Day 3

We Begin

Let us begin by lighting a candle, making the sign of the Cross, quieting ourselves and welcoming God into the space where we dwell and into our mind and heart. 

Play this Taizé chant to aid in coming into this space of prayer. Veni Sancte Spiritus – Come Holy Spirit

Laudate – Veni Sancte Spiritus

Read the following slowly and reflect on the words as you read and pray them.

Where the Spirit is there is creation and new life. Where the Spirit is, there is the living Christ. The Spirit is the breath of God’s creative love, so that whoever lives in the Spirit lives in the ever newness of God.

Sr Ilia Delio OSF

Scripture Reading

“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

(Ezek. 36:26)

Reflection

The world’s first heart transplant performed by Dr Christian Barnard in 1967 caused a sensation at the time as people marvelled at the advancement in medical science that allowed for such an operation. Dr Barnard and his team had learned how to remove a deeply defective heart and replace it with a healthy one.

The prophet Ezekiel writing some two and half thousand years earlier had something very different, but no less remarkable, in mind when he shared his understanding of what God wanted to do for his people. Ezekiel had been a priest in the Jerusalem Temple. He lived through the war and siege that led to its destruction and was numbered among those taken into exile by the victorious Babylonian army. He knew what it was to live with a broken heart, what it is to feel lost, without roots, and even abandoned. Yet still, while mired in circumstances he would never have chosen for himself, he came to a new understanding of God at work in his life. In the midst of the mayhem he perceived that God wanted to heal his people and would do this by fixing what was wrong with them. He would give them a new heart.

In the Bible the heart is the seat of understanding. Their grasp of God had become skewed and was distorted, they had failed to hear and respond to his invitation to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly in his way. Now, however, their faithful God would have them come to know him again, he would breathe new life into them. This life would come from his Spirit and it would give them new heart.

So once again we find that in the Scripture the Spirit’s role is to create, to recreate, to make new. Through the mission of Jesus, we have come to learn that God will always meet us where we are and that is where he begins the work of forming us anew. At times, this may feel like heart surgery without anaesthetic, but we also know through Jesus that the divine healer can be trusted.

I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and have done this, says the LORD.”

(Ezek. 37:14)

A Moment of Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges you?
What sensations do you notice in your body – as a reaction to what you have read?
What is the Spirit inviting you to do?

Bring this moment of contemplation to a close by praying the ancient invocation Veni Sancte Spiritus, the Taizé chant we are using to settle ourselves into this time of prayer.

Let this prayer rest in your breath and being in these days. Allow it to rise mantra like to your lips from your heart with each breath in these days ……

Come, Holy Spirit, from heaven shine forth with your glorious light.
Veni Sancte Spiritus
.
Come, Father of the poor, come, generous Spirit, come, light of our hearts.
Veni Sancte Spiritus
.
Come from the four winds, O Spirit, come breath of God;
disperse the shadows over us, renew and strengthen your people.
Veni Sancte Spiritus
.
Most kindly warming light! Enter the inmost depths of our hearts,
for we are faithful to you.
Without your presence we have nothing worthy, nothing pure.
Veni Sancte Spiritus
.
You are only comforter, Peace of the soul.
In the heat you shade us; in our labour you refresh us,
and in trouble you are our strength.
Veni Sancte Spiritus
.
On all who put their trust in you and receive you in faith, shower all your gifts.
Grant that they may grow in you and persevere to the end.
Give them lasting joy!
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Allow a moment of quiet

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Healing God reach out to us now and make us well.
Heal our hearts and the hearts we have hurt by our faithlessness and neglect.
Through the gift of your Spirit awaken us to the new life you offer, rooted in your compassion, justice and love, so that we may become instruments of your healing goodness.
We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

End with playing this piece of music from Bernadette Farrell, Spirit of God

And we end – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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