I recently participated in a full day retreat and at the end of the retreat we joined together for Mass. The day was full and I hold many moments with deep gratitude. The Prayers of the Faithful, however, reflected the work of the Spirit, especially because of all the violent trauma and deaths we have all recently been exposed to and the curious divide about potential solutions.
I offer a reflection on these petitions as we search for God in our collective grief and desire for a solution to transform so much sadness, frustration, resentment, and maybe even rage and disbelief about why this seems to be such a monumental task to create this transformation for the good of our communities. One of the solutions is LOVE.
The petitions began with:
Spirit of Peace, mend the division of nations and peoples; the wounds of violent ways. What can you do to help mend the division and wounds?
Spirit of Wisdom, inspire all who lead and serve and parent. How might you consider ways to connect with the people in your life who are leaders? How might you inspire leaders in your life or allow the work of the Spirit inspire and guide you? Where is God present in this moment for you?
Spirit of Comfort, console the heart that is hurt and broken. What is broken and hurt within you, your family, your community? What would it be like to invite God’s comforting presence into your hurt or brokenness?
Spirit of Healing, direct minds and hands and hearts to ease pain and suffering and affliction. Ignatius invites us to use our imagination when entering scripture. To place ourselves in that place and notice more deeply than only the words, how the words impact us. I invite you to use your imagination and enter into the pain, suffering and affliction of people you know, read about or hear their stories and in prayer ask for God’s healing presence for them and for yourself.
Spirit of Renewal, bring energy to all who tire in the pursuit of justice and unity. Like many, I too experience exhaustion from all the painful and unloving moments. I can only imagine Jesus’ exhaustion with his experiences living in our humanity when he walked the earth. He remained in close relationship with his Father and the guidance of the Spirit. What would renewal look like for you?
Spirit of Love, touch us and through us, our neighbor. The idea and experience of love is one of the many gifts God as given to us. God loves us right where we are, in all our complexity, imperfections, our joys, fears, uncertainty and doubts. Our challenge sometimes is to love ourselves as much as God loves us. We have been invited to love God and our neighbor as we love ourselves. How open are you to embrace all the love God has for you and then open your heart to send that love out into your community?
Love is the foundation to healing our wounded world and our personal wounds. Love creates room within to live in the space of interior freedom. The invitation from God to love is always present. Let the Spirit guide you in living in that invitation.