The Universal Church is in the preparatory process for SYNOD 2023. In this synodal process of journeying together, Pope Francis invites the faithful as well as non-Catholics, to contribute their lived-faith experiences, in relation to the Church and the entire human family. During the first phase of SYNOD 2023, which starts from October 2021 to April 2022, the Holy Father desires for the People of God throughout the Catholic Arch/Dioceses of the world, to take every opportunity to reflect on these three aspects – Communion, Participation and Mission through listening, discerning and living the faith-experiences.
We repeatedly hear from Pope Francis two key words – listening and discerning. According to the Holy Father, when we are “being led by the Holy Spirit and our action is motivated by Jesus Christ,” then we will be a true disciple of Him. In this life journey, we pass through many challenges, and we find ourselves making difficult decisions to move forward. Hence, we pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance towards the right direction to discover God’s will and purpose for us.
In this journey of life, we face all kind of trials, crises and difficulties in our faith and belief. However, amid all these, as St Paul says, we as Christians must allow ourselves to “walk” with the Spirit (Gal 5: 16), to be “led” by the Spirit (Gal 5: 18), to “live” by the Spirit (Gal 5:25a) and to “keep” in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:25b). Each of these verbs are an indication of our “interaction, direction and purpose” of our faith journey. There is a need to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, discern the will of God and follow His guidance, to experience inner transformation in our lives.
Once we cultivate the habit of reading, studying, analysing, reflecting and mediating the Word of God, then it becomes part of our inner life, and we can listen and recognise the voice of the Holy Spirit. Gradually, the Holy Spirit will stir our inner self to grow stronger in faith. We are called to witness Christ in our lives. The Holy Spirit will assist us in our communication with Him to be His witnesses. It is not an easy task, but we need to train and tune ourselves to respond to the Holy Spirit as we encounter Jesus Christ in the Word of God, Sacraments and in all our activities.
Mother Mary didn’t understand the implications of all that happened to her but she “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart,” (LK 2: 19). Therefore, we too must treasure all things in our memories and in our hearts. These may be joyful or sorrowful, anguish and suffering, but we continue to seek her intercession and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will direct us in our discernment to do His will – It is not my will, but Your will be done! (cf. MT 6: 10).
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And you shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit,
did instruct the hearts of the faithful,
grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise
and ever to rejoice in His consolation.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy