Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother!
The days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday are among the most holy of the Church’s Year of Grace. They are the days which, in fact, constituted the first novena ever prayed in the Church.
The Apostles gathered with our Blessed Mother, who is also Mother of the Church, from Ascension Day until Pentecost. Our Lady consoled them on the physical absence of our Rise Savior. At the end of the nine days the Holy Spirit was poured forth upon the earth bring it to life with warmth and grace. The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier and renews the face of the earth.
Francisca Javiera del Vale was a Mexican laywoman who died in Mexico City during the 1950’s. After her death her profound and mystical writings were discovered. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, she wrote, You must make a firm resolution to beg the Holy Spirit to come into your soul and to live an interior life. Do not ask how much this will cost you, but rather ask how much it is worth. This has always been the case. What is worth a lot costs a lot. And what is the effort we put into knowing ourselves. When we compare it with the great benefit that we derive from it?
Beg the Holy Spirit to come into your souls and there remain forever. Grace is the very life of God in which we share. We speak of being in the state of grace. That means we are living as friends of God and have not snuffed out his life of grace through mortal sin. Grace obviously disposes us to receive even more graces. But it also has physical effects.
The great French missionary Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre did incomparable work in bringing the native peoples of Africa to the faith. He often remarked that when a village’s people had accepted baptism there was a completely different atmosphere. The village was cleaner, more serene, less noisy, and filled with peace and order. So it is also for individuals. The life of grace brings a calm, serenity, and health. It softens the features and makes one look radiant. That is why those hardened in sin appear so unhappy and coarse. In an area where large numbers of the unbaptized live, there is a coarseness and meanness in the atmosphere.
We all mourned the loss last week of NYPD Detective (He was promoted in death) Brian Moore. Our flag at St. Paul flew at half-mast for the week. I am sure that many of you, like myself, found his image haunting. That is, his face was one of calm and peace, of kindness and goodness. Even though we may not have known him personally, there was something about that face which made us think he was our son, our brother, our friend or our colleague. As we read accounts of him from those who knew him personally, it was obvious that here was a young man who lived in the state of grace. It was evident merely from his appearance, for he seemed to have had the face of an angel. It was often observed that the martyrs, even in the midst of their tortures, had a great serenity and peace. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that while St. Stephen, the First Martyr, was being stoned to death, all the while his face was like that of an angel
Next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. At the 11.00 am mass the sacrament of Confirmation will be administered to two adults.
From thy bright heavenly throne!
Come, take possession of our souls,
And make them all thine own!
Nos cum prole pia,
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda