During these final days of this year’s Easter journey, as we prepare for the great feast of Pentecost, we are invited to pray the novena in honour of the Holy Spirit. Through these nine days of prayer, we imitate Mary and the disciples in those days of grace “joined together with one heart in constant prayer” (Acts 1: 14) in the Upper Room between the Ascension of our Lord and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
During his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of the Holy Spirit in bringing about the reconciliation and peace so badly needed in that troubled region. As he has said in recent days reflecting on his time in the Holy Land: ”I exhorted the Christian faithful to allow ourselves to be ‘anointed’ by the Holy Spirit with an open and docile heart, to be ever more capable of gestures of humility, brotherhood and reconciliation. ...For the Sprit allows us to assume these attitudes in daily life, with persons of different cultures and religions, and thus become ‘artisans’ of peace.”
May our novena to the Holy Spirit, therefore, be a time of prayer for our own personal renewal and a deeper living out of our baptismal call to holiness, but may we also use this time of unity in prayer to ask God for lasting fruits from the encounters and experiences of Pope Francis’ days of pilgrimage in the Holy Land: for the gift of reconciliation amongst neighbouring peoples and religions, for an ever deeper communion between the Catholic and Orthodox Church and for the gift of a true and lasting peace in the land of our Saviour’s birth.