THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: NOVENA TO THE HOLY SPIRIT – DAY 4
SURROUNDED BY A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES: THE SAINTS!
The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were “put in charge of many things.” Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world. – Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2683.
Rev. Fr. John-Mary Benedict Ntol Atep
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…” (Heb. 12:1). As we continue to revere and seek the assistance of the Holy Spirit prayerfully in our spiritual life, let us desist from doing things alone or from approaching God and engaging in spiritual matters without having recourse to the saints. Jesus Christ says why carry the yoke alone? Therefore, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30)
Religious and spiritual illiteracy is becoming too pronounced in our age. We are so learned in earthly things but less equipped in religious and spiritual affairs. I am afraid of the danger of religious and spiritual illiteracy. Scripture reminds us: “Let your thoughts be on things above, not on the things that are on the earth” (Col. 3:2). For instance, we want to pray alone and work alone for the Holy Spirit without respecting the place or role of those associated with Him. The worst is that many of us are ruled by passion and think it is zeal; some are overpowered by their unprocessed feelings and emotions and they say they are hearing from the Holy Spirit. Meanwhile, we see and hear of people especially Catholics who claim to be very close to the Holy Spirit but in enmity or without relationship with the cloud of witnesses: the saints.
An immediate example of a member of the cloud of witnesses around the Holy Spirit that is neglected, misunderstood, misrepresented and trivialized is the Blessed Virgin MARY. But God the Father through His Son and in the Holy Spirit had to accomplished His greatest works of our salvation through her in the Incarnation and the Pentecost (Luke 1:26ff and Acts 2:1-13). God does not “use” and dump His creatures who are carriers of His image and likeness.
Therefore, the cloud of witnesses are still very dear to Him and “When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were “put in charge of many things.” Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2683.
In our Novena today, let us ask the cloud of witnesses that surrounds us to be our partners in seeking the friendship and help of the Holy Spirit. In praying to the Holy Spirit for the end of COVID-19 pandemic, let us do so by having recourse to the cloud of witnesses. Implore the help of the saints on this Day 4 of our novena in honour of the HOLY SPIRIT. Begin with the Queen and Mother of All Saints: The Blessed Virgin Mary and then your patron saints, saints of your parish, devotions/pious groups, your families, enterprises and others. Thanks so much. I am praying for you and please pray for me always. “O Mary, Conceived without Sin, Pray for Us Who Have Recourse to Thee.”