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Wednesday, May 27, 1998

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Pentecost Novena - Day 6
St. Augustine of Canterbury

Acts 20:28-38
Psalm 68:29-30, 33-36
John 17:11-19

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the gift of tears

"They began to weep without restraint." —Acts 20:37

If you receive the Holy Spirit in this Pentecost novena, you will probably feel both more joyful and more sorrowful than ever before. Paul, in his life in the Spirit, proclaimed and commanded: "Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!" (Phil 4:4) Also, Paul, in his life in the Spirit, was often in tears. He stated: "Do not forget that for three years, night and day, I never ceased warning you individually even to the point of tears" (Acts 20:31). "After this discourse, Paul knelt down with them all and prayed. They began to weep without restraint, throwing their arms around him and kissing him" (Acts 20:36-37). These tears of Paul and of the Ephesian Christians were not tears of joy but of sorrow. Life in the Spirit is sorrowful, often tearful.

Under these conditions, will we decide to renew our Baptisms and Confirmations, let the Spirit be stirred into flame in our lives, and receive new Pentecosts? Because no one wants to repeatedly shed tears of sorrow, we are tempted to say "Go, Holy Spirit" rather than "Come, Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit respects our freedom. He will not force His love on us. We know that the Spirit moves where He wills (see Jn 3:8), but in many ways the Spirit only moves if we will.

Because of the Lord's love for you, decide to accept the joy and sorrow of life in the Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit of tears!

Prayer:  Father, "Oh, that my head were a spring of water, my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night" for love of You and Your people (Jer 8:23).

Promise:  "Consecrate them by means of truth — 'Your word is truth.' " —Jn 17:17

Praise:  Augustine wisely Christianized the pagan English culture by substituting feasts of martyrs in place of pagan festivals.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997