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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

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Pentecost Novena - Day 6

Acts 20:28-38
Psalm 68:29-30, 33-36
John 17:11-19

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"the sword of the spirit"

"Be on guard, therefore. Do not forget that for three years, night and day, I never ceased warning you individually even to the point of tears." —Acts 20:31

Paul warned the Ephesian Christians individually for three years, night and day. He warned them of "savage wolves" from their own number who would distort the truth and lead astray any who follow them (Acts 20:29-30).

Guarding Christians against false teaching is a major emphasis in the New Testament. Jesus warns us against wolves in sheep's clothing (Mt 7:15) and hireling shepherds who don't protect the sheep (Jn 10:12-13). Paul told Timothy to "stay on in Ephesus in order to warn certain people there against teaching false doctrines" (1 Tm 1:3). He warned Timothy: "The time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but, following their own desires, will surround themselves with teachers who tickle their ears. They will stop listening to the truth and will wander off to fables" (2 Tm 4:3-4).

Using the sword of the Spirit (see Eph 6:17), the Church is to be "the pillar and bulwark of truth" (1 Tm 3:15). In the power of the Spirit of Truth (see Jn 16:13), we are "to fight hard for the faith delivered once for all to the saints" (Jude 3). We "must hold fast to the authentic message, so that [we] will be able both to encourage men to follow sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it. There are many irresponsible teachers" (Ti 1:9-10). "Their lustful ways will lure many away. Through them, the true way will be made subject to contempt" (2 Pt 2:2).

Therefore, "guard the rich deposit of faith with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us" (2 Tm 1:14).

Prayer:  Father, on this sixth day of the novena to the Holy Spirit, send the Spirit of truth.

Promise:  "I consecrate Myself for their sakes now, that they may be consecrated in truth." —Jn 17:19

Praise:  Maureen teaches her students to always pray to the Holy Spirit before reading Scripture.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007

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