(originally posted May 30, 2020)
It was on Monday or Tuesday of this past week that I started to see social media posts with links to novenas to the Holy Spirit. Initially I was disappointed in myself that I had missed this opportunity to pray the novena of all novenas – for it is from the nine (novem in Latin means “nine”) successive days of prayer in between the Ascension and Pentecost that gave birth to the various novenas we now have as popular devotions in the Catholic Church.
But then it occurred to me that praying the Liturgy of the Hours is the novena to the Holy Spirit par excellence. For as Sacred Liturgy, it is not only the perfect preparation for the Solemnity of Pentecost, but the very participation in the mystery of those nine days that the apostles “devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brethren (Acts 1:14).”
We begin to see this on the Friday after the Ascension when, after the introduction to the Invitatory (Lord open my lips…), the very first words