Two weeks ago we celebrated the birthday of the Church - Pentecost Sunday - when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples. It was at this moment that the disciples were infused with the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. Perhaps one of the best resources I found unpacked these 7 gifts and allowed my feeble mind to more clearly differentiate between and among them:
Furthermore, I came to the awareness that living in with and in the Spirit allows for us to live almost as Christ would - responding as if by instinct to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
In many ways, recognizing the power of the Holy Spirit and living in accordance with it grants superhuman abilities. Wisdom gives us the desire to pursue the heart of the Lord. Understanding allows us to inch closer to mentally grasping that heart. Counsel gives us the ability to act in accordance with the heart of God. Fortitude gives us the strength to persevere in searching out His heart. Knowledge makes it possible for us to see our lives in the context of God's plan. Piety inspires us to worship Him (and be strengthened and enlivened by Him). Fear of the Lord confirms the virtue of hope - we live with conviction in a way that trusts in the promise of salvation and does whatever it takes to live in accordance with that covenant.
Living with and in the Spirit, we come to realize that the only way to complete His mission, our mission in Him, is to spend time with Him in prayer. We have done this in beautiful ways this year. It has infused me with more energy than I thought possible, more hope than I thought realistic, and more joy than I thought feasible.
In a passage from www.divinemercy.org the importance of prayer is clearly articulated:
Our time for prayer is a sacred time that activates our spirit and our spiritual energy. It brings to life the apostolic character in every Christian. Do not turn to God only when you ask for something or you fear the unknown; do not turn to God just because you have time available and you don’t know what to do with it.
Prayer is essential for all human life, for the simple reason that God created human life and as Blessed Fr. Sopocko wrote, “out of His generosity, God wants to give us many gifts, but makes dependent His graces on our free will and on our prayer which is a key to His Mercy.
These graces are like a fountain, but to benefit from it, you need to bring a vessel to the fountain: this vessel is humble and confident prayer. Throw yourself on your knees before God and expose your heart to Him.”
We have to realize that without Him we cannot survive even for one minute. Without this “permanent link” to God, we cannot live life to its potential. The more active we are, the more we need to make time for prayer, otherwise it is very easy to burn-out both mentally and spiritually. When Cardinal Martini said to some young priests, that they needed at least half an hour a day for personal prayer, one of them replied, “Your Eminence, we get up early every morning, we celebrate Holy Mass, then we run to the school, then back again, we barely have time to eat breakfast and then we have to be back in the parish office, and you are asking us to spend half an hour adoration?” At this, the Cardinal thought for a moment then said, “Indeed, it seems this priest needs more than half an hour for prayer, maybe even one hour.”
This is a valid spiritual advice for all of us, the busier we are, the more we need time for prayer. But time for prayer won’t come by itself; you have to “take it back”. On a spiritual level, prayer is our “to be or not to be.” To find time for prayer, you need to know what are the most important thing in your life. Here you need a clear awareness of your priorities.
I guess it's the reason we call it "daily bread".
Give it to us this day and always.