Friday, May 11, 2018

Novena to the Holy Spirit: Day One (Friday) Love

The novena for Pentecost starts today, May 11, 2018. I'm reposting this. Please feel free to add your intentions if you wish. But whether they are written or unspoken, I will include your intentions in my novena prayers too. We can all pray for each other!
The novena focuses on the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit as St Paul speaks of them in Galatians 5:22-23.


On January 13, 1982, a plane taking off in Washington DC crashed into the Potomac River. Camera crews filmed the scene as a helicopter rushed in to throw down a rescue line to lift passengers to safety. As we watched the news that night in our community, Sr Susan Helen said, “Look at that man in the water! He keeps on handing the line to other people so they can be rescued first.” We were all amazed to see a man helping other people before himself. The passenger’s name was Arland D. Williams. He helped save five other people before he himself drowned in the icy water. As we saw him go under and not come up, we were all deeply moved. That heroic image was burned into my memory, a graphic example of Jesus’ words: “Greater love than this no one has, than to lay down one’s life for a friend” (Jn 15:13).

Mr. Williams certainly had agapē—the kind of love Paul speaks about as the first fruit of the Spirit. While I don’t know anything about Williams except his last heroic act, he must have practiced love in countless ordinary ways in his life. People tend to act true to their character in emergency situations.

Greek has several words for love. Agapē is a special kind of love marked by a true gift of one’s self. It has no self-interest about it. It is the kind of love that moves a parent to stay up with a sick child, or a teacher to never give up on a struggling student.

St. Paul uses agapē often in his letters. For him its primary meaning is God’s love for us. For example, Romans 5:8 says: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Knowing and experiencing God’s love for us enables us to then love others. As Paul said earlier in Galatians, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” (5:14) In this letter, Paul clarified the role of the Mosaic law. As Christians we are no longer bound to observe that law, for we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ. But Paul goes on to explain that this doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want. We are still bound by the law of love, which Jesus taught us in the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Love itself. On this first day of the novena for Pentecost, we can ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with an even greater love for God and for others. That is the basis for living a good Christian life.

Today how can I show greater love to those with whom I live and work?

Prayer to the Spirit of Love

Come, Holy Spirit.
Come, Mighty Spirit.
Spirit of love and wisdom.
Spirit of light and power.
You help us in our weakness.
Come, fill our inmost being.
Come, Holy Spirit, come to us.
Transform us so that our hearts may be
a new creation of your love.
Guide us with your wisdom and love,
and let the radiance of your light
renew the face of the earth. Amen.
Carlo Recalcati, SSP

"In the evening of life we will be judged on love."  -- St John of the Cross

Optional Scripture reading:
1 Corinthians 13:1-13—the hymn to love


Anonymous said...

Hello, Sister Marianne,

I am coming again to your blog. I prayed your novena a couple of years ago, and I really loved it. Actually, I hope to pray it every year in preparation for Pentecost, which is a church feast that I also love very much. First of all I want to thank you for putting it up, and secondly I just wanted to express my gratitude and praise for all that God has done in my life in the last 2 years. Time flies doesn't it? Anyhow, I hope you are well, and I will keep you in my prayers, and I ask also for your prayers for me and my wife.

In Christ,

Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouve said...

Thank you very much, Richard! I am very happy that you like the novena. I hope to post it on the main page so it will be more easily accessible.
Yes I will definitely pray for you and your wife and your intentions. I remember when you had posted comments before. The other day I thought of it when I remembered that the novena was almost upon us already!
God bless you!
Sr Marianne

Anonymous said...

Hello Sister Marianne,

I am praying for your novena gain this year. Please pray for me as well, I will keep you in my prayers.

God Bless,

Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouve said...

Thank you, Richard, I'm so glad you like it! I am praying the novena too and will certainly remember your particular intentions. May you receive an abundant outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost! God bless you!