Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Solemnity of the Ascension

Today the Universal Church celebrates the ascension of our Lord, 40 days after his resurrection.
This blessed event gives us hope that we too will join the Lord in heaven someday as as he now sits enthroned in heaven on the right hand of the Father. At the time however, his disciples must have been heartbroken as they watched him leave them for the last time after having spent 40 more days with him after the resurrection. So God sent his angel with a message to reassure them:
"Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."
The Ascension starts the nine day period of tarrying and praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit known as Pentecost, the birthday of the Church! Based on this important event in salvation history the Catholic Church has developed a nine day pattern of intense prayer called a novena. The disciples obeying the Lord's words gathered together along with Mary in the upper room and waited and prayed for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The incarnational nature of the Catholic faith means that we still live out these events in salvation history. The feasts and solemnities of the Church are not just for a remembrance but to bring these events once again to the present. So throughout the world, the universal Church once again gathers together today to celebrate His ascension and begin the nine days of prayer asking God to again pour out his Spirit on us. This was not a once and done event!
You don't have to be Catholic to pray along with the universal Church in these next nine days!

Some may say, I don't have to be told by the Catholic Church when to pray for the Holy Spirit! My response is "When was the last time you did specifically pray for God to pour out His spirit on you?" If you are like me, you may benefit from the gentle nudging that Mother Church gives us to help live a fulfilling Christian life and to attain heaven, which is our goal.

We can all pray for His spirit to come upon us in a new way giving us the grace and power necessary to continue the gospel mission with which we have been entrusted. You can pray a novena with your own prayers but the Church has given us wonderful prayers through the centuries to use. Here's a link to a novena you an use.

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.


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