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Thursday, May 9, 2002

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Acts 18:1-8
Psalm 98
John 16:16-20

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praying no matter what

"I tell you truly: you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices; you will grieve for a time, but your grief will be turned into joy." —John 16:20

Tomorrow we begin the Pentecost novena, nine days of prayer in which we deepen our docility to the Holy Spirit and thereby receive a new Pentecost. However, the devil will try to rob us of Pentecost. He will bribe us to eat, drink, buy, or do something before we pray the novena to the Holy Spirit. We may think we're going to pray and may rationalize that we're only delaying our prayers. But one thing leads to another, and before we know it we've missed the first day or two of the novena.

Possibly we do get started. Then we run into some problem. We may be "opposed and insulted," and we may find it difficult to shake it off (see Acts 18:6). When praying, we find ourselves thinking about those who have offended us.

If we pray our way through this difficulty, we may find our prayer "dry," confusing, or even sorrowful (see Jn 16:20). As we agonize in prayer, the devil accuses us (Rv 12:10) and throws fiery darts at us (Eph 6:16). He repeatedly tells us that God doesn't answer prayer, that He doesn't care, and that prayer is at best a waste of time.

If "all hell breaks loose" in this Pentecost novena, consider it a good sign. The Lord is true to His word. A new Pentecost is for you "within a few days" (see Acts 1:5).

Prayer:  Father, help me to continue steadfastly in constant prayer (Acts 1:14).

Promise:  "A leading man of the synagogue, Crispus, along with his whole household, put his faith in the Lord. Many of the Corinthians, too, who heard Paul believed and were baptized." —Acts 18:8

Praise:  Ignoring the devil's threats of intense spiritual warfare, Mary trusts in God to lead her through another Pentecost novena.

Reference:  (NOTE: In many dioceses, Ascension Thursday has been moved to Sunday.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, November 15, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 16, 2001