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Thursday, May 15, 1997

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Pentecost Novena - Day 7
St. Isidore the Farmer

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalm 16
John 17:20-26

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the red badge of courage

"That night the Lord appeared at Paul's side and said: 'Keep up your courage!' " —Acts 23:11

As we near the end of this Pentecost novena, in this year of Jesus, as we prepare for the Great Jubilee and the beginning of the third millennium, Jesus says again: "Keep up your courage!" We can be courageous, not because circumstances are getting better, but because the Holy Spirit cries out in our hearts "Abba" (Father) (Rm 8:15; Gal 4:6). We have not received a cowardly spirit (2 Tm 1:7) or "a spirit of slavery leading" us back into fear, but a spirit of adoption (Rm 8:15). We are courageous and fearless because we are adopted children of God, our all-powerful and all-loving Father. The Holy Spirit makes us deeply aware of this. Therefore, we not only have no reason to fear but we know we have no reason to fear. We are secure. By the Spirit, we know that the Father loves us as He loves Jesus (Jn 17:23). We live in the Father's love (1 Jn 4:16), and this complete "love casts out all fear" (1 Jn 4:18).

We are in a war against demons (Eph 6:12). We are in "culture wars." We are fighting for our lives and the lives of so many others. Jesus continues to say: "Have no fear. Take courage." Receive the Holy Spirit. Know the Father's love. Believe Jesus. Take courage.

Prayer:  Father, I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing (1 Cor 9:26). I fight by the power of the Spirit (Zec 4:6).

Promise:  "To them I have revealed Your name, and I will continue to reveal it so that Your love for Me may live in them, and I may live in them." —Jn 17:26

Praise:  Isidore and his wife were united in Holy Matrimony. They accepted their sacramental graces in full and are now both canonized saints.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 9, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 15, 1996