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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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St. Rita of Cascia
Pentecost Novena - Day 5

Acts 20:17-27
Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21
John 17:1-11

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death's door

"I know as I speak these words that none of you among whom I went about preaching the kingdom will ever see my face again." —Acts 20:25

The Lord tells us to think of the day of our death (see Sir 7:36; 28:6). This should not be a morbid thought but rather a way we can get a true perspective on the present. For example, when we think of our deathday, some things clamoring for our attention today seem almost meaningless, while other things that we daily take for granted are recognized as ultimately very significant. The thought of death often clears our vision enough for us to realize that we have wasted much of our lives.

However, Jesus did not have this experience. When He thought of His imminent death, He had no regrets. He prayed to His Father: "I have given You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do" (Jn 17:4). Paul likewise looked back on his life as fulfilled rather than empty as he finished the race and completed the service the Lord had assigned to him (Acts 20:24).

How can we keep from wasting our lives? How can we see the truth before it's too late? Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we get in touch with the reality of death and life. Only the Spirit can conquer the illusory, deadly desires of the flesh (see Gal 5:17; Eph 4:22). Only the Spirit of truth is greater than the spirit of death and deception (see 1 Jn 4:4, 6). We either receive the Holy Spirit or live the regrettable stupor of a living death (1 Jn 3:14). Come, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:  Father, do in me what You must in order to do through me what You will.

Promise:  "Eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God, and Him Whom You have sent, Jesus Christ." —Jn 17:3

Praise:  Through much personal suffering, St. Rita developed a deep devotion to Christ's Passion.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 31, 2011

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