Adult Faith Formation
Church of the Holy Spirit, Highland

INFORMATION on Adult Faith Formation - 2015

“Let Us Pray”

The Church at Prayer in the Eucharistic Celebration – Ready, Set, GO!

As our parish begins this “Year of Prayer” and we settle into the routine of Ordinary Time, it is advantageous to take a more detailed look at our spiritual life. How does Christ live in us and we in him?

The first disciples were called while at their ordinary work.  They changed their lives immediately and followed Jesus.  We have also been called by God to change our lives, follow Him and thus change our world.  Yet, some are content to sit back and let "someone else" do the work of proclaiming the Good News.  Our Sunday Liturgy is a good example of this mentality.  This highest form of communal prayer is often attended and not fully experienced.  In fact, Vatican II addresses this issues in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy calling each and every one of us to Full, Conscious and Active participation.

Liturgy expresses in ritual what we believe to be the very heart of our existence, the Paschal Mystery.  Eucharist is the most visible of all our liturgical celebrations.  It is a radical call to faith and a means for renewing our bond with one another in Christ.

The word liturgy comes from the Greek term meaning "public work or work done on behalf of the people." All worshippers are expected to participate actively in each liturgy, for this is holy "work", not entertainment or a spectator event.

To participate actively in the Mass, we need to resist a tendency to passivity when gathered in an audience-like setting.  At Mass, we are an assembly of believers called to be a community joined in the praise and worship of God. We do this in the singing of hymns, psalms, recitation of prayers and responses, especially in our “Yes” to God in the Great Amen.

Like the first disciples in this weekend’s Gospel, WE have been assigned the task of ‘catching’ as many people as possible by sharing what we know about God and giving positive witness to our faith.  Our communal prayer ends with the mission to “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord and one another.”   What is stopping you?

 Dear Jesus, We are your disciples.  Help us choose with a confident faith to follow you always.  Amen.

“Let Us Pray”

Shhh, listen up..

 This week’s Gospel from Mark shows Jesus teaching with authority.  He has a message to tell as well as a crowd of people who were astonished to hear his instruction.  Teaching does not take place if the message is given, but no one hears it.  It is the same with prayer.  Prayer is more than talking to God, it involves listening as well.

The really wonderful thing about prayer is that it is the relationship where you can share all of yourself and know that you are loved.  God wants to be in relationship with you in every aspect of your life – in all your concerns, gifts, faults, and feelings.  This gives rise to different forms of prayer – blessings (and adoration), petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise – that connect to different times and situations in your life.  God is always ready to listen to our pleas.  Are we ready to listen to His response and boldly accept the message given to us?

Our efforts to carry out the mission of the Church are lessened if they are not rooted in prayer.  Pope Francis addresses this in The Joy of the Gospel # 262.  “What is needed is the ability to cultivate and interior space which can give a Christian meaning to commitment and activity.  Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out.  The Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer and to my great joy, groups devoted to prayer and intercession, the prayerful reading of God’s word and the perpetual adoration of the Eucharist are growing at every level of ecclesial life.”

Christ Jesus, as you speak with authority, help us to open our hearts and listen.  May we become the “deep breath of prayer” needed renew our church.  Through you, we will learn the way of goodness and truth.  Amen

“Let Us Pray”

In the three previous bulletins we spoke of forms of prayer that are quite familiar to us: the communal prayer of the Mass, what is prayer and devotional prayer.  They are ways that we “talk” to God.  In the coming weeks we will be introducing our community to prayer that will help us learn how to “listen” to God. 

This week we enter in to the season of Lent.  It is a time of spiritual renewal, a time of almsgiving, prayer, fasting and sacrifice.  This year, we invite you to consider fasting from your normal schedule, sacrificing some of the time you spend sleeping, watching tv or checking your facebook page and giving some time to the Lord in prayer. 

One of the best ways to begin to listen to the voice of God within is an exercise written by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.  It is a prayerful review with God of the last 24 hours.  It can be done for 10-15 minutes any time of the day. It is meant to help us grow in the ability to recognize the movements of the Holy Spirit in our lives and discern the influences that are not of God.

The Daily Faith Awareness Exercise

1. Act of Presence and Thanksgiving

Settle into a comfortable quiet space in your body, mind and heart.  Begin to bring your attention to God.  Recall that God is ever present and attentive to us.  Give thanks to God for your life –for this day as well as the people and   events that made it what it came to be.  Offer yourself back to God. 

2. Asking for Light, Wisdom and Acceptance

Ask the Holy Spirit of Jesus for:

The light to see clearly what God wants you to notice from your day.  Also to see what in you is in harmony with God’s Holy Spirit as well as what undermines faith awareness, trust and love.  The wisdom to understand what God shows you from your day to help you understand it in light of the values of Jesus.  The gift of accepting myself as I am and trusting that the Holy Spirit is present and active in both the graced parts and the sinful parts; that God loves you and works in you in and through both parts.

3. Finding God in All Things with Thanksgiving and/or Sorrow

Review the events of the last 24 hours and recall the people who were part of it.  Let the Lord, as if He were walking with you, show you where He was present and active in you and in others.  Let God show you where the Spirit was blessing you with gifts:  existence, work, relationships, food, challenges,  through a book or article that you read or music you enjoyed, physical exercise, or in some event that made you sad or in the experience of failure, discouragement or temptation.

Review the feelings that surface~ both positive and negative, the painful and the pleasant, are clear signals of where God’s action and the other Spirit’s action were during the previous 24 hours.  The feelings that are significant are those that tend to draw me closer to God,  (spiritual consolations -  like faith, hope and love) and those that tend to lead me away from God (spiritual desolations – like guilt, mistrust, discouragement, poor self-image, envy). 

Choose the feeling that most catches your attention (a sign that something important to my life and relationship with God is going on).  Now move to a friend-to-friend, heart to heart conversation with God as you notice the source of the feeling. 

If any experiences of a lack of inner peace, uncharitable actions or self-centered habits for thinking, judging or acting surface during your review of the day, ask God to enlighten you as to what attitude underlies the experience.  Such attitudes and attachments will block your freedom in trying to experience God during your day.  Ask Jesus whether there is any one place in your heart or any one attitude that He is calling for conversion.  Is there an area in your spirit you are being called to pray over more attentively and to take action on?  If so, ask for the help that only Jesus can give. 

4. Looking Toward the Next 24 Hours 

Ask the Lord Jesus for the favor of His presence, support, guidance and protection in the events and meetings with people that you anticipate in the upcoming day.  Ask for the openness and childlike spirit that lets the Lord surprise you, whether through an enjoyable event or in something that is difficult - so that you are open to God in the way or in the person who comes to you unexpectedly. 

You may also need to ask the Lord for the strength to:  overcome something you fear or dread; persevere in something; to be more sensitive to Gods activity in your life; to let go of something or someone; to love more; to be converted in some relationship; to accept the thorn in your flesh.  Ask God for help and guidance, deeper love and care, trust and courage, or whatever you need.  Conclude with an “Our Father”. 

p.s. Next week, we will learn how to begin to pray with scripture.



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