May 25, 2020frjohnma


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.”

Comments (12)

  • Gerard-Mary

    May 25, 2020 at 8:54 am

    The wife of late pastor Adams of brightway church Jos proclaimed from the pulpit that her husband is in heaven interceding for them. Another close friend (a barrister now) said his late Aunt is surely praying for them, and many more instances – yet these are Protestants who don’t have regard for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the cloud of witnesses (essentially the Catholic approved Saints).
    More dangerous are those of us within the Catholic Church, who claim to be of very tight relationship with the Holy Spirit but at enmity with the cloud of witnesses, talkless of being at peace with immediate neighbours.
    Mary eschatolological icon of the Church, Queen of the cloud of witnesses and faithful spouse of the Holy Spirit. Pray for us.

    1. frjohnma

      May 25, 2020 at 9:36 am

      Hmmmm! This is a thunderous comment and an eye opener for those who have ears to hear. Thanks a lot!

  • Pauline Otu

    May 25, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Amen, thank you Father & may God Almighty deliver us from religious & spiritual illiteracy through christ our Lord amen. Stay safe Father.

    1. frjohnma

      May 25, 2020 at 7:53 pm


  • Juliana-Mary Ukeje

    May 25, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Amen. Thank you Father and may She also pray for all those who do not have recourse to Her. I pray that Her divine Spouse; the Holy Spirit will shed His divine light on such children of Hers, who as a result of their “unprocessed feelings and emotions” and “religious and spiritual illiteracy” are yet to appreciate Her powerful intercession. Indeed, we can never thank God enough for the gift of this triumphant segment of our “Communion of Saints”, who as you quoted in Hebrews 12:1, constitute large crowd of witnesses that are constantly waving & cheering us on with their prayers. May we make the most of this spiritual aid and be better prepared to receive the Holy Spirit afresh this coming Pentecost, as well as be more assured of a successful heavenly race.

    1. frjohnma

      May 25, 2020 at 7:52 pm


  • Sinulo Ude

    May 25, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for this message Father. May the unusual time being experienced in our world today draw all men and women closer to God Almighty…Amen.

    I completely agree that spiritual and religious illiteracy have reached a pandemic level in our world. Its all about misplaced priorities. We need the help of the saints and our mother Mary to sail through this turbulent world.

    1. frjohnma

      May 25, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      “I completely agree that spiritual and religious illiteracy have reached a pandemic level in our world.” This is very true!

  • Stanley-Mary Osegbo

    May 25, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    The attitude of some Christians both within and outside Catholic Church towards the above discussed article of faith, the Communion of the Saints, is all about religious and spiritual illiteracy which has reached an irredeemable stage in our world.
    Thanks so much Fr. for drawing out attention to it today and may the Holy Spirit through this novena open our eyes more on the teachings of the Church and help us to be true representatives of the Church anywhere we find ourselves Amen!

    1. frjohnma

      May 25, 2020 at 7:49 pm

      Amen and thank you very much

  • Batomaria

    May 25, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    This cannot be more brilliantly put, Padre. Wisdom will bid us to befriend these cloud of witnesses whose robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. And none can be more effective in helping us than the Virgin most pure as you rightly put it. More agonizing is it that, aside protestants whose ignorance can be pardoned, many Catholics have obstinately ignored the help of our Lady. The result of this is what I call ‘spiritual mastubation’ which majority of adherents will continue to experience in their quest to possess the Spirit,because they have labored all night without a catch! Lk 5:5. Lord, give us your Wisdom.

    1. frjohnma

      May 25, 2020 at 7:48 pm

      Waooooooo! Thanks for the insights

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev Post Next Post