while still in this body there is an ongoing battle with sin and the dying to the fallen self with its passions. However, like Paul we are called to walk by faith and trust ourselves to the grace of God as we seek to follow his will in the manner in which we live our lives. The supernatural gifts of faith, hope and charity enable us to manifest within our own actions the fruits of the kingdom of God.

As Paul goes on to say in our reading from Corinthians there is the particular judgement that we will each face. We will each stand before the seat Christ took at his ascension and any judgement will be in accordance with what we have done in the body. We need only look at Christ’s own words in the story of the rich man and Lazarus³ and those of his response to the thief who ask that he might be remembered “when you come into your kingdom.”⁴ This judgement will lead to either rewards or punishment, heaven or hell.

Therefore we should have a healthy fear of the consequences of sin that separate us from God, and reflect on the decisions we make — either for divine charity or against it. However, what motivates us to “make it our aim to please him” should not be fear alone, but a movement of the heart. Yes, it is by faith that we are saved in response to the Passion and triumph of Christ on the cross over sin and death. Yet it is works of charity, in response to such divine love, that lead to our sanctification. It is the ongoing daily decision for Christ that lends us courage, despite the many voices telling us to walk another way.

Let our desire for the things of God be as the psalmist, who cries out: “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?”⁵

Perhaps what we should fear is that, having once had our hearts captured by divine love in Christ, we might lose it.

¹ 2 Corinthinans 5:8–9
² 1 Corinthinans 13:12
³ Luke 16:19–31
⁴ Luke 23:42
⁵ Psalm 42:1–2

The editorial title is taken from Psalm 69:36.

Christ within the veil hath entered

The Adoration of the Lamb, Hubert van Eyck (c.1385–1426) and Jan van Eyck (c.1390–1441); c.1420–1432; St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent

Fr Neil’s homily for Corpus Christi, 6 June 2021

As they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”

All the readings in mass today explore elements of the ritual sacrifice of Israel. The Exodus reading is the establishing of the Covenant and the reception of the law, after the Passover. The blood of the sacrifice is thrown over the people so that they might be received into the covenant with God. They were to be his people and he was to be their God.

The Last Supper sees Our Lord at the Passover, establishing a new covenant where he is the true Paschal Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Moses and the old covenant could only be symbolic and prophetic of what was to come.

In Exodus 26, Moses was given detailed instructions about creating the tabernacle and Tent of Meeting. Moses is told that he must make the tabernacle as an exact earthly replica of the one he had seen in his vision of heaven. It contained three parts: the outer courtyard where the people of God would come to offer their sacrifices; the holy place, where the showbread, the Menorah, (seven branch candle stand) and the altar of incense were housed, (this holy place was accessible to the levitical priesthood only); and the final part, the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant. This was entered once a year on the day of Atonement, by the High Priest alone. Aaron, the first High Priest, is a type of the One who would come. The high priest would take the blood of the sacrifice, sprinkle the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant for the corporal confession for all the sins of the People of God. He would wear a breastplate that held twelve stones to represent the twelve tribes that made up Israel. This earthly tabernacle was an icon of its true heavenly reality.

Thus this earthly representation of heavenly realities could only offer the blood of goats and bulls to cleanse the external, outward lives of God’s people, as our reading from Hebrews tells us. However, it could do nothing for what was the heart of the problem, the fall from grace and the loss of Eden.

This deeper spiritual problem of humanity’s loss of heavenly grace required a high priest who could enter the heavenly Holy of Holies. He would need to offer an acceptable blood sacrifice that could once and for all bring an eternal spiritual redemption, rather than a temporal earthly one.

Hebrews tells us that Christ is this new and eternal high priest, after Melchizedek of old. It is Christ who has mediated a new covenant by entering through the curtains of the heavenly Holy of Holies. He established an eternal salvation for all humanity, through a sacrifice, not of goats and bulls, but his own body and blood.

In Mark’s gospel we hear that ‘Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple, was torn in two, from top to bottom.’ That curtain that both Mark and Luke record in the Gospel is the curtain into the Holy of Holies and it is torn from top to bottom. It was a spiritual sign from heaven of what had been achieved through Christ in the eternal realm. This earthly representation was needed no longer, indeed the temple itself was within forty years to be utterly destroyed and to this day has not been rebuilt.

When many in the Church begin to lose sight and belief in the sacrifice of the mass and the Real Presence of Christ then we are in trouble. This is revealed in the lack of reverence by many in Christ’s sacramental presence and sadly the careless manner in which mass is often celebrated by priests. Where this is happening you will soon see a dying church and morally corrupt society that slowly disintegrates.

Christ is both the High Priest and the sacrifice in his body and blood of this New Covenant. Our participation in this requires not only our passing through the waters of death in baptism but a receiving of the body and blood of the sacrificial Victim. In receiving the body, soul and divinity of Christ in the sacrifice of the mass, God in return wants our own flesh and blood, our own lives, consecrated to Him, offered as a living sacrifice. This is the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving that is the Eucharist.

What we do in memory of Him is to pledge our lives to Him, to renew our promise to live by the words of His covenant and to be His servants.

There is no other return we can offer to Him for the eternal inheritance He has won for us. So let us approach the altar, calling upon His name in thanksgiving, taking up the greatest, unmerited gift imaginable, the Corpus Christi.

The wonderful mystery

The Holy Trinity, Hendrick van Balen (c.1573–1632), 1620s; St James' Church, Antwerp

Fr Thomas’s homily on Trinity Sunday, 30 May

“Baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

It was with these words that we became Christians, as water was poured over our heads and the name of the Holy Trinity was professed, and we were thereby made part of the body of Christ.

At first it can sound so very simple, but the Trinity is one of those facts about Christianity that, as soon as we start to think about it, makes us deeply puzzled. We know that there is only one God. This is very firmly and clearly taught throughout the old and new testaments; our Jewish forefathers were vehemently monotheistic; we also learn this from philosophy which shows that the nature of God — what it means to be God — is unique, that there can only be one supreme being. But yet, here we have Christ clearly linking together the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Earlier in the passage, the disciples worshipped Our Lord — clearly acclaiming him as God. The maths simply doesn’t work.

Many attempts have been made to make sense of this doctrine — that there is one God, and that there are three Persons in God. The problem is that they usually fall into various errors and heresies. Various weird and wonderful names have been given to these theories which attempt to make three persons fit into one God — modalism, monarchianism, macedonianism. All of these ultimately fail because they see the Trinity as something to be solved, something to be understood. If we try to do this, then we try to fit God into our human perspective — we drag him down far below what he is, and if we do this, we rob him of his nature (which is far beyond our understanding). This does not mean that theological study of the Trinity is always bad or wrong, but that it needs to be undertaken realising that we will never fully grasp what’s actually going on there.

The Trinity is a mystery — and in Christian theology this word has a subtly different meaning to its common understanding. It means that we can never grasp the fullness of what the Trinity is and means, but that we have been told something about it in God’s revelation of himself — not least in that baptismal formula which S. Matthew relates to us. We can ponder and meditate on what it means, as long as we realise that we are never going to solve it; there will always be much deeper understandings…if and when we reach heaven, then the glory of this truth will still astound us, however much progress we make here on earth.

But today’s feast isn’t about an idea, however important that idea might be — it’s about a reality; it’s about the living and true God. Our Introit today, to take a perfect example, doesn’t start to pick apart what the Trinity means. It has already accepted through Faith what we know: that there is one God in three Persons; rather it sets out what the real purpose and mood of this feast should be. “Blessed be the Holy Trinity, and the undivided Unity: we will praise and glorify him.”

Today is a feast to celebrate the Trinity, to bless the Trinity, rather than an attempt to pretend that we can understand it fully.

We have been given a glimpse into God’s nature. He has shown us that whilst he is one and has perfect unity; he is also three, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost have always been in this unity of their relationship with each other. It is as this Trinity that we should worship God — everything which God has done, has been done by this Trinity. When God first created the world, it was the Holy Trinity which created; when God called Abraham, he visited him as three men; when God decided the redeem the world, those three Persons had perfect unity of will; at the Incarnation, following the mission of the Father, the Son became man, through the Holy Ghost’s overshadowing of Our Lady.

There are times when, quite properly, we focus on one Person — we have just celebrated an octave to honour the Holy Ghost and his descent on the Church, for example. But as we worship God, as we pray to God, as we ask for his grace in our life, we worship the Holy Trinity. We worship those three eternal and equal Persons, in their perfect and undivided unity.

This is not just some incidental fact about God either; it is his very nature. And it has great importance for us. That there are three Persons in God reveals something critical about God — that relationship is in his nature.

If we try to imagine a single God who is not a Trinity, it is difficult to conceive how we would relate to anybody else. The whole of creation would be so separate and different, surely he would be stuck in his uniqueness. But because God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost there is a constant relationship between these three Persons. This means that in his very nature, God has relationships — that God’s very being itself is about showing love.

That relationship, that constant flow of love between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, was there in eternity before the world was brought into being. It is part of what God is. But that love, whilst it was perfect and whole in itself, wanted to create a universe so that there could be something which God could love. Creating humanity at the head of that creation was also an act of the same love. Redeeming that humanity when we fell away from God was also an act of the same love.

Today’s feast gives us an annual reminder of the nature of God. That God is one, he is unique, he is perfect and complete in himself; but he is also three, and that relationship is part of what he is. As we contemplate and prayerfully meditate on this Trinity, our first and most important response should always be one of wonder, one of worship. Blessed be the Holy Trinity, and the undivided Unity: we will praise and glorify him.

This was Fr Thomas’s final homily in Eastbourne prior to his moving to the Darlington Ordinariate Mission.

O Comforter, draw near; within my heart appear

Pentecost, Jan Joest (c.1450–1519), c.1505; Church of St Nicolai, Kalkar

Fr Neil’s homily at Pentecost, 23 May

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

Theologically, the Holy Spirit is not an unconscious force directed by God, but a conscious intelligence with his own personal integrity. He is the third person of the Trinity. God the Holy Spirit hovers over the formless void before the Word of God says, “let there be…” and Creation and life springs into being. It is the same Holy Spirit who overshadows the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation; who sees the Word of God, who spoke Creation into being, entering into that same Creation in the Incarnation.

The Holy Spirit is the breath of God, breathed into Adam as he is formed from the dust of the earth. This is the same Spirit whom Christ breathes into his disciples in the Gospel of John. It was the loss of this same Spirit of life that Adam and Eve experienced, in the Fall, as death as we now know it entered into the world. It is the same graces that are lost when we, like our ancestor Adam, commit mortal sin.

Throughout the Old Testament, it is the Holy Spirit who animates and gives special gifts and graces to the offices of prophet, priest and king so that through them God’s will could be communicated to his people, Israel. The gift of the Spirit didn’t however guarantee that those chosen for these high offices wouldn’t sin. Indeed it was so often the failure of the prophets, priests and kings that saw God’s judgement fall on Israel, and ultimately led to their destruction and exile.

Those who authentically received the Holy Spirit were giving a deep personal experience of God which enabled them to speak and act with an element of divine authority — “thus says the Lord.” It is the same authority that enables the priest in the confessional to say, “I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father,Son and Holy Spirit.” This personal gift was never given for the personal benefit of the individual but always for the revealing of the glory of God and the building up of his people.

Pentecost marks the beginning of the New Creation, breaking into our fallen world. The Holy Spirit actively animates the twelve Apostles as the new Israel through whom the salvation of God would come to all the world. Babel is reversed and there is one common language of truth and divine charity that seeks to unite all people in God’s Kingdom. The truth to which the Spirit bears witness is the unfolding events of redemption made possible in Christ’s, birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension into glory. The Spirit bears witness to Christ as the way, the truth and the life.

The Holy Spirit speaks with the unitive voice of the Godhead, “who proceeds from the Father” — “he will take what is mine and declare it to you,” says our Lord. Therefore anyone claiming to speak in the power of the Holy Spirit, yet who contradicts what has already been revealed, whatever standing the person may have, is a brigand and robber, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

This Counsellor and Comforter is the revealer who guides the individual follower of Christ into all truth. Yet the fullness of the Spirit is only encountered in the fullness of the body of Christ, the Church. It is to his body, the Church, that the Holy Spirit continues to unveil the deeper truths yet to be fully understood. Christ tells his disciples, “I have yet many things to say to you, yet you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into the truth.”

The Holy Spirit was planted in us at our baptisms, strengthened at confirmation, and is most powerfully active within the Church through the sacraments. Yet the Holy Spirit’s presence as a personal encounter with the living God, Christ resurrected and glorified, can often be easily neglected, reserved in people’s minds for the excesses of the loony fringe at the far end of the Charismatic Movement.

The Holy Spirit is the regenerative presence of Christ within us. Therefore praying to the Holy Spirit, for guidance in how we might best unite our will with God and be enabled to fulfil our particular baptismal vocation, is essential to the active mission of the Church. That mission is seen in the twin activities of offering divine worship in our liturgies to glorify God, and the proclamation of the Gospel in the evangelisation of the world.

In our fallen world there are however many ‘spirits’ that would seek to deceive us into error and sin — they may even appear as angels of light, peddling words of wisdom, kindness, compassion and love but yet are demonic. St Paul provides a clear, straightforward means of discerning these spirits. Does the spirit lead ultimately to the indulgence of the flesh as a means of our own self-fulfilment and desire, or to the revealed will of God?

Paul is speaking of flesh as humanity’s fallen nature which looks for fulfilment in the temporal world, apart from God; and he is very clear what its fruits are: “Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Is it any wonder, as our western culture moves further away from the revealed will of God, that our society falls into greater disintegration? The fruits of a culture of death are plain to see. Of course there are temporal issues that require a response from the Church, such as the environment, the education of our children, identity politics, poverty, modern day slavery, trafficking of people and abuse of the young and vulnerable. Pentecost however reminds us that the renewing of the world begins with our own continuous conversion and transformation as temples of the Holy Spirit. This transformation is both for us as individuals, and through us individuals to our communities. For, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

Here begins the true transformation of the world.

The editorial title to this article is a phrase from Come down, O Love divine translated by R F Littledale (1833–1890) from the Italian of Bianco da Siena (d 1434).

Pentecost Novena: Day 9: The Fruits of the Spirit

Bordeaux silk French chasuble by Sacra Domus Aurea

Saturday the Vigil of Pentecost: 22 May

Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
in Thy sevenfold gift, descend;
Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joys which never end. Amen.

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Prayer

Come, O Divine Spirit,
fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits,
Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance,
that I may never weary in the service of God,
but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration
may merit to be united eternally with Thee
in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father,
who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace;
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Then the Gloria is said seven times

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Act of Consecration

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to Thee, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Thy purity, the unerring keenness of Thy justice, and the might of Thy love. Thou art the Strength and Light of my soul. In Thee I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Thy light, and listen to Thy voice, and follow Thy gracious inspirations. I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee and ask Thee, by Thy compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore Thee, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to Thee always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven didst promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Thy work in the souls of Thine Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Thy grace and Thy love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Thy divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with Thee and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Pentecost Novena: Day 8: The Gift of Wisdom

Chasuble from Maris Stella Vestments

Friday of the seventh week of Easter: 21 May

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
melt the frozen warm the chill.
Guide the steps that go astray!

The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savour, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.”

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom,
and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things,
their exceeding greatness, power and beauty.
Teach me to love them
above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth.
Help me to attain them and possess them for ever.
Amen.

Our Father,
who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace;
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Then the Gloria is said seven times

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Act of Consecration

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to Thee, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Thy purity, the unerring keenness of Thy justice, and the might of Thy love. Thou art the Strength and Light of my soul. In Thee I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Thy light, and listen to Thy voice, and follow Thy gracious inspirations. I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee and ask Thee, by Thy compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore Thee, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to Thee always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven didst promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Thy work in the souls of Thine Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Thy grace and Thy love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Thy divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with Thee and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.