A Spirit of Courage

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Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

John 15:26-16:4a
Jesus said to the disciples: “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.”
Opening Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart. Give me the courage to witness for Christ. 
Encounter with Christ:

  1. Heavenly Promise: When Jesus spoke these words, he knew all too well the challenges his beloved disciples would soon face. First, they were to experience devastation and fear when they saw their Lord crucified. After the glory of his Resurrection, they would once again face hatred and death for their friendship with him. Jesus promises them an Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows his followers will take comfort in his promises and “when their hour comes” will remember that Jesus foretold these things. 
  2. A Spirit of Courage: Jesus’s promise was fulfilled dramatically on Pentecost. The Holy Spirit, in tongues of fire, descended on a room full of men in hiding, fearing for their lives. Instantly transformed by divine power, the Apostles launched a movement the likes of which the world has never seen. There is no human explanation for the incredible speed at which the Church was born and spread worldwide by these unlikely evangelists. Only the power of God Almighty can explain how a group of men from a small, conquered land were able to so effectively answer the mandate: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). When Jesus makes a promise, he delivers in a way greater than our human minds can imagine. 
  3. Teacher and Helper: In the chapter before today’s Gospel, Jesus further explained the role of the Holy Spirit: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:25-26). Jesus knew full well that the Church, from its beginnings until the end of time, would need the help of the Holy Spirit. To this day, the gifts of the Holy Spirit we receive in Confirmation–Fortitude, Knowledge, Understanding, Courage, Wisdom, Piety, and Fear of the Lord–arm us with all we need to follow Our Lord and witness for him. We may never be called to the mission field or to martyrdom. Most likely, our testimony will be quite different from that of the early Apostles. Regardless of where our lives take us in service to the Lord, we have our teacher and helper, just as Jesus promised. He will be with us, no matter how and where we are called to testify for Christ. 

Conversing with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I rest in the knowledge that, through your Spirit, I will always find the strength and courage to answer your call.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on where you may be calling me to witness for you. I will pray the prayer to the Holy Spirit, asking for courage:
Prayer to the Holy Spirit 
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 will renew the face of the earth.
Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit, you have taught the hearts of your faithful. In the same Spirit, help us to relish what is right, and always rejoice in your consolation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Further Reflection: Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis (Chapter 4).
Cathy Stamper lives in Maryland and has five adult children with her husband of thirty years. They owned and operated a family business for twenty-nine years. She is a member of Regnum Christi and has been active in the Leadership Training Program and Walking With Purpose.

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