The Great Promise
Presence of God – O Jesus, prepare my heart to receive the Holy Spirit whom You have promised and merited for me.
…The Church has been preparing us for the Ascension of Our Lord. [Yesterday], taking up the subject again, she goes a step further. She mentions the coming of the Holy Spirit, and in so doing, makes use of a passage from Jesus’ discourse after the Last Supper. Our Lord [had been] speaking to the Apostles and preparing their souls for His departure. Sad and thoughtful, they listen to Him, without courage to question Him. Like a kind father, the Lord breaks the painful silence. “And now I go to Him that sent Me, and none of you asketh Me: ‘Whither goest Thou?’” He hastens to console them: “It is expedient to you that I go, for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:5-14). Only Jesus’ death could merit this great gift for us, and it was not until after His Ascension into heaven that the Holy Spirit, the Envoy of the Father and the Son, could descend upon the Church. The Apostles were about to lose the sensible, physical presence of their adored Master. However, He would not leave them orphans and would continue to help them invisibly by His Spirit, who would take up His work with them. Jesus did His work in a visible manner in their midst; the Holy Spirit would do His in a secret, hidden way, but in one no less efficacious and real. Furthermore, as Jesus Himself said, the action of the Holy Spirit would complete His. “I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will teach you all truth…. He shall receive of mine and shall show it to you.” The hearts of the Apostles, still dulled by sin, could not really comprehend these profound truths; it was necessary that Jesus, by dying on the Cross, destroy sin—the great obstacle to the action of the Holy Spirit—and then, when He had ascended into heaven, He would send the divine Paraclete whom He merited for them and for us by His Passion.
The sending of the Holy Spirit to our souls is the principal fruit of the Passion of Jesus.
“Ah! eternal Word, tell me, I beg You, what prevents the Holy Spirit from accomplishing all His work in the soul? You tell me that the first impediment is malice; another impediment is the self-will of those who want to serve You, but in their own way. We want Your Spirit, but we want Him in the way that pleases us, and as much as pleases us; in this way, we make ourselves incapable of receiving Him. At other times, lukewarmness is the hindrance; we think we are serving You and do not realize we are serving ourselves. But You, O Lord, want to be served with humility and sincerity, without self-love. Thus Your Spirit takes no rest but in a soul which He finds plunged in humility. Alas! O loving Word, I should like to know what I ought to do about these hindrances, for what good will it do me to understand them, if I do not know the cure for them? Now, I see plainly that the remedy for malice is a simple right intention; the remedy for self-will is a will so dead to self that it wills only what You will. The cure for lukewarmness is the ardor of charity, which like fire, comes into our hearts and burns up all tepidity” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).
“Come, O Holy Spirit, sanctify me! Come, O Spirit of Truth, fill me! Your divine Wisdom will establish me in the truth. I am thirsting for truth, and wish it to rule over my mind, my words, my affections, and my actions avoiding everything that is opposed to it, not only lies, but also dissimulation, duplicity, and lack of sincerity with myself.
“Come, O Spirit of Peace, bring me Your peace! That profound peace which dilates the soul and prepares it for Your operations, that peace which calms and dominates all the sensible part of the soul and even the superior part.
“Come, O Spirit of Charity, inflame me and inspire me with Your love, so that I can pour it out over the souls whom I would bring to You! Oh! transform me into love; only thus shall I be able to fully respond to Your call, and be of use to the Church” (Sr. Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.).
Note from Dan: This post on the great promise is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on the great promise: Ecstacy of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, attributed to Alessandro Rosi, circa 1670, PD-US author’s term of life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.