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
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
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.(Romans 8:26-27)
Some twenty years before Paul wrote these words to the Christians in Rome his world had been turned on its head. Back then, he was self-assured and confident in his faith. He knew all about God, what was pleasing to him and what was not. He was as certain as anyone could be that Jesus was not the Messiah and that the movement that was gathering strength in his name had to be stopped. Jesus could not be the messiah because quite simply he was crucified, he died a criminal’s death, beyond the reach of God.
Then it happened! Paul encountered the crucified and risen Christ and so began a total transformation of how he understood himself, the world and his God. He had to unlearn all his certainties, allow the Spirit of God to create him anew. This Spirit, which was the Spirit of the risen Christ was at work in him now and for twenty years had been teaching him to call out to God “Abba Father” just as Jesus had done.
So, when Paul writes to the Romans that the Spirit helps us in our weakness he knows what he talking about. He has learned what it means to be brought to your knees, he knows what it means to be lost, uncertain and confused. He knows what it is like to come to prayer and have nothing to say. He has learned to allow the Spirit of God to pray in him with sighs too deep for words. He has come to know that when we pray we must allow God to be God. We have to trust that the Spirit abides in us and that our prayer is not about conforming to methods or models but about resting in his presence.
“And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” ”(Gal. 4:6)
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. Today we turn to St. Augustine who invites us to be aware of the activity of the Holy Spirit as the Sanctifier: the One who invites us into holiness through every motion of our being when we dwell in awareness of the Divine Presence. Read the prayer slowly and with attention to your breath.
Veni Sancte Spiritus!
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
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.
Gracious God, when our hearts are broken or our minds are distracted,
when we are anxious and troubled or when our faith is weak,
give us confidence that us we can still turn to you even though we have no words,
because you encounter us just as we are through the presence of your Spirit who prays in us a wordless prayer of longing and love. 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