Sunday, January 17, 2016



Photo: R. Massaro-Immaculate Heart of Mary Church Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

For those not familiar with Latin, today's three words are translated, "Come Holy Spirit."

When I first launched Spirit Singing, I wrote a series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in light of Carmelite spirituality.  In the next few weeks, I'll be re-posting some of those early writings. I hope you are blessed by them. You can also click on the labels at the end of this post to access to them.

I have been thinking a lot about the gifts of the Holy Spirit lately. Pope Francis has declared this year, a "Year of Mercy." In light of this, I have been thinking about the souls in purgatory and trying to find ways to be merciful and to pray for the deceased in a special way. The Spiritual Works of Mercy state that we should "pray for the living and the dead." One day, while praying, I felt inspired to begin a "Novena for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit," and I would ask God to apply it to a particular soul and to all the souls in purgatory. I felt my inspiration was confirmed,when, a few days later, I found an old prayer pamphlet entitled, "Novena to the Holy Ghost." It received an Imprimatur in 1948. Please keep in mind that this is a general Novena to the Holy Spirit that has a plenary indulgence attached to it. In this post, I am only sharing that I am praying it as a private devotion for the souls in purgatory. 

Why am I focusing on the gifts of the Holy Spirit for those in purgatory?  The Church teaches that canonized saints are those who lived a virtuous life.  In fact, the requirement is that they lived a heroically virtuous life, meaning, they possessed the theological virtues (faith, hope, charity) and the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance). When the Church canonizes someone it means it recognizes the sanctity of the person. Therefore, the person must be filled with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. 

Years ago, I was privileged to attend a conference by the late Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M. He stated, "A saint must possess ALL the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You can't just have one or two and get into heaven." He explains heroic virtue in his classic work, The Fire Within:

To appreciate more fully the next facet of the contemplative culmination, we need to reflect on the meaning of heroic virtue. This term does not refer merely to the ordinary fidelity we commend when we say that another is a good and sincere person. Rather, we envision a degree of loving uprightness and moral excellence that, left to our own native resources, we find humanly impossible. It is the living of a Gospel virtue (faith, hope, charity, temperance, fortitude, patience, humility) in a manner surpassing human strength.
The Fire Within, Thomas Dubay, S.M. Ignatius Press, 1989.

So, I am on a spiritual mission to ask the intercession of the Holy Spirit to purify the holy souls in purgatory and to fill them (and us) with his gifts. We can ask the Church to join us in our effort: the Church Triumphant, includes the saints in heaven, the Church Suffering are the holy souls in purgatory, and the Church Militant are the faithful on earth. 

I unite myself with all the faithful on earth, with all the holy souls in purgatory, and with all the saints in heaven, as I pray this Novena to the Holy Spirit.  


O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven promised to send the Holy Spirit to finish your work in the souls of your Apostles and Disciples, please grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Your grace and your 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 You, 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, 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 your true disciples and animate me in all things with your Spirit. Amen.

Let us pray:

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant us by the same Holy Spirit to be truly wise and to ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

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