Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
Today we celebrate the Festival of the Holy Ghost. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles. He came to dwell in the Church and He came to dwell in Christians. He speaks through the Church and He leads Christians into all the truth as taught by the Church. Without the Holy Ghost we can do nothing. By Him and by Him alone, we are brought out of darkness and error into the clear light and true knowledge of God.
So we must cultivate, practise and preserve a personal devotion to the Holy Ghost. We must consciously and constantly depend upon Him for the gifts which enable us to discern spiritual things, and to think and to do the things that are right.
When we were Confirmed, the Bishop prayed that we, who had been regenerated by Water and the Holy Ghost, might be strengthened with the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and daily increase in the manifold gifts of grace; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength, the spirit of knowledge and true Godliness; and might be filled with the spirit of holy fear. So in Baptism we are regenerated and in Confirmation we receive the Seven Gifts.
In the spiritual combat in which we engage in the period of probation in which we now live, the Holy Ghost guides our consciences, enabling us to perceive and know what things we ought to do. The Holy Ghost grants to us a right judgment in all things and evermore to rejoice in His comfort. The Holy Ghost arouses us when we are careless, recovers us when we are fallen, by giving to us the spirit of contrition and restores us when we are penitent, by enabling us to fulfill the requirements of contrition, which are confession, satisfaction and amendment. This we do in the Sacrament of Penance.
As often as we receive Holy Communion our souls are strengthened and refreshed by the Body and Blood of Christ. The Seven Gifts are revived and increased. Our minds are illuminated, our wills are strengthened and our hearts are enkindled. The fruits of the Holy Ghost are produced: Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance. Our souls are sensitized and made responsive and obedient to all Godly motions. Our bodies are made temples of the Holy Ghost. So in the Sacraments we find our life with the Holy Ghost.
This life must find its expression in prayer and obedience.
We ought to plan our prayers in such a way as to include daily devotions to the Holy Ghost. The Veni Creator and the Collect for Whitsunday, or the Veni Creator, only, will serve the purpose. Most books of private devotion contain a Litany of the Holy Ghost.
The reward is the finding of the comfort of the Holy Ghost. He does give the peace which passes understanding. Our Lord did not leave us comfortless.
Affectionately in Our Lord,