Let the Holy Spirit Teach Us
That is my wish and prayer for families as we explore how we have managed our spirituality during these months of lockdown.
My hope and dream at the start of the lockdown was that many families would try something new, take on board the See-Judge-Act method of faith-sharing on the current realities they face, enlightened by Scripture and a passage from Church teaching.
A simplified, basic outline of the See-Judge-Act method of faith consists of a number of steps.
Step 1: SEE. Look at Life, a situation taken from experience or a news item and ask: “What is going on here?”
Step 2: JUDGE. Consider the situation more deeply. Ask: “What would God say about it, and why?” Seek information from Scripture and Church teaching that is relevant.
Step 3: ACT. Consider if some action is required, decode and conclude with a moment of prayer about the situation or other needs. Parish leaders, priests, catechists, family ministers, Justice & Peace teams and teachers could be encouraging this type of spiritual approach well suited to family life.
That approach is the basis of MARFAM’s “Daily Thoughts” which I labour over every month, with themes such as this year’s environmental focus on “Our World, A Family of Families”.
I’ve recently become aware how many references to creation there are in the Old Testament, and also in hymns that we sing without taking particular note of the words.
One of my favourite hymns, Archbishop Denis Hurley’s “God our Maker, Mighty Father, All Creation Sings Your Praise” (can be sung to the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”), in the second verse includes the line: “Man and woman, you created that united heart and home they might work and strive together till your endless kingdom comes.”
The third verse is about Jesus: “Firstborn of your new creation holding all in unity… leading all in power and glory to a glorious destiny.” Isn’t that beautiful catechesis?
I suggest googling and reflecting on it.
Pentecost and relationships
A family activity titled “Celebrating Pentecost” (get it at www.marfam.org.za) suggests that families could reflect on these qualities of wisdom, understanding, and so on.
We may consider what we see in other family members, and what quality we each would like to request from the Spirit, in order to be better missionary disciples.
Maintaining positive family relationships across the age groups and dealing with conflict and other serious issues are important while we are still confined to our homes.
Coming back to the Holy Spirit’s teaching role: thoughts of sickness, life and death, screening and testing have occupied our minds almost to the exclusion of anything else lately.
Only a few months ago climate change and global warming featured much more.
The main reason this has stayed in the picture is the good news about the positive aspects of the lockdown. Air pollution has been cut and waterways are cleaner. We hope that the subject will not disappear, as there is so much to learn about God’s intentions.
It is five years since Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si’, on care of our common home. It seems to me that its very valuable messages about the unhealthy state of our environment and our human responsibility for causing this has not yet become a major part of our catechesis for all ages as it should have been.
Maybe, having seen some positive changes, this is the time to focus on how to sustain them. In creation at all levels, in all life forms, relationships exist—with us humans, and also with plants and animals.
There is much that the Holy Spirit can teach us, as families, for the good and sustainability of society and the Church, God’s family.
And let us be grateful to the Spirit who will bring to mind many things that Jesus has told each of us as we have journeyed through a rather foreign environment, alone or together, these past months. www.marfam.org.za/shop is now open for downloadable and resource materials.