Day 7 – The Spirit Empowers Us to Witness for Christ

From time to time, we all have something we would like to share with others: gifts for others for special occasions; something good or amazing that we have come across, like good products or bargains. We also share our important experiences and memories, stories and inspirations, or our new ideas.

Sharing makes us feel good and improves our relationships because we focus on the wellbeing of others by sharing something good. In short, we share important things with those important to us.

Whenever we share, if we genuinely desire the wellbeing of others, we want to make sure what we are sharing is accurate, is true or at least what we believe in. And if we want others to buy into what we believe, we bear witness for what we firmly believe in, hoping others will be convinced as a result. In the spiritual arena, we call this sharing bearing witness to others about our faith and the Good News! And as our faith becomes stronger, the desire to share and bear witness about the Good News also grows stronger.

There are different levels of effectiveness in how we share our faith with others.

If we want others to believe in what we have experienced, we want to share those experiences that represent significant moments in our faith journey. We share our conversion stories, especially those through which we were transformed. Those moments are called our ENCOUNTERS with God with any Person of the Holy Trinity.

So, once we have experienced the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, it is only natural for us to share with others such wonderful encounters we have had with God. Through our personal testimonies, the Spirit is able to touch people's hearts through us, leading them to think "If such an amazing encounter with God is possible for others, it may be possible for me, and I want it too." As we grow in our relationship with the Lord, we will have multiple encounters with Him.  When there is a chance to give a personal testimony, we ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us which of our encounters with the Lord will most benefit the person or the audience. And surely the Holy Spirit will lead us as we speak for Him.

Before the Ascension of Jesus, He commissioned His disciples to

go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

(Mark 16:15)

Jesus told them to be witnesses for who He was and what had happened to Him. (cf. Luke 24:46-48) We should do what Jesus has commanded us to do not only by giving witness to all these things, but also by telling others what Jesus our Saviour means to us and what He has done for us personally. What we share will open others' eyes and hearts, especially those of unbelievers, because their eyes have not seen and ears have not heard. That is why the Church needs witnesses! This is the way of the Lord in sending out witnesses throughout the world to testify for Him in front of others. This is exactly what all the saints throughout the ages had done before us, even as they faced trials and persecutions. In fact, the word "martyr" came from the Greek word "μάρτυρας" meaning "witness". Giving witnesses is especially effective in the postmodern world.

St. Pope Paul VI taught us that: "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses."

(41, Evangeli Nuntiandi)

Just as we share our hearts when presenting gifts to others, bearing witness is nothing but a self-giving act of love to others, calling to mind the cost all the martyrs had paid for witnessing for Christ.

It is surely not about showing off that we are better than others, but a genuine desire for the best and welfare of others. We are not presenting ourselves as perfect individuals, as only God is perfect. We convince others as they see the transformation in us after we have proclaimed that Jesus is Lord of our lives.

Cardinal Emmanuel Célestin Suhard:

"To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist."

Today's popular culture has taught us to share everything on social media. Unfortunately, it seems that the focuses of our sharing are mainly on food, purchases, leisure activities, and all sorts of entertainment and material possessions. The whole human race is starving from true spiritual food from above. Our witnesses and faith stories are what we need to add to the mix!

The world needs witnesses and prophets to open their eyes to God, and the world is thirsting for faithful witnesses. As Christians, we have experienced the love of God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The most natural and responsible thing for us to do is to bear witness to all nations for God and be ambassadors of Christ to one another!

REFLECTION

Am I excited about my faith? Do I have the desire to share with others the love of God and my personal encounter with Jesus?

Have I been too timid to speak up for my faith and for Christ? Is there anything that is holding me back from witnessing boldly for Christ?

Do I find I have nothing special to share with others about my faith? What is missing in my relationship with God?

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear Holy Spirit, I know that nothing has held You back from loving me to the fullest and providing me with everything that I need. I am grateful for all that is You and all You have done for me. Grant me motivation to return Your love by bearing witness for Christ to the world. Supply me with whatever is lacking in order to boldly speak up for You and for my faith. I am still not ready, but I am willing! O Holy Spirit, send me!

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

My beloved child, your agreement to be sent out as witness for Christ to the world has touched my heart. I will surely be with you as you stand up for your faith. Be not afraid as I will give you courage and words. Your love for me and for my sheep is sufficient to carry you through. Remember, I am the wind beneath your wings! I love you always!

Novena to the Holy Spirit:

Invocation Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, and console me. Tell me what to do, direct my every choice. I promise to submit myself to all you desire of me and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will. Grant this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Day Seven Receiving the Spirit "Repentance" Acts 2:38: Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins: and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Meditation: Seek conscious contact with God more and more each day. Become aware of God's abiding Presence during the day. Be conscious of His Spirit helping you. All that is done without God's Spirit is passing. All that is done with God's Spirit is life eternal.It is the flow of life eternal through the mind, body and spirit that cleanses hearts, restores and renews. Come to know God's eternal life in you and renewing you.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, you said in your words that I am to repent; turn from sin and turn to you. Then I will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Lord; cleanse me from all ungodliness and unrighteousness so that I may walk in the newness of life according to the Spirit of holiness. Thank you for your forgiveness and for hearing this prayer, for I pray in the Holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

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Sincerely invite you to share the reflections that inspires you by this day's retreat.


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