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We Gather in Christ and Through the Spirit


During this Year of Faith, we will blog reflections and stories to accompany you on your faith journey.

“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.” -Galatians 6:18
 
A number of years ago I was asked to preside at the wake service of the six-year-old daughter of a friend. Claire was beautiful, full of energy, promise, lots of personality, and I loved her.
 
Prepared and waiting, I tried to keep my eyes averted from the small white casket. The funeral director gave me the nod, and as I looked up in streamed a line of six-year-olds hand in hand with their parents.
 
Overwhelmed with grief, I turned to a friend, “I can’t do this. I will never get through this service.” She looked at me and said firmly, “You can and you must. This isn’t about you. The Spirit of the Lord is with you. Now go and lead us in prayer.”
 
God’s Spirit is at work in us!
The greeting of the new edition of the Roman Missal begins with the familiar, “The Lord be with you.” The people’s response changes to “And with your spirit.”
 
The priest’s greeting reminds us that we gather in the name of Christ and that the dynamic presence and activity of God’s Spirit is at work in us.
 
When we respond “And with your spirit,” we acknowledge the mutual presence of the Holy Spirit in the people gathered and in the priest. This response is biblical and may be found in a variety of letters written by or attributed to St. Paul. It is a response directed at individuals and also at the entire Church community.
 
Why we gather
We gather to celebrate Sunday Eucharist to experience and be transformed by Christ’s presence in the community, in the person of the ordained minister, in the Word proclaimed and preached, and most especially in the Body and Blood of Christ.
 
We gather in Christ and through the Spirit for the purpose of giving worship to God and creating communion with one another.
 
We gather to be sent forth on a mission empowered by the Spirit to bring Christ’s reign of healing, justice, and peace to our family, workplace, and society.
 
The Spirit of the Lord is with us now. Let us go forth and be Christ to the world.
 
Suggestions for Prayer:
– Pray the new greeting by repeating it many times, allowing the truth that the Spirit is with you to wash over you.
– Recall an experience where you recognized that you were not acting on your own power but in and through the Spirit.
 
Reprinted with permission from Living with Christ. For more information or to subscribe, visit www.livingwithchrist.us or call 1-800-214-3386.
 
Sr. Terry is the Executive Director of RENEW International and a Dominican Sister from Blauvelt, NY.

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