Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Our Archdiocesan Synod is this weekend. Please keep the Synod in your prayers!
The month of June is dedicated to increased devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Let us ask the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph to teach us to love and console the Sacred Heart of Jesus!
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost! May the Holy Spirit set our hearts aflame with His Love! This week I share with you a meditation on the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. I encourage you to reflect over this message a few times this week:
“The Holy Spirit and Mary - together with the Blessed Virgin we await the coming of the Holy Spirit: While they awaited the coming of the promised Holy Spirit all with one accord devoted them-selves to prayer, together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. (Acts 1:14) All are in the same place, in the Cenacle, inspired by the same Love and the same Hope. In their midst is the Mother of God. In this scene Tradition sees mirrored Mary’s Motherhood for the whole Church. The era of the Church began with the ‘coming’, that is to say, with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, together with Mary, the Lord’s Mother. (St. John Paul II, Dominum et Vivificantem, 18 May 1986, 25)
Our Lady lives what is like a second Advent, an expectation which prepares the Holy Spirit’s full communication of His gifts to the new-born Church. This Advent is at once very like and very different from the first, the one which prepared for the birth of Jesus. Very similar, because in both we find prayer, recollection, Faith in the promise and a burning desire that the promise be fulfilled. Mary, bearing Jesus in her womb, remained in the silence of her contemplation. Now our Lady lives deeply united to her glorified Son. (cf. M.D. Philippe, The Mystery of Mary, Madrid)
This second waiting is very different from the first. In the first Ad-vent, the Virgin is the only one to live the promise fulfilled in her womb. Here she waits accompanied by the Apostles and the holy women. This is a shared expectation, that of the Church which is about to manifest itself publicly around our Lady. Mary, who conceived Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit, the Love of the living God, presides over the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit Himself descends upon the disciples and pours out life in unity and in charity upon the Mystical Body of Christians. (St. Paul VI, Address, 25 October 1969)
The resolution of our prayer… is to await the coming of the Paraclete, closely united to our Mother by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, Who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 59), changing her into the new Tabernacle of God. She, who at the start of the Redemption gave us her Son, now by her most powerful intercession obtained for the newborn Church the prodigious Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit of the Divine Redeemer Who had already been given on the Cross. (Venerable Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 29 June 1943)
It was St. Luke who related this fact, the evangelist who gave us the longest account of Jesus’ childhood. It is as if he wanted us to under-stand that just as Mary had a major role in the Incarnation of the
Word, she was intimately involved in the beginning of the Church, Christ’s Body. (St. J. Escriva, Christ Is Passing By, 141)
Mary is our path to a better disposition for greater friendship with the Paraclete and greater docility to His inspirations. The Apostles under-stood this: that is why we see them beside her in the Cenacle.
Let us examine the quality of our habitual relationship with Mary, and make some practical resolution today. Let us take greater care when we recite the Holy Rosary, contemplating its mysteries; let us offer her some little sacrifice, different from those we are accustomed to make during the week. Let us show greater affection when we greet her, through her images which we see in the street, or in our room.
The Holy Spirit in Mary’s life: The Blessed Virgin received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost with a unique fullness. This was so because her heart was the purest, the freest, the heart which most incomparably loved the Most Blessed Trinity. The Paraclete came down upon the soul of the Blessed Virgin and filled it in a new way. He is the sweet Guest of Mary’s soul. Our Lord had promised to him who loved God: We will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23) This promise is fulfilled above all in Our Lady.
She, God’s masterpiece (St. J. Escriva, Friends of God, 292), had been prepared with immense care by the Holy Spirit to be the living tabernacle of the Son of God. Therefore the Angel greets her: Hail, Full of Grace. (Luke 1:28) And, already possessed by the Holy Spirit and filled with His grace, she received yet another new and singular fullness of that Grace: The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. (Luke 1:35) Redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of the Mother of the Son of God, and therefore she is also the beloved Daughter of the Father and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime Grace, she far surpasses all creatures, both in Heaven and on earth. (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 53)
During her life our Lady grew continually in Love for God the Father, God the Son (her Son Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. She corresponded to all the inspirations and motions of the Paraclete, and each time she was docile to those inspirations she received new Graces. She never offered the least resistance, never denied God anything. Her growth in human and Supernatural Virtues was continuous, under a special influence of Grace.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Rom. 8:14)
No creature allowed itself to be led and guided by the Holy Spirit as did our holy Mother Mary. None lived Divine Filiation as she did. The Holy Spirit, Who had lived in Mary since the mystery of her Immaculate Conception, came on the day of Pentecost to dwell in her in a new way. All the promises Jesus had made about the Paraclete are fully accomplished in the soul of the Blessed Virgin: He will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26) He will guide you into all the Truth. (John 16:13)
The Blessed Virgin is the creature God loves most. As for us, if inspite of so many offences He receives us as the father receives the prodigal son, though we are sinners He loves us with an infinite Love and fills us with gifts as often as we correspond with His Graces. If He is so generous with those who have offended Him, what won’t He do to honor His immaculate Mother, the most Holy Virgin, faithful always? If the love of God can achieve such great results, when the response from our human heart - which is frequently a traitor - is so small, how much more will it accomplish in the heart of Mary, who never resisted in the slightest the Will of God! (St. J. Escriva, Christ Is Passing By, 178)
The Virgin Mary heart of the nascent Church, collaborates actively in the Holy Spirit’s action in souls: All that has been done in the Church from its birth up to our own day is the work of the Holy Spirit: the evangelization of the world, conversions, the Fortitude of the martyrs, the holiness of its members. W hat the soul is to the body of man, St. Augustine teaches, the Holy Spirit is in the Body of Jesus Christ which is the Church. The Holy Spirit acts in the Church as the soul acts in the members of a body (St. Augustine, Sermon 267); it gives life, develops it and is its principle of unity. Through Him we live the life of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in union with Mary, with all the Angels and Saints in Heaven, with those who are being purified in Purgatory and those who are still pilgrims upon earth.
The Holy Spirit is also the Sanctifier of our soul. All our good works, the inspirations and desires which impel us to be better, the necessary help to realize them, all this is the work of the Paraclete. Our Divine Teacher holds His school within the souls of those who ask Him and who really want to have Him as their Teacher. (F. J. del Valle, About the Holy Spirit, Day 4) His action is preceded by the beaming rays of His light and knowledge. He comes with the Truth of the real protector; for He comes to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console, to illumine in the first place the mind of the person who receives Him, and through that person’s works, the minds of others. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 16 on the Holy Spirit, 1) And just as he who was in darkness, when the sun rises receives its light through his bodily eyes, and contemplates in all clarity what he could not see before, so he who is found worthy of the gift of the Holy Spirit finds his soul full of Light, and, raised above natural reasoning, sees that which he formerly did not know.
After Pentecost our Lady is as it were, the heart of the infant Church! (R. Garrigou-Lagrange, The Mother of the Saviour) The Holy Spirit, Who had prepared her to be the Mother of God, now at Pentecost disposes her to be Mother of the Church and of each one of us.
The Holy Spirit never ceases to act within the Church. On every side He awakens new desires of holiness, new and at the same time better Children of God, who have their finished Model in Jesus Christ, the first-born of many brethren. Our Lady, collaborating actively with the Holy Spirit in souls, exercises her maternity over all her children. And so she is proclaimed by the title of Mother of the Church, that is to say, Mother of the whole People of God, as much of the faithful as of the Pastors, who call her loving Mother. And we wish that from now on she be honored and invoked by the whole Christian people with this most pleasing title.(St. Paul VI, A ddress to the Council, 2 September 1964) Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us and help us to prepare, for the coming of the Paraclete into our souls.” (From In Conversation with God, by Francis Fernandez)
Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, St. Joseph, St. Michael and St. Paul, may God grant us the Grace to live and proclaim the Gospel in union with the Holy Spirit!
In Christ through Mary,