Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Talk 10 : Growing in the Spirit

May 15, 2011 2:00 PM
Janine Atienza

- SFC Household Head - Lower Antipolo
- Music Ministry membe

- SFC Member 6 years


The baptism in the Spirit is only a beginning.  Everyone experienced of lightness and being blessed that other people are praying for them. Now we need to grow in this new life in the Spirit. In order to grow, we need to make use of the basic means of growth which the Lord provides us.  These are: prayer, study, service and fellowship.( Note: For Catholics, there is a fifth tool to growth: the sacraments.

The Christian life can be pictured as a wheel of a cart.  It has three components:

   a.    The outer rim.  This is the part of the wheel that meets the road.  This       represents daily Christian life.
   b.    The hub.  This is the part of the wheel from which the power emanates to  the rim.  It holds the wheel togeth­er.  The hub is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is at the center of our lives.  The power is that of the Holy Spirit.
   c.     The spokes.  These transmit the power and direction from the hub to the rim.  In Christian experience, the spokes are the means of putting our whole life in contact with Christ, so that our life can be trans­formed by his power and direction.

First Tool: Prayer.

Prayer is the primary means for establishing and maintain¬ing a deep and loving personal relationship between God and us. A successful prayer life involves 3 important principles.
1.Our prayer must be faithful.

We decide to spend time with the Lord everyday then decide on a specific time of the day and find a place where you will not be disturbed or distracted. A prayer may last 5-10minutes but one may increase their prayer time later.
Adopt a format to begin.

ACTS.  Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

Use daily prayer guides (daily devotional, daily gospel)
2. Our prayer must be led by the Holy Spirit.

Scheduled and structured prayer is helpful, but could make our prayer dry and mechanical.  Be open to changing your format as the Spirit leads.
3.Our prayer must be centered on a relationship with Jesus.
Prayer is a means to an end, not an end in itself.  Our goal is not "to pray" or even "to pray well", but to grow in our relationship with the Lord. People can get wrapped up in techniques.  While these can help, prayer is really very simple.  It is a matter of loving God and being loved by Him. And concentrate not on prayer but on the Lord.
In the Catholic tradition, the intercession of Mary and the saints is a powerful tool of prayer. A devotion to Mary and the saints is part and parcel of a Catholic’s faith.

The Second Tool: Study.

We need to know God and understand Him and His ways.  Study is a deliberate, focused exercise of the intellect, not referring primarily to scholarly or academic endeavor but to the wider process of understanding more about God so we can love and better serve Him. We can learn more about God through the Bible and this is the most important because this is the very word of God. It teaches us who God is, what He has done and what He wants us to do. We should read the Bible daily and we may include this during our prayer time.

Pursue a more deliberate study of portions of the Bible. We should make it a goal to read the whole Bible.

After reading what God has said of Himself (Bible), we can read what men have said about God.  We can draw on spiritual insights and study throughout the life of the Church. This includes reading spiritual books, magazines, articles, etc.

We can also learn to know more about God by attending teachings and preachings through teaching and formation program in CFC Singles for Christ. Through the word of God spoken in the Sunday homily, in parish events, in conferences, etc. Also, it would help if we begin the habit of taking notes to review them and understand them more.

The Third Tool: Service

Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is at work in us, not just for our personal development but also to equip us for effective service for him and his people.We need to take on a mentality of service so that we see our whole life given over to God's work.  We need to take on the heart of a servant.  Matthew 20:26‑28.

As we put the Lord first in our lives, he calls us to reach out also to others. Service helps us grow because it touches the most basic attitudes we have of ourselves and our independence.  To serve others is to be humble.

Ways we can serve:

1.    We serve God by the way we live through daily prayer and scripture reading. Pursuit of righteousness and holiness.
2.    We also serve by performing the basic responsibilities God has given us in our daily lives. As a son or daughter, as brother or sister, as employee, etc.

3.    We serve our fellow men by recognizing the many built‑in opportunities for service in day‑to‑day life through our hospitality e.g offering a ride, visiting the sick, etc.

4.    We give witness to our faith in Jesus by the way we live our lives.  Be alert to opportunities to share your faith verbally with family, friends, neighbors, co‑workers, and the world at large.
5.    Make ourselves and our resources available for God's work.  Our time, talent, treasure. Support through prayer and financial giving offered to sound Christian ministries that further the spread of the gospel. Look for opportunities to give your time and energy to serve in a Christian group on a regular basis.

The Fourth Tool: Fellowship.

Fellowship refers to almost everything that Christians do together as a body.  It is the concretization of a spiritu­al reality that we are brothers and sisters belonging to one family. We do not become complete Christians by ourselves.  We must be joined to others in order to experience the fullness of Christian life. We need the support of others.  We need their wisdom and strength. We need to do things together. 
One can experience Christian Fellowship through worship in liturgies, prayer meetings, and conferences; Coming together for teaching and formation; Serving together (like the team in this CLP) and Social gatherings.

VI.The Fifth Tool (for Catholics): The Sacraments.

In the Catholic tradition, the most important tool for spiritual growth are the sacraments.  They are the main channels of God's grace for our lives.

We recommend frequent confession and communion. Though confession is required only once a year, we should avail of this more often. Though communion is required only once a year, we should receive communion much more frequently, with the proper disposition.

This CLP, your commitment to Christ, the baptism in the Holy Spirit – all these are just the beginning of a new life.  We are "babies in Christ" and we need to grow.  Make use of the tools provided by God.


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