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640px-Angelsatmamre-trinity-rublev-1410
Trinity, Rublev

If you remember from yesterday’s post, the little kids and I are singing a fragment of the song Come, Holy Spirit as our little mini novena. It’s day 2 and we managed to remember again! Yay, us. Will we remember tomorrow? Hopefully.

We’ve also tried saying the first version with the bigger kids (who now have a Brand New Super Exciting Later Bedtime, perfect for things like saying short novenas with mama and daddy).

Day 2
(This version comes from the lovely people at Pray More Novenas.)

Joy

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Joy within us.

All of the Saints are marked with an uncompromisable Joy in times of trial, difficulty and pain. Give us, Oh Holy Spirit, the Joy that surpasses all understanding that we may live as a witness to Your love and fidelity!

Amen.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Amen.

the-ascension.jpg!Blog
Ascension by Giotto

Did you know that there are ten days until Pentecost? Did you know that today marks the first day of the oldest novena, when Jesus, before ascending into heaven, commanded his disciples to pray in preparation for the descent of the Holy Spirit? Have you vaguely heard the world novena before but have never done one? Perfect! Join me!

So many options…

Last year, the kids and I sang this Holy Spirit song for nine days and we dubbed it our own:

Little Mini Starter Novena

Come Holy Spirit, we need you.
Come, Holy Spirit, we pray.
Come with your strength and your power.
Come in your own special way.

I think it is only a fragment of a song that my grandmother used to sing for us when helping us get ready for bed, but it’s all I remember by heart. It’s simple and the kids love singing it. My grandma used to sing it with her eyes closed and both hands raised slightly. I don’t… yet.

(Update: I found the tune! Here’s a Youtube video of a young man singing the song.)

   

So far, my inbox has two versions of the Pentecost Novena from two different people and I thought I would share them with you, along with their sources. There appear to be countless versions available online.

Pentecost Novena, Version 1

Novena to the Holy Spirit Day 1
Charity

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Charity within us.

The great charity of all the the host of Saints is only made possible by your power, Oh Divine Spirit. Increase in me, the virtue of charity that I may love as God loves with the selflessness of the Saints.

Amen.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Amen.

(Find the Original Here: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/novena-to-the-holy-spirit/#ixzz3aDa3QBqa )
  
Pentecost Novena, Version 2

TEN DAY DEVOTION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
FIRST DAY

Introductory Prayer [1]

Come, O Holy Spirit! Enlighten my understanding in order that I may know your commands; strengthen my heart against the snares of the enemy; enkindle my will. I have heard your voice and I do not want to harden my heart and resist, saying, “Later…tomorrow.” Nunc coepi! Right now! Lest there be no tomorrow for me.

O Spirit of truth and wisdom, Spirit of understanding and counsel, Spirit of joy and peace! I want what you want, because you want it, as you want it, when you want it.

Consideration [2]

Pentecost: the day when the Holy Spirit
Came down upon the Lord’s disciples

Having just read in the Acts of the Apostles about Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit came down on the Lord’s disciples, we are conscious of being present at the great display of God’s power with which the Church’s life began to spread among all nations. The victory Christ achieved through his obedience, his offering of himself on the cross and his resurrection — his triumph over death and sin — is revealed here in all its divine splendour.

The disciples, witnesses of the glory of the risen Christ, were filled with the strength of the Holy Spirit. Their minds and hearts were opened to a new light. They had followed Christ and accepted his teachings with faith, but they were not always able to fathom the full meaning of his words. The Spirit of truth, who was to teach them all things, had not yet come. They knew that Jesus alone could give them words of eternal life, and they were ready to follow him and to give their lives for him. But they were weak, and in the time of trial, they fled and left him alone.

On Pentecost all that is a thing of the past. The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of strength, has made them firm, strong, daring. The word of the Apostles resounds forcefully through the streets of Jerusalem.

The men and women who have come to the city from all parts of the world listen with amazement. “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, Jews as well as proselytes, Cretans and Arabs, we have heard them speaking in our own languages of the wonderful works of God.” These wonders, which take place before their own eyes, lead them to listen to the preaching of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit himself, who is acting through our Lord’s disciples, moves the hearts of their listeners and leads them to the faith.

St Luke tells us that after St Peter had spoken and proclaimed Christ’s resurrection, many of those present came up to him and asked: “Brethren, what shall we do?” The apostle answered: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And on that day, the sacred text tells us, about three thousand were added to the Church.

The solemn coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was not an isolated event. There is hardly a page in the Acts of the Apostles where we fail to read about him and the action by which he guides, directs and enlivens the life and work of the early christian community. It is he who inspires the preaching of St Peter, who strengthens the faith of the disciples, who confirms with his presence the calling of the gentiles, who sends Saul and Barnabas to the distant lands where they will open new paths for the teaching of Jesus. In a word, his presence and doctrine are everywhere.

Concluding Prayer

Holy and divine Spirit! Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your spouse, bring the fullness of your gifts into our hearts. Comforted and strengthened by you, may we live according to your will and may we die praising your infinite mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

[1] Cf. Postulation for the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Msgr. Josemaria Escriva: Historical Registry of the Founder (of Opus Dei), 20172, p.145
[2] The homily: “The Great Unknown,” in Christ is Passing By, by St. Josemaria Escriva, is reprinted here and divided into ten “Considerations.”

The kids are particularly looking forward to collecting up all the leftover Easter chocolate for the annual Pentecost Fondue Extravaganza.

Come, Holy Spirit!

morningoffering
The taps are shiny because cleaning the bathroom sink is not my chore.

At some point, early in Summer, my husband scribbled the Morning Offering onto a piece of recycling and taped in underneath the bathroom mirror, above the sink. He got this idea at his mum’s house, where there is a nicely framed version affixed onto the wall of their main washroom, also within view of anyone brushing their teeth.

Our humble version is now water and toothpaste-stained, crumpled and almost falling off. But BOY is it ever a hard-working piece of paper. It’s RIGHT THERE. You would have to awkwardly avert your eyes to not see it. Every single person who can read in our house (which is now more than 50% of us!) is now more likely to remember to say this prayer as they start their day.

O JESUS, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings,
all that this day may bring,
be they good or bad: for the love of God,
for the conversion of sinners, and
in reparation for all the sins committed
against the Sacred Heart and
the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

It’s the sort of prayer that really helps me get into the right frame of mind. I can’t be all “Whoa! Sufferings?! Who said anything about sufferings?!” since I explicitly offered them up to Jesus, as I was brushing my teeth. I also offered some prayers and works, so it would be good to have some of those in the day, too.

longislandsunset
One of the highlights of our Summer break

The joys are bonus.


Photo by Scott Schuman

Pray without ceasing.
-1 Thessalonians 5:17

(Those of us who have no cell phones can use our imaginations.)

The folks at the parish office shared this lovely prayer just in time for Thanksgiving weekend. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


We are a family.

For one another,
we are love and trial,
strength and trouble.
Even when far apart,
we belong to one another and,
in various ways,
we remember and pray for one another.

We join now to give thanks to our God
and to ask God’s blessing on this family,
those who are present and those who are not here.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Amen

A bit of focus
We find that saying this short prayer before bedtime prayers really goes a long way towards collecting a distracted little person. Really little kids repeat each line after us.

Dear Jesus, I know that you are here.
(At which point everyone invariably looks around the room.)
I know that you can see me and hear me, and that you love me.
Please help me have a good prayer.

As it turns out, we’ve been using a simpler version of the following prayer that is often used before praying in order to recall the Presence of God:

My Lord and my God, I firmly believe that you are here, that you see me, that you hear me. I adore you with profound reverence, I ask your pardon for my sins, and the grace to make this time of prayer fruitful. My immaculate Mother, Saint Joseph my father and lord, my guardian angel, intercede for me.
(From Handbook of Prayers, James Socias, ed.)

Come away to a lonely place
Lately I’m finding that doing bedtime prayers alone with each child is a welcome change to the usual group format. Usually it serves to separate the gigglers from the giggle instigators, but I also find that the types of things that the children pray about alone can be different than the things that they pray about with the whole family.

A wise parish volunteer involved with the Time With God program gave my daughter a rock. She treasures like it’s a chunk of Mars, keeping it under her pillow and checking on it every once in a while. It’s her prayer rock. It comes with a tiny piece of paper with instructions (in verse!): put it on your pillow when you wake up, put it on the floor beside you before you fall asleep. It further explains that it helps someone remember to pray at night (when they clunk their head on it) and in the morning (when they stub their toe on it).

To me, something about the winding down of bedtime makes it more condusive to prayer than the rush of the morning. On the other hand, in the morning, I find it difficult to contain the collective energy of little kids running around getting dressed, trying to make sure they don’t miss a bus. Actually, let’s be honest, I’m the one rushing everyone around in the morning. And really, I’m the one that has trouble making time for morning prayer…

But this rock, this wonderful rock, has been reminding my oldest daughter to pray in the morning since Good Friday (when she got it). It’s good to know that those clever folks at St. Clements are on my team. Now if only they sent her home with one for me, too.

I guess I could go to the backyard and get myself one…

Full Disclosure Update
The prayer rock is lost. Gotta find a new one.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Between my morning prayer and bedtime prayer, the day goes by very quickly. Before I know it, I’m getting ready for bed, trying to remember if I turned to God at all since 7:00am. I am certain there’s an Iphone or Blackberry app for this — something that beeps at appropriate times. Unfortunately, I’m smartphone-less and have to rely on more primitive (and cheaper) forms of reminders.

Stubbed toes. Stubbed toes, paper cuts, pinched fingers, headaches – whose day isn’t peppered with small pains? Instead of letting these go to waste with a grimace and a grunt, use them as a remember to say hello to God. “God, I just stubbed my toe. It really hurts.”

Snacks. Saying Grace doesn’t have to be just for big meals. Before taking a bite of that mid-morning granola bar, one could say a mini-Grace. “Thank you, Jesus for this granola bar.”

Annoying people. Someone cut you off on the 401? Someone rudely insinuate that you shouldn’t be parking in the Expectant Mother spot? Take a deep breath and swallow your angry retort. “God, please help me be patient. Please bless this person. Please show me what you would like me to do here.”

Minor annoyances. No Frills has run out of their sale items again. The one-year old has flushed an entire roll of toilet paper. Your husband has shrunk your favourite sweater. “Oh, Jesus… No Frills has run out of their sale times again, my old-year old has flushed an entire roll of toilet paper and my husband shrunk my favourite sweater. Sigh.”

This list could go on and on, since the goal is to offer as much of our lives back to God. There’s peace that comes from looking at these little (good or bad) things as chances to pray. Acknowledging God’s presence in each of life’s little minutes lightens the load that we sometimes assume we’re lifting on our own.

What is this?

Here a volunteer parishoner at St. Clement shares her personal experiences as her young family tries to keep the Catholic faith alive in their homes, living out the promises of their Baptism. Thank you for stopping in and be sure to share some of your stories as well!

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