Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
The Voice of the Holy Spirit
February 12-18, 2018
MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST: From the dialogue to the application in the Body of Christ
- To deepen and live out our prayer by becoming more aware of being part of the Mystical Body of Christ.
-to be attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts through prayer
-to give life to the body of Christ by listening to the promptings of the Spirit
Last week, we were invited to live in communion with the body of Christ united by the love of the Father. The longing of the Father for unity among his children is expressed in the prayer of Jesus in Jn 17:21 “May they all be one”.
This oneness is identified in the body of Christ with each part vitally-linked and united to Christ. As members of the human body, although different and many, we form one body, as we are all baptized by one Spirit into one body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13). As a single body, our lives have a mutual repercussion to each other and an act of one person affects the rest of humanity. We influence one another for the good or for the bad.
The promptings of the Holy Spirit in us, lead us to be living members in Christ’s body, communicating the life, peace, hope, and love we received from Christ to others. This result to a variety, a diversity of tasks and functions in His body. There is no dull uniformity, but the richness of the gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes to each one uniquely (cf. Pope Francis).
The Holy Spirit is our guide through which our listening depends upon. Which dispositions in prayer do I need to grow into so I can be more and more sensitive and attentive in my prayer life to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who reveals Himself in the stirrings of my heart, in the Word, and in others?
The Spirit reveals the love of God
Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 He has brought us by faith into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory! 3 We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance brings God's approval, and his approval creates hope. 5 This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.
Faith is the first attitude towards listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals to us the love of God in many moments of tribulation and joy in our following. There is a deep longing inside of us to love and to be loved, to give and to receive, and only by listening and being open to His voice can we recognize His grace of love.
Have we asked the Holy Spirit to show us the love of God today? Have we shared His revealed love to others?
The Spirit acknowledges and affirms God’s wisdom
5 In past times human beings were not told this secret, but God has revealed it now by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets. 6 The secret is that by means of the gospel the Gentiles have a part with the Jews in God's blessings; they are members of the same body and share in the promise that God made through Christ Jesus.
By listening to the Holy Spirit, we find all the reasons we need to support God’s wisdom. The wisdom of God is that all are called to actively take part in the body of Christ (even the Gentiles) those who we find weak, outcasts, difficult, hopeless, sinful, etc. All are welcome to partake and all are capable by God’s grace. As ministers, we are encouraged to promote this desire to fulfill the vision and dream of Christ in our brothers and sisters.
Where and how am I invited by the Spirit to be a minister of Christ? Do I have the same wisdom as God or does pride and self-sufficiency stop me from welcoming others?
The Spirit enables sensitivity to Christ’s body
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
“Make certain you do not perform your religious duties in public so that people will see what you do. If you do these things publicly, you will not have any reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, as the hypocrites do in the houses of worship and on the streets. They do it so that people will praise them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 3 But when you help a needy person, do it in such a way that even your closest friend will not know about it. 4 Then it will be a private matter. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.
5 “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites! They love to stand up and pray in the houses of worship and on the street corners, so that everyone will see them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 6 But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.
16 “And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 17 When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, 18 so that others cannot know that you are fasting—only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.
The three pillars of Lent: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving teach us how to be more sensitive to the voice of the Spirit. This sensitivity connects us to the mind, heart and will of Christ. With the observance of Ash Wednesday, we become aware of our dependence to Christ, our head. We are invited to share the same intention and goal as Christ has at the start of this Lenten season: to bring Christ’s love through His Spirit to all in living out His Paschal mystery. Our true communion with Christ brings us to true communion with others.
How is my disposition of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit? Is my intention the same as Christ’s intention as I live the three pillars of Lent: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving? Am I as sensitive to the needs of others as the Spirit is?
The Spirit provides strength
26 In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. 27 And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.
The Holy Spirit is the source of spiritual strength in the body of Christ. As active members, we are encouraged to listen constantly to the Spirit who is sharing with us our same groanings, sufferings, and pain in our prayer and in our daily life. It is the same Spirit who listens and transmits as well the groanings of our brothers and sisters to our very hearts. He brings all efforts and works together to fulfill the will of God in our being.
What are the struggles and challenges that I encounter in my daily prayer life? Do I recognize the work and voice of the Holy Spirit? How do I continue to live and move by the Spirit in the midst of weaknesses, challenges, and sufferings?
The Spirit unites us in peace
For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. 15 He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16 By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 17 So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all—to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. 18 It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.
Are we agents of peace and unity or war and separation? How is the Holy Spirit teaching us to live in the peace of Christ amidst the differences and diversity?
The Spirit sets the standard of service
I urge you, then—I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. 2 Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3 Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
Making time for prayer is one way of consecrating our life for a more secured relationship with God, with ourselves and with others. Constant dialogue with the Father leads us always to a kind of relationship where you are being loved in spite of and no matter what happen, you are sure that you will never be alone and left behind because this relationship is nourished by his Word. How often do we defend our time with God in order to be nourished and be secured in his love?
Live up to the measure God has called you - the standard of love for all his people!
Am I willing to serve God and others following the stirrings of the Holy Spirit? What is the concrete act of service that the Holy Spirit is inviting me to be faithful this Lenten season?
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
1st Reading – Genesis 9:8-15
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 25
2nd Reading – 1 Peter 3:18-22
Gospel – Mark 1:12-15