Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Reading From Acts

In Chapter Two of the Acts of the Apostles, we have the dramatic story of Pentecost Day. The Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus disciples in a manifest and dramatic way. From this point on, something new and wonderful has begun; the Church is born.

The chapter ends with a description of how life looks in this new church. It tells us that they devoted themselves ... 

... to the teaching of the apostles
Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
... to the communal life,
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need
... to the breaking of bread
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes
... to the prayers
They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people
(Acts 2:42-47)

We might call these the four marks of the infant Church. Also, we might draw on them to create a model for our spiritual life.

Teaching of the Apostles: Ultimately, what we be is a revelation, not a construct from a consensus of what we think is true. This is the apostolic tradition, which the Church has received, incorporates, and hands on to each subsequent generation of believers. We believe what the Church believes and holds to be true.
Our spiritual life must be rooted in the teaching of the Church. Because of this, a pattern of study of the Church's teaching must be incorporated our spiritual life.
Communal Life: A true spiritual life is not lived out in the privacy of one's own thoughts, detached from responsibility toward the world and those in their midst. To Cain's reply to God in Genesis, "Am I my Brother's keeper", the answer is yes. 
Our spiritual life must be lived out in true fraternal bonds with others; our natural family, our parish and Church family, our family relationship in the society in which we live.
Breaking of Bread: "Do this in remembrance of me". The life force of the spiritual life is the Holy Spirit. It is a communion in the life of God. This "Life" is a work of God, breathed into us by the Spirit. "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Mtt. 18:20)
The sacramental life of the Church is the preeminent source for our communion in the life of God, with the Eucharist our "daily bread of life."
 Prayer and Praise: Our spiritual life forms and shapes our whole life, who we are and the way we live. Because we have but one life, the life of the Spirit, it must necessarily be seen by others. "Let your light shine before others ... " (Mtt:5:16)
Our spiritual life is a witness to all the world of God's saving grace, transforming us, filling us with hope. It is the incarnation of God's love for all the world to see, that they too may come to faith in Christ. We are the Body of Christ, the Church, the city built on the top of the hill.

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