PENTECOST NOVENA — Day Seven


Today’s gospel contains what I find to be one of the sweetest, dearest and most precious verses to be found in all the gospels. Turned to the Father, glancing out over the vast space of time at all the ages of his disciples, Jesus says, “Father, they are your gift to me.” Can you imagine? The divine Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, looks on you as a precious gift to him from the Father. An expression of such tender affection and loving care.

This sense of gift is a very concrete way to express the petition at the heart of this high priestly prayer, “that they may all be one.” This is what from the foundation of creation the human person was created for: to share in the communion of love that has existed from all eternity in the heart of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here there is nothing but generosity and receptivity. We long to have our lives, to be given our lives in such a way that we truly know they are our own. Even more, we long to have our lives received by another as a precious gift, a treasure to be cherished and delighted in.

“Father, they are your gift to me.” Notice the honor and affirmation, the blessing being expressed here. Jesus seeks to fill us with his deepest blessing, the blessing he himself receives from all eternity and in time at his baptism when the voice from heaven proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, on him my favor rests.”

To be filled with the awareness of being loved, is to be freed to turn to another and see the beauty, dignity and goodness inherent in them, to see that they too are gift to be cherished, honor, and affirmed.

To live in this profound disposition of giftedness, is to begin to generate a circle of community and unity that is the desire of Jesus’ heart for us, “that they may all be one.”

Another ancient title for the Holy Spirit is Gift. God Father and Son pour out the Spirit as Gift to us to awaken in us the truth of our being gift to Christ, awakening us to the giftedness of each person we encounter.

Let us pray:

Grant, we pray, almighty and merciful God,
that the Holy Spirit, coming near
and dwelling graciously within us,
may awaken us to the gift you have made us
and the gift that each person is.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
(adapted from the Roman Missal)

Father Tony currently serves as pastor of Christ Church Newman Center in St. Cloud.

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