Jesus said, “Ask and you will
receive, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…”
Also, Jesus said that anything that you ask in my name I will give you and ask
so that your joy will be complete.
What then should we ask of the Lord,
especially because goodness, generosity, magnanimity, overflowing bounty, is
His the essence of His nature?
Many ask and do not receive because
the petition will not result in glorifying God, in one’s own sanctification,
nor in the sanctification of others. As a good Father, God can say “No” if in
His Divine Providence, He foresees that granting that request could be spiritually
harmful to the soul.
However, there is a “Gift” that we
can beg from the Lord and this “Gift of Gifts” Jesus is always willing to give
to us if we are open to receiving it. This “Gift” is the Holy Spirit.
How important prayer really is!
Listen to the words of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Liguori: “All
the adults who are in Heaven are there because they prayed; had they not
prayed, they never would have reached heaven. All who are in Hell are there
because they neglected prayer; had they prayed, they would not be in Hell but
in Heaven. Two criminals died, one on each side of Jesus; one of them prayed
and was saved; the other did not pray and was lost.”
That first Easter Sunday night, Jesus
walked through the walls of the Upper room—the Cenacle, where the Apostles were
hiding in fear. He greeted them, “Shalom!”
Peace be with you. Then Jesus breathed
on them, the “Gift of Gifts, the Holy Spirit, expressing these words: “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you
forgive, they will be forgiven, whose sins you retain, they shall be retained” (Jn. 20:21-23).
When King David was anointed by the
prophet Samuel, the Sacred Text states that from that moment on the Holy Spirit
rushed on David. Let us pray fervently
that the Holy Spirit would rush on us.
May the Holy Spirit purify our memories of past sins; may the Holy
Spirit enlighten our minds with the truth; may the Holy Spirit ignite our
hearts with the fire of Divine love.
After a nine day intense period of
prayer--- the first novena in the Catholic Church--- a spiritual bomb exploded in that upper
room! The Apostles and Mary, the mother
of Jesus, had been praying and fasting for nine days. How important prayer is to attain the Gift of
Gifts, the Holy Spirit.
A strong wind, a shaking of the house
and the descent of fire. Tongues of fire
actually descended upon the Apostles and Mary.
Men, who just a few days earlier, had
given into fears, running away from Jesus, abandoning Jesus, and even denying
Jesus three times, were totally transformed.
Thorns transform into roses; coal into a beautiful diamond, clouds and
storm subside and the beautiful rainbow paints the sky. Even an ugly worm can
grow wings and fly, transformed into butterfly.
More important, poor sinners can be
transformed into great saints, if they allow for the divine invasion of the
Holy Spirit. Blessed Pope John XXIII
stated that the saints are the masterpiece of the Holy Spirit.
These Apostles were hence catapulted
to the four corners of the globe to preach the word of God in obedience to Jesus
whose last words were: “Go out to all nations, teaching them all that I taught
you and baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit. Behold, I will be with you always even until the end of the world!”
(Mt. 28: 18-20)
Being crucified upside down,
crucified in the form of an X and
hanging on the cross for days, decapitation, and even one of them being flayed
alive and final beheaded. Guess who the last was? All of these were the fearful, cowardly men
that first Holy Thursday night, who allowed the “Gift of Gifts”, the Holy
Spirit, to enter their minds, hearts and transform their total lives!
The same Peter who denied Jesus three
times, Holy Thursday after the Last Supper, after Pentecost and the descent of
the Holy Spirit, launches a sermon and the net result was the conversion
of 3,000 souls to Christ! The Holy Spirit’s power and ability to
transform is limited only to our lack of faith and trust in the power of God.
On one occasion Cardinal Suenens was
preaching in an outdoor Mass at a renowned university. The day was overcast, drizzling and the Mass
in danger of being rained out. His eminence
lifted his voice and preached loudly and clearly: “Do you want to know the true secret of union
with the Holy Spirit?” Silence! The
Cardinal continued: “The secret of deep union with the Holy Spirit is love and
devotion to Mary!” Immediately a loud clap of thunder could be heard, followed by
lightning and then miraculously, the clouds disappeared and the sun broke
through the sky, as if to smile on the Cardinal and all who were listening.
The great Marian Saint, Louis de
Montfort, expressed it succinctly: “Those
who love Mary, the Holy Spirit, flings Himself into their souls.”
Mary is the Daughter of God the
Father, the Mother of God the Son and she is the Mystical Spouse of the Holy