Behold now bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord: Who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. In the nights lift up your hands to the holy places, and bless ye the Lord. May the Lord out of Sion bless thee, He that made heaven and earth.
Let all that is within you bless the Lord, sweet friend of happy memory, and I pray that the Holy Ghost may bless thee.
Come, O Holy Spirit, come!
From Thy bright and blissful Home
Rays of healing light impart.
Come Thou Father of the poor,
Source of gifts that will endure,
Light of ev'ry human heart.
Thou of all consolers best,
Of the soul, most kindly Guest,
Quick'ning courage do bestow.
In hard labor Thou art rest,
In the heat, refreshest best,
Solace givest in our woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Let Thy radiance in us shine,
And our inmost being fill.
Nothing good by man is thought,
Nothing right by him is wrought,
When he spurns Thy gracious Will.
Cleanse our souls from sinful stain,
Lave our dryness with Thy rain,
Heal our wounds and mend our way.
Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful who in Thee,
Trust with childlike piety,
Deign Thy sevenfold gift to send.
Give them virtue's rich increase,
Saving grace to die in peace,
Give them joys that never end.
I prayed the last of the gradual psalms for you this morning (I'll need to find something else to say tomorrow). Here is a summary
of their message from Cassiodorus, a sixth century monk:
It is pleasant to recount how these steps have led all the way to the heavenly Jerusalem.
On the first step
he denotes loathing of the world, after which there is haste to attain zeal for all the virtues.
, the strength of divine protection is explained, and it is demonstrated that nothing can withstand it.
, the great joy of dwelling with pure mind in the Lord's Church is stated.
, he teaches us that we must continually presume on the Lord's help whatever the constraints surrounding us, until He takes pity and hears us.
, he warns us that when we are freed from dangers, we must not attach any credit to ourselves, but attribute it all to the power of the Lord.
In the sixth
, the trust of the most faithful Christian is compared to immovable mountains.
In the seventh
, we are told how abundant is the harvest reaped by those who sow in tears.
In the eighth
, it is said that nothing remains of what any individual has performed by his own will; only the things built by the sponsorship of the Lord are most firmly established.
In the ninth
, it is proclaimed that we become blessed through fear of the Lord, and that all profitable things are granted us.
In the tenth
, he inculcates in committed persons the patience which he commands through the words of the Church.
In the eleventh
, as penitent he cries from the depths to the Lord, asking that the great power of the Godhead be experienced by the deliverance of mankind.
In the twelfth
, the strength of meekness and humility is revealed;
in the thirteenth
, the promise of the holy incarnation and the truth of the words spoken are demonstrated.
In the fourteenth
, spiritual unity is proclaimed to the brethren, and to them the Lord's benediction and eternal life are shown to accrue.
In the fifteenth
, there is awakened in the course of the Lord's praises that perfect charity than which nothing greater can be expressed, and nothing more splendid discovered. As the apostle attests: God is love. So let us continually meditate on the hidden nature of this great miracle, so that by ever setting our gaze on such things, we may avoid the deadly errors of the world.
The number of these psalms contains this further mystery: when the five bodily senses, by which human frailty incurs all sin, are overcome by the power of the Trinity, this leads us to the fifteenth height of the psalms of the steps; thus the body's weakness is eliminated, and eternal rewards are bestowed on those who conquer it.
Dear Rebecca, I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you step by step into a better world, leading you away from any stubborn self-will or attachment to error into freedom in the Divine light.
Beloved, what do you see, stripped of your body, facing eternity? Are you as you were, a sinner like me? What hope have you then? None, if you rely on your own strength. Even the poor passing world of your old life crushed you flat. And it is just a shadow of the world to come.
But it could not destroy you, dearest friend. You still are. It is God Who sustains you, the God Who made you in His own image. He did not make you for unending sorrows or regrets. My love, God, Who is Love, made you to be happy with Him in eternity.
Sweet friend, you have entered into a larger world. You need to be more than you were. You need to be perfect, to endure eternity. Anything less will shatter or wither away. You have been less than perfect. But God made you to live! Even though, on our own, we are nothing, and can do nothing of our own strength, we still have hope. Through God all things are possible. Ask for His help. Do not despair if you are not healed immediately. It may be that the healing has begun and you do not know it. Persist. Jesus said to persist in prayer until He answers you. God hears you always. He knows you. Our all-knowing, all-loving, all-forgiving, all-sustaining, all-holy Father wills to rescue you from destruction when it is truly your will, too. Listen for His voice and do all He tells you. Dear friend, do not try to hide from Him. He forgives when you repent. From the depths of your soul call to Him, and trust in His goodness and mercy. With His help, you will be happy as only a saint can be.
Today is Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. May the same Holy Spirit Who formed the Church this day by taking people of the old covenant and making them something more, take you, my dear friend, and build on nature and make of you a new creation, fit for joy in God's widest heaven.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for her
Come, O Holy Spirit, come!
Guide us to holiness and eternal life.
Labels: Pentecost, prayers for the dead, Rebecca