It was a time of impressive miracles for it was time where the disciples grew up and walked closely in the Master's footsteps. They were able to love as passionately and generously as Jesus did. Their joy was contagious, their faith prodigious, and Christianity spread despite efforts to suppress and eradicate it. All thanks to the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
It is not any different today, we still face the same persecutions as Christians of old did, even though the persecutions take on sometimes novel and more cunningly disguised faces.
Alongside the bombing of Churches (praying for the Christians of Surabaya) and killing of people due to racial or religious differences, we see the changing of laws that threaten the lives of unborn children (praying for Ireland this coming week as they vote that abortion will not be legalized) and the inviolable nature of marriage. Advances in technology and medicine have unfortunately spawned new evils that cheapen the value of human life and expose especially women and children to more forms of subtle abuse and subjugation.
What do we do? We need an Easter spirituality, a Pentecostal grounding in order to live in our world as successfully as they did. It's not about a self-righteous, strident or martial reaction, much as it seems justified to pay back in the same coin. It's about going forth with forgiving compassion, courage and constancy. We must be unflagging in passion, full of hope and love. We cannot bow to evil and we must right the wrongs we see with wisdom, bringing light and life into darkness. The impetus for such enthusiastic fortitude can only come from a faith that relies wholly on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
During my recent ICPE Companions cell meeting we discussed two points of the ICPE Mission's Norms and Orientations: appropriating the gift of salvation in order to live in the freedom of being children of God as well as how we can live out our evangelistic or missionary vocation daily.
Paragraph 8.1.13 states that a certain spirituality is needed in living out our vocation:
It requires that the community as well as its members are being led by the Holy Spirit (R.M. 87). This vocation also demands an intimate communion with Christ, a self emptying (Ph 2:7) together with an attitude of thanksgiving (Ph 4: 4-9). It also demands loving the Church and humanity as Jesus Christ did, having a ‘zeal for souls’ implied by Christ’s own charity, which takes the form of concern, tenderness, compassion, openness, availability, and interest in peoples lives (Jn 2:25). The community emphasises that only profound love for the Church can sustain the missionary zeal of the members (R.M. 89). Above all, this missionary vocation requires a life committed to the way of holiness (R.M. 90).
This is the Way of the Cross, of living in the Spirit. Be holy, as our Father in heaven is, as our Lord Jesus was and is holy, as Mother Mary was holy, as the saints before us were holy.
intense in purity