SESSION ONE – INTRODUCTION AND FAITH JOURNEY

PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE

Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.

~Saint Augustine

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground – then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

~Genesis 2: 4b-7

HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD?

 

  

Do you sense God in your life?



 

SESSION TWO – SIGN, SYMBOL, AND SACRAMENT

PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE

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 shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

~Saint Augustine

At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him anymore.

~Genesis 8:6-12

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from the heaven, “You are my Son; the beloved; with You I am well-pleased.”

~Mark 1:9-11

SESSION THREE – THE CONFIRMATION LITURGY

PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE

God of power and mercy, send your Holy Spirit to live in our hearts and make us temples of his glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

~Opening Prayer from the Rite of Confirmation

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.

~John 15:26-27

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at
this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs – in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.

~Acts 2:1-11

SESSION FOUR – THE GIFTS AND FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE

Holy Spirit of God, we praise and thank you for your presence with us, for today, and for this time in our lives. We ask that our hearts may be open to receive you and your empowerment so that you may complete the work you have begun in us. Through your gentleness and care, move us and awaken in us a deep love and joy-filled friendship with you and others. Amen.

The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

~Isaiah 11:2-3a

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

~Galatians 5:16-25

SESSION FIVE – EUCHARIST

PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE

God has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.

~Saint Teresa of Avila

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

~John 6:35

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who
does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the
one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”
Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

~Luke 24:13-35

SESSION SIX – DISCIPLESHIP

PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE

Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow men and women throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them, through our hands, this day their daily bread, and

by our understanding love, give them peace and joy. Amen.

~Mother Teresa

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.

~Isaiah 42:1-3

“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his own ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see I have made

two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

~Matthew 25:14-30

Happy New Year

We are 7 days into the wonderful year of 2015. Like everyone is saying, “Where has the time gone to?” Nonetheless the enthusiasm around a new beginning is exciting. Even the cold weather is a gentle reminder of who really is in charge!

My meditation for today focused on the importance of living in the now. Can we really do this? How often do we talk about the past or think about the “good old days”? How often is our life about planning for the future? Schools and parishes are starting to set budgets for the coming year. We have calendars full of appointments for the future so how can we live “in the now”? Yet the saying goes, “Yesterday is history, the future is a mystery, and the present is a gift.” Thank God for the gift of the day even if it feels like -31º.

May your new year be full of grace filled moments, joyful reflections and the love of our tender God.

June and Summer

Most schools across the Diocese are winding down for the year and the students and teachers are anxiously waiting for summer break. Can there ever be a break from learning? Many teachers take classes during the summer to enhance their teaching. Several school districts are offering summer school for students to enhance their learning. Truthfully, learning is year round and lifelong.

What does learning look like? For some of us, summer is spent catching up on some good novels that we didn’t have time to read earlier. There is nothing like sitting in the sun (with sunscreen, of course) reading a good book. Others of us will enhance our technical skills by learning new apps or programs. Learning can also be a vacation where you see places you have never seen before or visiting historical sites across the state or country.

How about a stay vacation? Nothing intrigues me more than to watch children discovering outdoors. I watched one of my grandchildren totally fascinated by frogs and turtles in their backyard. One of the highlights at visiting grandma’s is catching frogs in the window wells. How about projecting a movie on the outside of a building or sitting around the campfire? Lots of learning takes place along with many memories.

The short message of all this is to enjoy the summer. Keep learning. Make memories. Thank God for the beauty of each day, the learning that takes place and the memories that are made.

Happy Summer!