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Bless My Words, Lord
Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”
Opening Prayer: Holy Spirit, you are my light and guide. Please bless me during this time of prayer by opening my ears to hear the message you have for me today.
- Angels as Our Witnesses: Christians by definition acknowledge that they live for Christ. We do our best to know, love, and serve the Lord and we begin each day by reflecting on his holy word so as to grow more “Christian.” Today, we learn that Jesus may someday “introduce” us to the angels—perhaps by name. What delight! It’s good to reflect from time to time on heaven and imagine what it might be like. These thoughts can help to enliven our faith and motivate us to do just a little bit better today than we did yesterday, all for God’s glory.
- Blaspheming the Spirit: Can’t Jesus forgive anything we do? Yet, he tells us in this Scripture that we will not be forgiven if we blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Saint John Paul II explains: “‘Blasphemy’ does not properly consist in offending against the Holy Spirit in words; it consists rather in the refusal to accept the salvation which God offers to man through the Holy Spirit, working through the power of the cross” (Dominum et Vivificantem, #46). If we are so hard of heart as to reject the mercy God offers through the Holy Spirit, “it may lead to final impenitence and eternal loss,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1864. May our pride never be so great as to assume we can’t be forgiven for something we’ve done!
- No Words: How many times have we found ourselves at a loss for words? Or speaking the wrong words? Jesus reassures us in this Gospel passage that when we call on the Holy Spirit in those moments of grief, fear, or suffering, we will find the words we need to communicate God’s love to another. What a consolation it is to know that the Holy Spirit stands by to put his words on our hearts, so that we may speak God’s healing into this needy world. May we often whisper a prayer to the Holy Spirit before we speak! “Set a guard, Lord, before my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalms 141:3).
Conversing with Christ: Lord, as someone who often speaks before I think, I find the promise you make to send the Holy Spirit to inspire my words very comforting. Thank you for sharing your awesome power and might, your light and love with me. May I always bring glory to you in speech and actions.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will whisper “Come Holy Spirit” before I speak to my friends at work about anything substantive.
For Further Reflection: Read about St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose feast day is today.
Written by Maribeth Harper.