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Thursday, May 20, 1999

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Pentecost Novena - Day 7
St. Bernardine of Siena

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalm 16
John 17:20-26

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seven days make one weak

"I do not pray for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their word." —John 17:20

When Paul was having a hearing before the Jewish Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, he tricked his enemies into fighting each other so that he could get off the hook. However, Paul's stratagem backfired on him. The dispute between Paul's enemies grew so turbulent that the Roman "commander feared they would tear Paul to pieces. He therefore ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst and take him back to headquarters" (Acts 23:10). That night, after Paul's plans had failed and he was sitting in jail, the Lord appeared to Paul and announced that Paul would be His witness in Rome, the center of the Western world (Acts 23:11). In our weakness, God's power reaches perfection (2 Cor 12:9).

On this seventh day of the Pentecost novena, we need to realize our weakness so that we will depend on and cry out for the power of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:8). When Jesus had ascended and His apostles were at their weakest, they received the Holy Spirit. Throughout history, Christians have received the Spirit when persecuted and even imprisoned for their faith in Jesus. The Lord has "singled out the weak of this world" to receive the Spirit and "to shame the strong" (1 Cor 1:27).

To receive the Spirit, choose the weakness of gospel poverty, persecution, obscurity, docility, simplicity, and sacrifice. Embrace the weakness of the cross (see 2 Cor 13:4), then receive the Spirit.

Prayer:  Jesus, without You I can do nothing (Jn 15:5). Come, Holy Spirit!

Promise:  "I have given them the glory You gave Me that they may be one, as We are One — I living in them, You living in Me." —Jn 17:22-23

Praise:  St. Bernardine taught that the name of Jesus "must be proclaimed, that it may shine out and never be suppressed...stored up and poured out from a chosen vessel."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, October 9, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 17, 1998