Today is the day, if you want to begin the Novena to the Holy Spirit in time for Pentecost.
I am not the best at novenas.
But when I saw this one, I had a desire in my heart to pray it and for some reason, I did not miss a day. It was the Novena to the Holy Spirit leading up to Pentecost a few years back.
I was expecting my 5th child and had begun to do some intercessory prayer with a group of women at my parish. I knew that some deeper union with the Holy Spirit was something I needed, so I prayed with the intention for God to just give me whatever I needed to serve Him better. I prayed for Him to give me gifts I didn’t even know I needed.
I finished the novena.
Pentecost came. I felt accomplished, but nothing in particular changed or happened. I certainly was not speaking in tongues or interpreting them yet. One afternoon the following week, I was thinking that just like before all of my childbirths, I wanted to go to Confession and make sure my soul was clean and pure before I went and pushed a baby out… and bringing another soul into this world really meant, I needed to step up my game even more.
So I sat down that afternoon with a plan to go to Confession as soon as I could, and as I began to pray and examine my conscience I was flooded in my heart in a way that I cannot explain with words. I had to jump up and grab paper and pen because the sins just kept coming. I was flooded with sins, so many sins of my own. My memory is not that great, so the fact that I remembered so much is the first miracle.
But secondly, I am so incredibly grateful for this illumination of conscience that He gifted me so that I could confess them!
They were sins I may have never confessed because they were sins that weren’t on the surface appearing to be that big of a deal at first, but then I began to see how it hurt Him so. There was also a whole throng of people I needed to forgive. I filled up so much paper and at the same time my heart filled with so much gratitude.
I want to say that since then I have come to know the Holy Spirit in a much more personal way and am able to describe Him and what happened to me that day better.
What I know now was also very true on that day and that is the Holy Spirit is gentle, like breath, like wind, like truth.
He’s very matter of fact. He does not condemn us or yell in our face or or point fingers or tell us lies about how horrible we are. He speaks truth in the greatest tone of love and in a way we just get. We feel sorrow but not despair for these sins… and we feel hope and not disgust. That is how we know it is Him.
The gift He poured out to me was mercy.
It was done in such a gentle way, like the wind on my face. And with that He set me free from so much. I marched my very pregnant belly into the confessional on one very hot afternoon in September and knelt down, sweating and reading all my pages to the priest as quickly as I could because I was ready to be free. He said the words of absolution, blessed me, and I prayed my penance. Then I thanked the Holy Spirit.
I pray the Holy Spirit can be your advocate, your paraclete, your gentle breeze of mercy. Every time I do an examination of conscience I always call upon Him first. All you need to say is “Come Holy Spirit!”