May 5, 2019

THIRD 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.

REFLECTION : “WOW!” Awe, Wonder, Amazement
TWO OPEN HANDS
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After all the Easter candy let’s try a little Easter exercise. Clench your hands into a fist. Now, open your hands, place them – thumb to cheek – like elephant ears. Clench your hands into a fist again. Notice that you are frowning. Open your hands like elephant ears. Notice that you are smiling. All movements used muscles but what a difference we feel when we open our hands and smile. How much better we look! How much more of a gift we give to others with open hands.

The symbol of open hands representing open minds, hearts, spirits and other-directed actions has become one of the most often used emoji. Emoji is a pictograph whose Japanese name means picture/character. Emoji began use in the late 1990s on electronic devices, the most famous being the laughing face and heart. It is staggering to know that over 60 million emoji are sent daily.

During this Easter season, as we focus on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we recognize that the Two Hands of God are always open to us! God’s open hands are seen in all of creation, our lives, Christ our Light, the gift of eternal life! God is our W0W! Opening our eyes to the fact that all is gift helps us to feel gratitude, which is the first step on any spiritual journey. When we awaken to the fact that everything is a gift of God’s open hands to us, we are enlightened and empowered to share all that we have with open hands for others.

Spiritual Practice
This week pay attention to your hands physically and spiritually. Are your hands clenched in little fists that are threatening, uptight, defensive, closed, limiting, fear-filled, competitive, and all about you? If you see your hands closed in this way invite the Light of Christ to open your hands. Invite Christ to be your light opening your mind, your heart and your spirit with the gift of God’s transforming WOW! Reflect on the gifts in your life, the good news to be found in every situation. Sharing your experiences with God especially the dark and painful experiences brings light and God’s compassionate presence. Gratitude opens hands, minds and hearts. Thank God with your hands open on each side of your face – like elephant ears – and smile … even if through your tears.

Prayer posture
Make yourself a living emoji of two open hands on each side of your face – the elephant – look again. Pray in this position. Invite the Lord to reveal new ways of seeing and responding to situations. Seek openness and ways to connect with others in love. Search for new possibilities, collaboration and opportunities to embrace others. Christ’s hands are open. We are invited to be living emoji of God’s openhanded love in action.

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