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Friday, May 22, 2009

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Pentecost Novena - Day 1
St. Rita of Cascia

Acts 18:9-18
Psalm 47
John 16:20-23

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the best and worst of times

"Then [the Corinthians] all pounced on Sosthenes, a leading man of the synagogue, and beat him in full view of the bench." —Acts 18:17

The church at Corinth may have had the worst problems and the greatest power in the Holy Spirit. They had been "richly endowed with every gift of speech and knowledge" (1 Cor 1:5). When they had a prayer meeting so many people displayed so many gifts they found it hard to keep order (1 Cor 14:33ff). This church was supercharged in the Holy Spirit. But, since it so threatened the devil, he attacked it viciously. It fell into sins of division, immorality, injustice, violence, disorder, and heresy. Paul needed a special vision of the Lord to allay his fears and encourage him to persevere (Acts 18:9).

Let's not fall into the temptation to stifle the Spirit because we are afraid of the dangers of life in the Spirit. We shouldn't surrender to stop the war. We should seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit, despite the spiritual warfare. Let's put on the full armor of God (Eph 6:13) and be careful not to fall into sin and the devil's trap. Today is the first of nine days of prayer, the Pentecost Novena, for the Holy Spirit. The devil is trembling and raging; we are praying and trusting. Come, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:  Father, on this first day of the Holy Spirit novena, I pray to thirst for the Spirit more than for anything else (Jn 7:37).

Promise:  "You are sad for a time, but I shall see you again; then your hearts will rejoice with a joy no one can take from you." —Jn 16:22

Praise:  St. Rita's constant prayer for her abusive husband bore fruit as he repented of his sins on his deathbed.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Don't Stifle the Spirit on audio AV 56-3 or video V-56.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008

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