Thursday, May 9, 2013

So what's a Pentecost Novena?

Art: Gates Dupont

Beginning Friday, May 10, you'll find a daily post as part of a Novena for Pentecost.   Here's a little background to help you understand what we'll be doing.


What's Pentecost?
The Jewish feast of Shavout occurs 50 days after Passover and it was on this day that Christians believe the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles of the risen Jesus.  Jews still celebrate Shavout and Christians still celebrate Pentecost but because their calendars differ, Passover and Easter have different dates each year, as do Shavout (5/14/13) and Pentecost (5/18/13).  On the Christian calendar, Pentecost Sunday is the 50th and last day of the Easter Season.

What's a Novena?  Why a Pentecost Novena?
A novena is a series of prayers that are said for nine straight days. The book of the Acts of the Apostles tells us (Chapters 1 and 2) that after Jesus' death and resurrection he appeared to his disciples for 40 days and then ascended into heaven.  Before his ascension, Jesus promised that "in a few days" the Holy Spirit would come upon them and empower them to serve as witnesses to his life and message.  After the Ascension the apostles and others gathered in prayer in Jerusalem and 9 days later the Holy Spirit came upon them.  So, the very first novena consisted of the early disciples' prayer over the 9 days between the Ascension and Pentecost.

What will we pray for in the Pentecost Novena?
 At Confirmation we pray for God to send the Holy Spirit upon the candidates and to give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence and the spirit of wonder and awe in God's presence.  The gifts we receive at Confirmation sometimes go unopened and unused for years and years.  Our Novena for Pentecost will refresh our memory of those gifts and reopen them for us.

What will the Novena prayers be like?
The prayer each day will be very simple: something like the regular Pause for Prayer and the occasional Praying 10 Minutes Today.
You'll be invited to listen to a song to help you settle down and find a prayerful place in your mind and heart.
There will be a short verse from the bible to reflect on.
There will be a brief description of one of the gifts of the Spirit, followed by a few questions to stir your reflection.
There will be a short prayer to the Holy Spirit.
Today's Take-Away: a thought to carry through the day.

Don't be afraid!
Don't let the words "novena" or "Pentecost" scare you away!  If you already stop here to pray every day or just once in a while, spend a few minutes with these special prayers over the 9 days between now and Pentecost.  This is all about gifts and there will be presents here with your name on them!

Here's a widget with the 29 songs you can choose from each day to set the mood for prayer.  Some titles repeat because I've included different musical versions of the same songs.  Enjoy! (The same widget will be at the top of the side bar through Pentecost.)

PENTECOST MUSIC by austin fleming on Grooveshark




     
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