May 29 is the Sixth Sunday of Easter. June 2 is Ascension Thursday, a holy day of obligation. In Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, the Ascension feast has been moved to Sunday, June 5.
May 31 is the feast of the Visitation. In the grotto in the Vatican gardens, Pope Benedict will close the Marian month at 9pm with a Rosary.
Your family can “close the Marian month” in an appropriate way, too. We crowned our statue of Mary at the beginning of the month. We will say our family Rosary at her statue on the last day of the month as a farewell — and then, on June 1, celebrate Sacred Heart month with a Rosary before a Sacred Heart picture (or visit a Marian shrine in your area or light a candle in the church.)
June 2 is Ascension Thursday, the day to begin praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21
Today’s readings are a kind of Advent for the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is coming. The great novena of the Church — nine days of prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit — starts on Friday.
But before he comes, the Church needs to tell us what to expect:
The Holy Spirit is necessary.
In the first reading, when Peter and John hear that there is a community that has only been baptized in Christ’s name, they are determined to fix the problem. If we don’t have much of a place for the Holy Spirit in our own spiritual life, we should be just as determined to fix it.
The Holy Spirit needs a good home.
As Christmas approaches, there is much talk about preparing a place for Christ in our hearts. That’s important and true, but the need for that preparation is even more explicit at Pentecost time.
Paul compares the process to “dying and rising again.” Die to your old way of doing things and rise as a Christian of good conduct who is ready to give reasons for his hope. Quick tip: In prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, make a list of what you need to die to and rise to.
The Holy Spirit wants you to love him. That means deeds, not words.
The first rule of a life in the Holy Spirit is to acknowledge him not so much in prayers as with the kind of living prayer of our actions. When faced with a temptation or a tough call, choose the Holy Spirit’s way with a prayer of offering: “I offer this for you, Holy Spirit, and ask only your grace.” Then watch the grace come pouring in.
The Holy Spirit will stick by you.
When he sees your good behavior, says Jesus, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.”
A model of this life is Mary, whose life was spent in the company of the Holy Spirit. We can make her our special guide when we seek the Holy Spirit in our life.
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas.