“The Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in speech. He Who searches hearts knows what the Spirit means, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints as God Himself wills (Romans 8: 26-27).”
I love this verse! How often do I feel that I do not know how to pray as I ought! It is not for lack of trying. My day is in essence one long prayer, beginning with the morning offering and Divine Office and closing with the Divine Office, an examination of Conscience, Act of Contrition and closing prayers. Throughout the day there are rosaries, chaplets, and of course the highest form of worship: Holy Mass. There are prayers at meals, and prayers for patience, and night-night prayers with the little ones. I try to follow Brother Lawrence’s practice of the presence of God (as mentioned in an earlier blog post https://salvematerdei.com/2012/03/11/serenity-amid-chaos-practicing-the-presence-of-god-with-brother-lawrence/). I love sitting in Adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and allowing Christ’s love to fill me. Prayer is my life, yet after all of these years, I still feel I do it so poorly.
I’ve read the great spiritual treatises by the doctors of the Church. I love St. Teresa of Avila, and St. John of Cross, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas. Other patron saints guide my prayer life as well, including St. Therese, St. Maria Faustina, St. John Bosco, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. Theresa of the Andes, St. Pio, the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, and St. Gemma Galgani. Yet, the deeper I delve into the mystery of God, the more struck I am at the feebleness of my attempts to know, love and serve Him. I stand in awe at His greatness, and the abundance of His boundless love, and feel acutely my own littleness, and failings.
It is thus that I find consolation in Romans 8: 26-27. I realize that God smiles at my measly attempts at prayer. He sees my tiny hand grasp out of the darkness, and clasps it close to His heart. With His Holy Spirit, He searches my heart, and sounds the depths of my being. His love fills me to brim, making up for all that I lack. My poor attempts at prayer are not my shame, but my glory, for it is He who views them through Divine Eyes.
As we approach the great Solemnity of Pentecost, please join me in praying a novena to the Holy Spirit. This novena to the Holy Spirit is currently prayed each day after Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill.
Each day the Preparatory prayer is:
O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!
I adore You as my Triune God.
I bless You by uniting myself to the praises You receive from the angels and saints.
I offer You my whole heart, and I render You heartfelt thanks for all the benefits You have bestowed and unceasingly bestow upon the world. You are the author of all supernatural gifts and Who did enrich with immense favors the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, I beseech You to visit me by Your Grace and Your Love, and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . . .(state your request here). O Holy Spirit, Spirit of all Truth, come into our hearts: shed the brightness of your light on all nations, that they may be of one faith and pleasing to You. Amen.
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.
(Recite the prayer of the appropriate day)
O Father in Heaven I beg You to send the Holy Spirit. May Your Holy Spirit remind me when I am apt to forget Your law, Your love, Your promises. May Your Holy Spirit strengthen my memory to recall frequently Your omniscience, wisdom, goodness, faithfulness and love. May Your Holy Spirit encourage me when I am slothful; strengthen me when I am weak; enlighten me when I can no longer help myself. Breathe into me, O Holy Spirit, that I may do what is holy. Stir me, that I may love what is holy. Strengthen me, that I may preserve what is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may never lose what is holy and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . .(state your request here). .Amen.
May the Holy Spirit intercede for you and give you His peace!
Ad Jesum per Mariam,