Act I v 8 the lectio divina…
Lectio Divina on the spiritual theme of WYD :
Acts 1 :8 ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses’
1. Christ’s promise for you now
Christ pronounced these words four days after His Resurrection, just before His Ascension on the Mount of Olives. The Apostles came and asked Him when He would establish His reign. It was then in talking of power (dunamis), that Christ seemed to indicate that for the last times, where we are (He 1 :2), the circumstances are such that the Church needs a special grace of the Holy Spirit, to be present until the end of the world (Mt 28 :20). He makes a promise that he fulfils a few days later for the eleven Apostles and Mary (Ac 1 :14) : Pentecost. For us this promise is still valid, for the Word of God has been transmitted to us by the Church (1Cor 11 :2) et Is 40 :8 says ‘The grass it dried up, the flower it faded, but the Word of our God remains forever’.
We can be sure of His accomplishment for :
Ps 33 :9 ‘He speaks and it is, He commands and it exists’
Ps 144 : 13 ‘The Lord is faithful in all that He has said’
Is 2 :22 ‘He is engaged to us in faithfulness’
2Tim 2 :13 ‘If we are not faithful, He stays faithful, for He cannot be false to Himself’
2. How to receive this power
The power announced by Jesus, is not that of personal strength, but the Lord God Himself, ‘The victorious in battle’ (Ps24 :8), particularly in the person of the Holy Spirit. He acts from the same power of the God on High who opened the womb of Mary (Lk 1 :38) at the time of the annunciation of the Angel Gabriel (whose name also signifies the power of God in Hebrew).
It acts consequently to make our whole beings welcome to the Spirit, through the five usual mediums in the life of the Christian (Word of God, Prayer, Forgiveness, Eucharist, spiritual direction) and by the attitude of our whole lives : Heb 10 :36 ‘You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God, and receive what He promises.’
In this way we can become ‘pneumatophores’, bearers of the Holy Spirit who transforms us :
Ph 4 :13 ‘I can doing all things in Him who gives me strength’
Ep 3 :16 ‘I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves’
This strength is in Charitable service ; it is the same Charity when we profess our faith in an All-Powerful God, it’s the all powerful love that we talk about and not the fantasy of power of the world that is always sought at the expense of others. It is Christ Himself, who is man and God all powerful, who gives us an authentic faith in his character ; ‘I am gentle and humble of heart’ (Mt11 :28). The power of love lived by Mother Theresa and John-Paul II has changed the world more effectively than all the armies in the world for fifty year by their testimonies.
3. Not being able to stop giving witness
The conclusion of Acts1 :8 says this ‘….and you will be my witnesses….’ Literally my martyrs, in the sense of those who give their life for Christ to save the lives of others and give Christ who is the Life to them (Jn 14 :6).
The Spirit of truth (Jn 14 :7) is the only leader of the whole mission and the one who produces the fruit ; our personal capacities are not important and mean nothing, 1Cor 2 :13 ‘So then we do not speak in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual truths to those who have the Spirit’. Jesus himself in his mission was led by the Holy Spirit (cf Lk 4). The witness can’t communicate the fire that burns in himself, and less the desires of God. We aren’t in a mission that appoints subordinates of God, the organ is the breath of the Holy Spirit, Paul is precise about where authentic testimonies come from 1Cor 12 :3 ‘No one can confess ‘Jesus is Lord’ without being guided by the Holy Spirit‘
‘The Father seeks true worshipers in Spirit and in Truth ‘ (Jn 4 :23). Prayer therefore needs to come from the Holy Spirit, for he gives in proportion to the depth of our expectations, and we thus receive the strength promised by the Word of Truth ; and then are pushed to irresistibly proclaim the Gospel, whether it is with the times or against them (2Tim 4 :2). Paul said again : 1Cor 9 :16 ‘How unhappy I am if I do not preach the Gospel !’ and St Silouane of Athos (1938) wrote : ‘The soul which knows the softness of the Holy Spirit, desires for all the same knowledge, because the softness of the Lord makes it impossible for the soul to be egoistic, but the love given to him spills out from his heart.