Today, we celebrate the birthday of the Church.  Pentecost, as we read in the Gospel of John 20:19-23, is when the disciples received the third part of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

Many other Christian denominations question the need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, believing that there is no need for a Priest to forgive sins.  We see a clear example of the direction of Jesus in John 20, where the disciples are told that “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them.”  The disciples are the model for all Catholic Priests.  The ability to forgive sins is a gift from Jesus to His disciples and His Church in general, governed by the Holy Spirit.  Let’s look at the Gospel of John 20:19-23 for further reference:

(John 20:19-23 NASB)
So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

It is important to remember that the Catholic Church is the Church given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Church over the centuries has seen its scandals because of the corruption of man but the Church itself has always been a perfect reflection of the wishes of Jesus.  Still today, we are guided by the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the intercessions of the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother Mary.  We are guided by the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we may please our Lord.

There are many who question the authenticity of the Apparitions of our Blessed Mother at Fatima and other places such as Medjugorje, which was recently accepted and approved by the Church as authentic.  The visions of our Blessed Mother continue in Medjugorje still today.  Think of the amazing gift we are being given.  God is still sending His emissaries to us out of love for us with the hope that we will see conversion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who died for us so that we may have the chance to be saved and reside with our Lord, everlasting.

At Fatima, the children were given 5 new prayers to pray.  These prayers were recently presented in a Church Bulletin at the parish of Mary, Queen of Heaven in Jacksonville Florida by Father Denis O’Shaughnessy,

  1.  The Fatmia Prayer/Decade Prayer:  “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.  Amen.” Mary told the children that people should add this prayer to the end of each decade of the Rosary.
  2. The Pardon Prayer: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee!  I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.”  This prayer was given to the children by the Angel that visited them in 1916, the year before Mary appeared to them.
  3. The Angel’s Prayer:  “O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit I adore Thee profoundly.  I offer Thee the most precious Bod, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended.  By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”  This is another prayer given to the children by the angel.  There was a Eucharistic host and chalice suspended in the air and the angel led them in kneeling before it, and then praying this prayer.
  4. The Eucharistic Prayer: “Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee!  My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”  When Mary appeared to the children for the first time on May 13, 1917, she said, “You will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”  According to Lucia, one of the children, a bright light shone all around them and without thinking about it, they all started reciting this prayer.
  5. The Sacrifice Prayer: “O Jesus, it is for the love of Thee, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners [that I do this].”  Mary gave the children this prayer, as well as the Fatima Prayer/Decade Prayer, on June 13th 1917.  The prayer is meant to be recited whenever you are offering up some suffering to God.

We are blessed to be given the opportunity to share “forever” with our Lord in Paradise.  Sadly, too many do not recognize the great gift of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.  When we are in a time of struggle, we can invoke the Holy Spirit and ask Him for support and guidance.  He will be there for us!  As we can see in the Gospel of John in Chapters 14, 15 & 16, Jesus had to ascend into Heaven in order for Him to send his Helper, the Holy Spirit to advocate on our behalf.

(John 14:26 NASB) “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
(John 15:26 NASB) “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,
(John 16:7 NASB) “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

We have the chance to help others to understand the great gift our Lord and Savior gave to us, the undeserving.  God’s Grace is a gift for we cannot earn grace.  We allow ourselves to get so wrapped up in our earthly lives that we fail to recognize the wonders that exist around us.  If ever anyone needed proof of the existence of a Loving God, he simply needs to look at the wonders of our universe and the amazing sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus.

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

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