June 2, 2019

SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

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Christ Be Our Light

Follow our theme and review past reflections on our website www.stphilip.org

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit Light our Way
The Risen Christ commissioned the disciples and therefore us, to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News! Part of the Good News of Jesus Christ is the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us and among us. We are given all that we need to be the Light of Christ to others in our mission to love and to work for justice and the flourishing of all people.

As we journey through the Easter Season to Pentecost the same Holy Spirit that propelled the disciples to live their mission of Opus Christi, Christ’s Work enlightens us.

Through Baptism and Confirmation we are empowered with spiritual gifts. During this Easter Season we will explore thematically the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and experience them at work in our lives in new ways.

Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Fear of the Lord (“WOW!” Awe, Wonder, Amazement) is awakening to God’s blessings freely given: in the beauty of creation, the truth of compassion deep within us, the goodness of loving relationships – recognizing that “All is Gift.”

Piety (Reverence) is living gratefully in a graced world with a profound respect for all life and a passion to be faithful stewards of God’s bountiful gifts.

Fortitude (Courage) enables us to dream of what is possible with Christ’s love. Fortitude emboldens us to take responsibility for that vision and to creatively make it a reality.

Right Counsel helps us to sift and sort in prayer what cannot be changed and needs to be accepted and what can be changed and needs to be accomplished.

Knowledge focuses our priorities and shifts our perspective to think, feel and act with faith, hope and love.

Understanding is seeing, feeling and listening with the “ear of our heart.” Understanding and compassion are God’s heart.

Wisdom enables us to discern and relish God’s presence in all things, to trust in Providence and to therefore live with compassion on the journey.

Week V–Gift of the Holy Spirit
Knowledge & Understanding
The Countdown
A doctor walks into the examining room and puts his hand on the patient’s shoulder. “I’m afraid I have some bad news. You’re dying, and you don’t have much time left.” “Oh no!” says the patient. “How long do I have to live?” “Ten,” says the doctor. “Ten?” asks the panicked patient. “Ten what? Years? Months? Weeks? Days?” The doctor calmly replies, “9… 8… 7… ”

After the countdown, the patient certainly had a new knowledge and understanding of the situation. The Holy Spirit’s gifts of knowledge and understanding help us to focus our priorites and to shift perspectives. Whatever the patient was thinking and worrying about before the doctor started the countdown became immediately unimportant because of the new information. Hopefully, we will not need a bad prognosis in order to exercise the gifts of knowledge and understanding which teach us to think, feel and act with faith, hope and love. Under the guidance of God’s compassionate wisdom in prayer we learn to prioritize. Prayer helps us to understand what is important and to know how to act in situations and how to respond to others in loving ways. Very often, the unimportant, the trivial and even the ridiculous occupy our minds and hearts blinding us to what is truly valuable. God desires to teach us how best to share our time, talent and treasure.

In today’s first reading, Stephen is facing his certain death. Stephen’s knowledge and understanding of his impending death leads him to pray. Prayer focuses his priority on the forgiveness of his enemies – he sees what is important from an eternal perspective. In today’s Gospel, Jesus prays for his disciples as he nears his own death. St. Ignatius of Loyola, in his 30 day retreat The Spiritual Exercises, has a meditation that focuses on the contemplation of one’s own death. Far from being morbid, this meditation shifts our perspective to who and what is really important in our lives.

If you were given a countdown, what and who would suddenly become your number one priority? Probably, the desire to be loving would become more important than being right, people would take a priority over things. The precious gift of time – and the good that can be accomplished in every minute – would become eminently clear.

Prayerful Challenge and Opportunity to Gain Knowledge and Understanding
Invite the Holy Spirit to comfort your heart even as you pray this challenging prayer. Remember that you are always being held, sustained and empowered by God’s Spirit in this life and forever in the next.

Prayerfully enter an imaginative countdown with the Lord in prayer. If the minutes of that prayer were your last how would God direct you to share your time, talent, treasure and heart with another? What new knowledge about yourself or your life has been learned through this prayer?

What do you understand about yourself or your relationships in a new way through this prayer? What one action will you take to share your love in the little time left?

10, 9, 8, 7… This countdown may be the start of a dynamic and exciting blastoff to a new way of seeing our lives with greater integrity, purpose, love and with an eternal perspective.

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