With the dramatic stepping down of Pope Benedict, and looking forward to the Conclave to elect the new Pope, the eyes of the world media are once again on the Vatican. As Catholics it's time for both thanksgiving and intense supplication.
Grateful that after the time of the giant witness of the Blessed John Paul II, the Lord indulged the Church with another holy and wise pontiff. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was a teacher par excellence and showed us Christ in an entirely new way - even in his great act of humility of stepping down, teaching a power-hungry world the true meaning of sanctity and the inner freedom which flows from it.
But now 'Sede Vecante' is here - and each Catholic is summoned to recognise that "the time of great responsibility has arrived." And it would be complacency and ungratefulness on our part if we take the Holy Spirit for granted. As Archbishop Charles Chaput says:
"Christ deserves our love – a love expressed in our worship, service to others and obedience to the Church... The Church is His spouse.... (it) is finally not an institution, corporation or bureaucracy, but our mother and teacher".
I am posting a simple Novena prayer asking the Holy Spirit for an outpouring of His grace on the Conclave Fathers. Pray the Holy Rosary, followed by the Novena prayer in the Prayer Card (scroll down to the image, right click on the image, and 'Save Image as'). Please pray this for nine consecutive days. Since there is no separate prayer for each day, it's easy to start any day.
It's easy to invite your friend to pray as well via facebook. If you would like to have the Prayer Card separately download it here. Or if you would like to print-out a few to distribute in your group or among your friends, you can also download the A4 version with 9 Prayer cards.
Let us never stop thanking the Lord for the exceptional privilege of two saintly Popes back to back in one lifetime. Awash in grace twice over, let us then resolve to redouble our Lenten prayers and sacrifice for another new Pontiff after the heart of Christ who will take on the challenges posed by a post-modern world and gather us all for a new 'springtime of Christianity'.