Branching-Out

Slogans and Shortcuts

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 21, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Did you ever notice how we use catchy sayings in the name of efficiency or expediency in getting messages across? Certainly, it can be profitable in merchandising and advertising. Good ol’ Benjamin Franklin knew that proverbs and maxims were useful. For example, he wrote, “God helps those who help themselves,” in his Poor Richard’s Almanac.

These concise sayings can be like little lectures or sermons that are easy to remember and repeat. There are a number of these verbal shortcuts that mention God. I will mention a few and maybe some timely implications.

Let’s look at that selection from Mr. Franklin I just mentioned. The implication is that God is always there to help people who take the initiative to help themselves. While the maxim might have the purpose of encouraging us not to be lazy or dependent upon others, it is important to remember that in all circumstances, God is ever-present to us to give us physical, intellectual, or emotional strength.

Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread that of them,
because it is the Lord,
your God who goes with you;
he will not fail you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)

“In God we trust” is a brief statement we see on our currency; we may not really stop to think about the implications of such a familiar idea. Especially in these stressful days of pandemic, political sparring, and civil unrest, do we really trust God? Many institutions have managed to remove references to God, so it would not matter if he were trusted. How about us, personally; do we really trust God? Perhaps we should pray and ask the Lord to make us more trusting.

There are numerous prayer resources available online, but even a simple ad-libbed shortcut is useful: “Faithful Lord, I trust in your mercy and love. Strengthen my faith and trust in You.” We might want to read the story of Shadrach, Mechach, and Abed-Nego again in Daniel, Chapter 3.

I have heard people rattle off this Bible quote: “for God loves a cheerful giver.” ( 2 Cor 9:7b) and just smiled in passing. Again, in these days of businesses being closed, people scrimping and scraping to pay for necessities, and anxiety affecting many households, being a cheerful giver to those in special need is a very good idea. There are food banks and community collections that truly need cheerful donors bringing aid and support. While we know God loves us all, this short scripture quote brings home the truth that God especially loves donors whose hearts and attitudes are joy-focused.

We often hear the expression, “What would Jesus do?” There were T-shirts and various other items carrying that logo. While only four words, the question had a wide range of implications, all begging the question of how Jesus would react to our modern-day situations. Do we ever think about that now?

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Topics: catholic renew progam, prayer, RENEW International, thanksgiving, COVID, In God We Trust, What would Jesus do, slogans, Poor Richard's Almanac

The Seventeen

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 19, 2020 6:00:00 AM

One summer morning my husband and I were on the way to accomplishing some errands. As we drove past a church, we caught sight of the busy movement of wildlife. Filled with curiosity, we turned into the church driveway to get a better look. To our amazement, there was a flock of turkeys: one hen, one tom, and 15we counted ‘em—15 very little turkey chicks! They were busy looking for breakfast and did not disappear into the cluster of bushes bordering the parking lot. We got a good look at our feathered friends as they cavorted around the nearby neighbor’s backyard. What a family! What a serendipitous morning ride for us!

In retrospect, those turkeys remind me that, throughout the course of any given day, a few large and a number of small blessings come my way, and I don’t always pay attention or thank the Lord for them. Perhaps we should teach, or, by our example, at least remind others about gratitude.

I remember being challenged to jot down things for which I am grateful, beginning with each letter of the word, thanksgiving. That might be a good lesson for children who have extra time and challenges learning at home instead of in classroom settings nowadays. Young children could use just the letters in their first names or their pets’ names.

For adults and children, however, gratitude is not a word game. It is a means of prioritizing and resetting our thinking. I used to belong to a small faith-sharing community, and its purposeful existence was focused on thankfulness. We were called “the Glory Gang,” striving for a measure of gratitude in action and not just words. We all might be pleasantly surprised at our creativity when we tap into it.

There are a number of passages in the Bible about gratitude. Psalm 100 is short enough to copy and keep handy and visible, perhaps on the refrigerator door or nightstand:

     Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.

     Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

     Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.

     For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

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Topics: catholic renew progam, gratitude, prayer, RENEW International, thanksgiving, Psalm 100, wild turkeys

Prayer: Questions and Answers

Posted by RENEW on Oct 18, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Creator God and Father,
you are closer to us
than we are to ourselves;
you plant the deepest questions
in our human hearts and minds;
inspire us to struggle honestly with these real questions
and to refuse the false confidence of easy answers.
We ask this through Christ, your living Word,
sent to reawaken your Spirit within us.
Amen.

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Topics: catholic RENEW program, prayer, RENEW prayers, RENEW International, hearts and minds, Questions and Answers

Prayer in a Pandemic

Posted by Jessica Guerriero on Oct 15, 2020 6:00:00 AM

The start of this month made me realize that we have been living in a pandemic life for half a year. What started as a whisper, a rumor, has taken over our everyday lives, and the effects are limitless. The struggles and losses have been tremendous and heartbreaking.

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Topics: bible study, adoration, catholic RENEW program, prayer, RENEW International, Sunday Mass, pandemic, COVID, social distancing, Zoom

How You See It

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 14, 2020 10:28:20 AM

Have you ever heard of lenticular printing? Well, that is the process that is used to create the print I have hanging in my kitchen. Basically, if I look at the picture from one angle, I see Jesus at the Last Supper. If I move slightly and look again, I see Jesus on the cross. If I move again, I see Jesus as the Good Shepherd. It’s all in one picture frame, all colorful and very detailed. It is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!

I don’t know about you, but I am inspired by visual aids. For example, I might be getting something out of the refrigerator, and as I close the door and look over on the wall where that print hangs, I see the Good Shepherd and am reminded of that beautiful Psalm 23, “the Lord is my shepherd.” A few verses might come to mind and a little prayer may be inspired. Lovely, useful visual stimulation!

We know people’s observations and conclusions do not always agree. Three individuals could understand the same concept in three different ways. We come from different backgrounds, disciplines, experiences, and belief systems; no wonder we hear of controversies and arguments.

Today is the optional memorial of St. Callistus I, a third-century pope who was greatly criticized, particularly by St. Hippolytus, on matters of discipline and doctrine. From the writings of Hippolytus, we gather that he considered Callistus too lenient toward sinners and differed with the pope on issues including the reception of Holy Communion, marriage, and even ordination requirements. They probably had read many of the same texts and documents but had come to different interpretations.

How we see things is a subject in sacred scripture too. In a few of the verses from the optional gospel reading for the memorial, Luke 22:24-26, we read about Jesus correcting the disciples’ vision of greatness.

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them
was to be regarded
as the greatest.
But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles Lord it over
them;
and those in authority over them are called benefactors.
But not so with
you; rather the greatest among you must become
like the youngest, and the
 leader like one who serves.”

Certainly today, with politicians at odds over a number of issues, we are bombarded with more than one opinion about many important matters affecting our country. I suggest that we bombard Jesus, our Good Shepherd, with prayers for patience, mutual understanding, and above all, for God’s will to be fully accomplished.

The way I see it, St. Paul had wonderful instructions for the Philippians that we should follow:

Do not worry about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace
of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your
minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7).

Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.

 Scripture passages are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 Resource: franciscanmedia.org

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Topics: catholic renew progam, Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, prayer, Psalm 23, RENEW International, St. Hippolytus, St. Callistus I, Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, Lenticular printing

True Colors

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 12, 2020 6:00:00 AM

With the change of the seasons comes pleasant memories of when my husband and I would go on little road trips to Maine and New Hampshire to moose watch. We were often successful in catching sight of those big animals, and in the process, I was made much more aware of the variety and beauty of the trees we would often just drive by and take for granted.

 So many massive, majestic trees proudly lift their limbs and branches skyward! The strong evergreens remind us of the ever-loving, ever-present, unchanging Lord! Nesting places for birds and forest creatures stand strong in the forests in all kinds of weather. Orchards provide wonderful fruits thanks to a God who loves to see his creation fulfill its true potentialand that includes us! Our prayer can rise to God that we may be more and more fruitful as we try to live out our holy potential. Our merciful Father gives us so many chances to turn over new leaves and show our true colors.

 We might be moved to pray with Psalm 1:1-3:

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path
that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law
of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its
season,
and their leaves do not wither. In all they do, they prosper. (NRSV)

In the splendor of autumn’s colors, we can give glory to our Artist Creator. The cooler temperatures and decrease of daylight time bring about chemical changes in the deciduous trees. Because of these chemical changes, the green chlorophyll color goes away, and we see the beautiful leaf shades of red, orange, and yellow. What an amazing process! Thank you, Father, for such delight to our eyes!

When we think about some of the many trees in the Bible, we remember the Lord’s appearance to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18:1), a detail that helps us get a picture in our mind’s eye in this life-changing story. And in the New Testament, in Luke 19, we recall the short tax collector, Zacchaeus, climbing a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus among the crowd. We might find it inspiring to take leaf-peeping rides or hikes and unite ourselves with the mighty oak trees. We might see Jesus a little better if we lift ourselves up higher above our everyday routines, challenges, and worries.

 Nowadays it is easy to take photos with our cell phones; we can easily take little notes of inspirations we might receive. We can find prayers easily online. I don’t think I am going out on a limb here when I suggest that autumn, with its numerous trees, could be one of the holiest and most prayerful times of the year if we give it a chance! And if we happen to see a moose pass by, what a bonus!

Scripture passages are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.

 

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Topics: Autumn, Church, Zaccheus, catholic program renew, holiness, prayer, RENEW International, autumn leaves, artist creator

Moments With the Virgin Mary

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 7, 2020 6:00:00 AM

 

 

October is the month the faithful devote to Marian devotions and praying the rosary. Our Blessed Mother deserves all the appreciation and respect we can give her. I offer 10 short meditations and prayers relating to her unique life.

1. The Immaculate Conception. From the very moment of her conception in Anne’s womb, Mary was free from any taint or inclination to sin. Innocent and spotless, Mary was highly favored and being prepared by God for her life of sacrificial love.

O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who are trying to resist temptation
and to atone for our many small and not-so-small sins.

2. The Annunciation. (Luke 1:26-38) Gentle Mary, bathed in Gabriel’s angelic light, was ready to surrender to God’s will regardless of her youth and inexperience. Her brave openness to God is truly inspirational.

Mary, thank you for your humble generosity.
Help us be ready to do God’s will.
Pray for us that we may understand what is asked of us
and trust in God’s protection in every challenge.

3. The Visitation. (Luke 1:39-56) Mary shared joy with her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth. The two women were together one trimester, serving, loving, and encouraging each other as their babies grew within them.

Joyful Mary, be our example of joy as the word of Jesus grows in us,
and we
  endeavor to share it with our families and companions.

4. The Nativity of Our Lord. (Luke 2:1-7) In far from ideal circumstances, Mary gave birth to our Savior. The sights and smells around her must have presented numerous problems in the stable setting as Jesus entered the world.

Mother Mary, intercede for us with your Son.
Please ask Him to help us to make
 the best of bad situations.
May we learn your patience and ingenuity as we strive
to help the helpless in our troubled world.

5. The Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. (Luke 2:22-38) Amazed by the words of Simeon and Anna, Mary paid attention to these holy people. Mary followed prescriptions of the Law and treasured the good words in her heart that would eventually be pierced as with a sword.

Sweet Mary, pray for us that we may keep our worries at bay
and try to stay
optimistic with the knowledge that
our merciful God does not abandon us.

6. The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-15) Most likely with a measure of anxiety and urgency, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt to avoid Herod’s murderous plan for their Son. Just thinking about that journey that, most certainly, was far from comfortable makes us more aware of how comfortable our life often is.

Mary, pray for us that we may use good judgement
in our care of ourselves and our loved ones.
Remind us not to take our freedom and safety for granted.

7. Searching for 12-year-old Jesus in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:42-50) Mary and Joseph must have been concerned when, for a while, they could not locate Jesus. Their understanding of Jesus’ mission fell somewhat short, according to their son. We might remember, if we are parents, when our young children’s agendas were not what we expected or encouraged. Parenting is not easy.

Long-suffering Mary, pray for us who sometimes lose close contact
with your son
 through laziness, omission, or sin.
Remind us to see Jesus in the poor and the
 lonely,
especially now as we suffer through the pandemic.

8. The Wedding at Cana. (John 2:1-11) Mary knew her son well enough to expect he would somehow help the host who was caught short on wine. Although Jesus said it was really not his time, he helped after all.

Wise Mary, pray for us as we try to do whatever Jesus tells us to do
to turn our  problems into solutions, to never sell ourselves short.
Ask the Holy Spirit, to bless us with wisdom.

9. Dying, Jesus gives Mary to Us. (John 19:26-27) Jesus gave Mary into John’s care. As Jesus hung on the cross, he thought of others. Mary, in her agony at seeing her son’s suffering, is given a mission to mother all of us.

Mary, mother of all of God’s children, hold us closely as a loving mother does.
Be our model of perseverance.
Keep us mindful of the price your son paid for
our eternal reward.

10. The Assumption of Mary. How ecstatic Mary must have been when she, in her body, was assumed into heaven and reunited with her son! Mary, the Queen of Heaven, had fulfilled her mission of love on earth. And, in heaven, she still loves all of us!

Dearest Mary, we thank you for all you do for us,
for all of your intercessory
prayers.
Hail Mary! Full of grace! Praise to the Queen of Heaven!

Painting by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.

RENEW's two Marian resources, At Prayer With Mary and No Temas, María will deepen your appreciation of and devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary and enrich your prayer experiences. Appropriate for seasonal groups, small Christian communities, and individual reflection and prayer.

 

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Topics: Marian devotion, Virgin Mary, Blessed Mother, catholic program renew, meditation, prayer, RENEW International, rosary

Open the Doors

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 5, 2020 6:00:00 AM

There I was, sitting in church on that summer day with my mother, as Monsignor Pearce read the Gospel during Mass. I must have been about 10 years old. After Monsignor read the scripture, he looked up and commented how warm it was in the church and requested that an usher open the door to let in some cooler air. At that moment, a breeze from an open window opposite the door blew hard enough to make the door open a few inches. It caused some chuckles, but I wondered if God had performed a little miracle then and there. Funny that I should remember that after all these years. Monsignor was a stern man and seemed very holy, but I don’t think he instigated a miracle. Breezes can open doors. 

I do think that sometimes we expect God to answer our prayers as if he were a magician. Certainly, he is all-powerful and did create the universe, but I have come to believe that we should not be surprised that our timeline is not his. 

Did you ever consider that God made the cycles and order of all things, all the processes, and configurations? If it were not for the patterns and predictabilities, the laws of nature, how would we be able to understand probabilities? How would new discoveries and inventions by us humans ever come about? Those breakthroughs and all-important “game-changers” are gifts from our loving Father! The more we use our brains and ingenuity to understand creation around us, the more we can be grateful for the gifts God gives us. 

Granted, sometimes miracles big and small do happen, and I suggest that even the definition of “miracle” can vary from person to person. I am sure you have heard that “God works in mysterious ways.” What is important is that God loves all of us, and we just have to open our doors of patience, trust and faith. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.(NRSV)

My stern pastor, Msgr. Pearce, did not have to wait long for his request to be answered by God, the breeze, or whatever. We, on the other hand, sometimes have to wait a long time before our desires are met. The Book of Psalms contains many keys to opening the doors to prayer as we wait.

Whether we are young or old, Isaiah 40:28-31 gives us hope and encouragement as well:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (NRSV)

We can rely upon the Holy Spirit who will send breezes to open our occasionally creaky doors when we faithfully pray.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27)

Photo credit: Simon Berger

Scripture passages are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.

 

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Topics: Church, catholic program renew, prayer, RENEW International, magician, trust in the Lord, God works in mysterious ways

Position of Praise

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 1, 2020 6:00:00 AM

We don’t have to move around so much nowadays, because we have so much information available online. If we want to research a topic, we do not need to get up from our chairs and go to the bookshelf to find the right volume of the encyclopedia. We don’t have to drive to the library. We can stay seated on our desk chairs and key in the subjects on our computers. Many people are working from home during this pandemic. They can stay positioned at their desks at home and do their jobs. School children might be learning as they sit at their kitchen tables.

 What about our positions at church—if we have gone back to church yet. We certainly cannot sit near other church-goers.

 I began thinking about our body positions when we are at church, even in “normal” times when contagion is not an issue. If we are striving to be holy, or at least, trying to become holy, we do spend some time attending Mass. We change our positions a number of times during the liturgy. Do we think about the significance of these changes?

 Many of us genuflect as we pass the tabernacle or as we enter a pew. I realize that many of us have trouble genuflecting because of disability, arthritis, and the like. Better, then, just to do a little bow. I have wondered, however, about some of the genuflections I have seen. I question if we understand that it is supposed to be a prayerful gesture of respect and recognition. Do we demonstrate to others who are probably watching a thoughtful bending of the left knee as we go down on the right knee? Do we say a small Act of Faith or other prayer of praise?

 We stand when the celebrant enters, when we say the opening prayers, pray the Gloria, at the reading of the Gospel, when we say the Nicene Creed and the Prayer of the Faithful, as we begin the Liturgy of the Eucharist, when we are invited to recite the Lord’s Prayer and exchange a sign of peace, and as the Mass concludes and we receive the final blessing. Why do we stand? It is not just part of a program of Catholic aerobics! Our rising signifies a call to attention, a change of emphasis, a reminder that something important is about to happen that requires our attention.

 How about kneeling? We might kneel when we first come into church and say a few centering prayers as we adjust to our holy environment. We kneel again during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as the celebrant prays the Eucharistic prayers and during the consecration and distribution of Communion. We kneel in reverence; we fall to our kneels in humility and devotion.

 And then there are the times we sit, when we listen to the first two readings, from the Old Testament and the New Testament, and the psalm. We sit and pay fervent attention also as the celebrant recites the offertory prayers, and we offer ourselves to the Lord.

 I conclude that body positions both influence and reveal our thinking. Our bodies and our minds are so importantly connected, and both have to be in the right place for us to be holy. Holiness involves stepping away from worldly things, being detached because of a higher, eternal goal. We have to slow down and strive for that which is sacred.

 Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. It is recorded that at age eleven, Thérèse developed a habit of mental prayer as she found a place between her bed and the wall to pray. She found a position in which she could think of God and eternity even at her very young age. She elevated the joy of simplicity to the realm of love.

 Let us pray and ask St. Thérèse to intercede for us that we may position ourselves in prayerful praise of God, our Father, in loving service to our neighbor, and in the attainment of personal holiness.

 Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.

 Resource: Catholic Online/Saints & Angels

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Topics: Church, catholic program renew, holiness, intercessory prayer, prayer, RENEW International, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, mind and body

'Medistations' on the Holy Spirit

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 30, 2020 6:00:00 AM

 

We are blessed to have guidance, inspiration, and enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. Let us pray with the following little meditations—kind of miniature stations—on the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

 

#1. The angel, Gabriel, tells Mary she will conceive by the Holy Spirit and bear a son, Jesus.

The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be holy;
he will be called Son of God. (Luke 1:35)

 
What a life-changing announcement! Mary’s holiness and favor with God have not been overlooked. As young and naive as she was, she was willing and able to be God’s servant. What excuses do we find for not taking on even small invitations to holiness? The Holy Spirit will give us the wisdom and openness to conceive of little acts of kindness for others and then deliver them.
 
#2. John the Baptist tells the people of a powerful Messiah who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.

John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water;
but one who is more powerful than I is coming;
I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire. (Luke 3:16)

 Most of us were babies when we were baptized. Before we could even understand the gifts of power and strength that were given to us, we were favored by God through the Holy Spirit. So now, let us not waste time before spreading the fire of God’s love to others. Now we know about our potential!
 
#3. Jesus promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will teach them to defend themselves.

When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities,
do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say;
for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say. (Lk 12:11-12)

Do we shy away from mentioning our faith, what we believe, when we talk to others?
We don’t have to be expert catechists to share our God experiences. Saying “omg” is not enough. We can vocalize our joy and gratitude for our blessings!
 
#4. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will be sent to his disciples.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
(John 14:26)

We can pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for help in understanding when we read the Gospels. We often need to be reminded of what Jesus has said to us. Sometimes we get used to hearing certain truths and need new insights. The Holy Spirit is great at new and practical insights! We just need to take the time to open our minds.
 
#5. Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit onto the disciples with the power to forgive sins.
 Jesus said to them again,

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23)

So, the sacrament of reconciliation was born. The Holy Spirit helps us with forgiveness—not only receiving it but also giving it. Do we have trouble forgiving certain offenses? Do we hold even simple grudges? God won’t hold a grudge. We can ask the Holy Spirit for help in the forgiveness department. Reconciliation invites us to peace and new beginnings. Check out that sacrament again!
 
#6. Jesus commissions the disciples in the name of the Trinity.
 And Jesus came and said to them,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….(Matt 28:18-19)

 We can make disciples with the Holy Spirit’s help. We know what it is like to share good news with someone. What better news can we possibly share than the good news of Jesus Christ? We don’t have to preach in order to teach. Actions speak quite loudly.
 
#7. The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages,
as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:4)

 Sometimes we don’t understand others, even when they are speaking our native tongue. People can get wrapped up in emotion, confusion, prejudice, fear, and say things they might not say in other circumstances. Words can take on many different meanings. We can ask the Holy Spirit to temper us in our language, help us think a little longer before we speak. We can pray to the Spirit for a unifying, patient language of love.
 
#8. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
(Romans 8:26-27)

 Help is out there! If we feel stale or rusty, or we need new prayer practices, we can ask the Holy Spirit for some help. We can ask help from friends and family, priests and deacons. Many resources are available through RENEW International. Ask the Holy Spirit for direction and motivation. 

Scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.

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Topics: catholic renew progam, Holy Spirit, meditation, prayer, RENEW International, stations, Blessed Trinity

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