Source Study Participant Guide (English)


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Source looks at the role the Holy Spirit should have in the lives of faithful Catholics and the difference the third person of the Trinity can make. Participants are challenged to live the "life in the Spirit" and, through grace, conquer the desires of the flesh.

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Source Study Participant Guide (English)

  1. 1. Continu With o Faith Study Series The CCO Faith Study seri for living the Christian life for small groups or indivi each study as well. Level 1—“Discovery” le personally challenging lo Level 2—“Source” looks faithful Catholics and the Level 3—“Growth” is the such elements as prayer, 60 Level 4—“Obedience” t seriously. Challenging top as obedience within the C Level 5—“Commission”
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  3. 3. Your Feedback Please take a moment to give us your feedback. Please print. How has the study influenced your life? Source Participant Guide Created and published by Catholic Christian Outreach Canada. Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved. Nihil Obstat: Patrick Fletcher Ph.D. Censor Deputatus Imprimatur: +Terrence Prendergast, S.J. Archbishop of Ottawa June 12, 2011 Solemnity of Pentecost Any other comments/feedback? No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Catholic Christian Outreach Canada. 1247 Kilborn Place Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9 Canada Please return by mail or fax to: CCO Faith Studies 1247 Kilborn Place Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9 Fax: (613) 736-1800 58 Phone: 613-736-1999 Fax: 613-736-1800 Printed in Canada. 3
  4. 4. The cover image for Source depicts the Holy Spirit as the living water inside us. In French, source means "spring of water." In the Gospel of John, Jesus says: ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive. John 7:37-39 ' whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.' John 4:14 The word source also means starting place, resource or supply. With the Holy Spirit as our helper, we are enabled and empowered to follow God. Image © Tina Renceli 2005 Cover Design © Chris Pecora 2011 Record of Completion Return this form to your study leader or to the address on the back. Please print. Name: Today's Date: Primary Contact Information: Address: City/Prov./State: Postal/Zip Code: Phone: Email : Secondary or Permanent Address: Address: City/Prov./State: Postal/Zip Code: Phone: Please contact me about more CCO studies, events or newsletters. I do not wish to be contacted about more CCO studies, events or newsletters. Faith study just completed or completing: Discovery Growth Source Obedience Commission Study Leader's Name: Campus/Parish: 4 57
  5. 5. Excerpts from The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Homily given by Benedict XVI on June 3, 2006, Dominum et Vivificantem and Redemptoris Missio used with permission from Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved. References from The New Evangelization: Overcoming the Obstacles, edited by Steven Boguslawski, OP and Ralph Martin. Copyright © 2008 by the Sacred Heart Major Seminary of Detroit. Paulist Press, Inc., Mahwah, NJ. Used with permission of Paulist Press, Inc. Fr. Bob Bedard, CC (founder), quoted with permission by the Companions of the Cross. All rights reserved. 56 5
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  7. 7. To Our Lady who, as a youth, courageously and generously welcomed the Holy Spirit into her life, changing history forever. 54 7
  8. 8. Source Follow-Up Worksheet Objective: Participants are given an opportunity to open their lives to the Person and presence of the Holy Spirit. 1. The Holy Spirit a) What have you learned about the Holy Spirit this semester? b) What do you think the Holy Spirit can do in your life? 2. Docility to the Holy Spirit a) What is your understanding of docility to the Holy Spirit? b) How do you feel about docility? 3. Give the Holy Spirit permission. How can we concretely give the Holy Spirit permission to act in our lives? 4. Gifts and Fruits. a) Are there specific fruits you would like to ask the Holy Spirit to increase in your life? b) Are there particular spiritual gifts for which you would like to ask the Holy Spirit? 5. Prayer to the Holy Spirit + Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle 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. Holy Spirit, we welcome you. We thank you for your special role in our lives. We come before you now to pray for ____________________________ (name). We pray that you will help him/her to have the courage to give you permission in his/her life. Challenge: Every day this week, journal about the ways you have noticed the Holy Spirit's activity in your life. Thank the Holy Spirit and daily give him permission to act in your life. 8 53
  9. 9. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of obligation? Did I leave Mass early without good reason? Have I received communion at least once a year? Did I receive communion in a state of serious sin? Have I been to confession recently? In any of my previous confessions, did I lie to or deliberately conceal something from the priest? Have I allowed myself to become so dominated by my work and chores that I have not set aside Sunday for spiritual and family activities? Honour your father and your mother. Did I honour and obey my parents? Did I respect my brothers and sisters? Did I respect others with lawful authority, especially teachers and professors? Did I speak rudely to them? Did I speak about them to others in a derogatory way? Did I fail to help my parents (at home, or in their time of need)? Did I spend time with my family, or avoid them? Do I blame my parents for my own shortcomings? You shall not kill. Did I give in to feelings of anger or jealousy? Did I keep hatred in my heart? Have I ever struck anyone in anger, intending to injure the person? Did I fight, give a bad example or cause scandal? Have I abused alcohol or drugs? Have I had or in any way permitted or encouraged abortion? Have I nurtured thoughts about suicide? You shall not commit adultery & you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife Did I consent to impure glances or thoughts? Did I give my mind over to lustful thoughts or fantasies? Have I encouraged them by stares, curiosity or impure conversations? Did I neglect to control my imagination or desire of other people? Was I immodest in dress or behaviour? Did I look at pornography, impure books, magazines or videos? Am I guilty of impurity with myself, premarital sex or adultery? Do I live chastely according to my state in life (married, single, consecrated celibate)? You shall not steal Have I stolen? What or how much? Did I return it or make up for what I stole? Have I cheated on tests or homework? Did I waste time at work? Did I do graffiti? Have I been extravagant in my manner of life, to the neglect of the poor at home and abroad? You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour Have I lied, gossiped? Have I talked about other people behind their backs? Do I always tell the truth? Am I sincere? Did I reveal secrets that I should have kept confidential? Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my talk? Have I injured the reputation of others by speaking about their failures and sins with little desire or intention to help them? Have I condoned prejudice and hatred toward people of other nationalities, races or religions? Table of Contents Lesson 1 – The Holy Spirit 11 The Person and roles of the Holy Spirit. Lesson 2 – The Battle Within 17 We can fight to overcome our human weaknesses with God’s help. Lesson 3 – Living in the Spirit 24 The Holy Spirit empowers and directs us to follow him daily. Lesson 4 – Barriers to Living in the Spirit 29 There are obstacles that prevent us from being receptive to the Holy Spirit’s influence – knowing them can help us deal with them. Lesson 5 – Docility to the Holy Spirit 35 Mary, our model of docility, entrusted her life completely to the Holy Spirit. Lesson 6 – Gifts and Fruits 41 The gifts and fruits of the Spirit are available to all believers as special helps and signs of the Holy Spirit's activity in our lives. Appendix 49 Source Follow-Up 53 Living it Out Cards 55 You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods Is my heart greedy? Am I jealous of what another has? Am I envious of others because I don’t have what they have? Do I habitually compare myself with others? Do I work, study, and keep busy to counter idle thoughts? Am I critical, negative, or uncharitable in my thoughts of others? Is my heart set on earthly possessions or on the treasures of heaven? Do I give to those in need, so as not to cling to my possessions? 52 9
  10. 10. Source Small Group Information: Time: Place: Leader: Phone Number: Email: Participants: Act of Contrition: Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all of my sins because of your just punishment, but most of all because they have offended you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen. A simple prayer from the heart is also acceptable: Lord, I am sorry for my sins. I thank you for your forgiveness, strength and love. Do your Penance: When we go to Confession, we are cleansed and freed from our sins. Although the absolution we receive takes away the sin, it does not, however, remedy all the problems that sin causes. When we sin, we weaken ourselves as well as our relationship with God and our neighbours. We must repair the harm caused by our sin (i.e. return stolen goods or restore the reputation of someone about whom we have gossiped). That is why the priest gives us a penance. The penance given usually depends on the gravity of the sin committed. Penances can consist of prayer, an offering, works of mercy, service to neighbour, voluntary self-denial, sacrifices, and above all the patient acceptance of suffering that brings us closer to Christ. The sacrament of Confession is not complete until you do your penance. It should be done immediately in the church, if it is a penance of prayer. Otherwise, it should be done as soon as possible. Examination of Conscience I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods besides me. Did I fail to love God, to make him first in my life, to thank, trust and love him as he deserves? Did I fail to pray? Have I doubted or denied my faith? Was I careless in saying my prayers? Do I give God time every day in prayer? Do I make a god out of my work, possessions, or image in the eyes of others so that these rule my life instead of God? Am I angry toward God because of illness or misfortune? Have I been involved with magic, horoscopes, Ouija boards or fortune telling? You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain Did I curse or swear? Did I use God’s name in vain, lightly, carelessly, by blasphemy? Have I used foul language or jokes? In conversation, have I passively listened to slander and to jokes demeaning the Church or God’s authority? 10 51
  11. 11. II. Making a Good Confession Prayer before Confession: Oh most merciful God! Prostrate at your feet, I implore your forgiveness. I sincerely desire to leave all my evil ways and to confess my sins with all sincerity to you and to your priest. I am a sinner; have mercy on me, Oh Lord. Give me a lively faith and firm hope in the Passion of my Redeemer. Give me, for your mercy’s sake, a sorrow for having offended so good a God. Mary, my mother, refuge of sinners, pray for me that I may make a good confession. Amen. Lesson 1 The Holy Spirit As Catholics, we are filled and sealed with the Holy Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation. This is a tremendous gift: the Third Person of the Trinity, alive within us. Despite his presence, however, we may not have really noticed that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our souls! How can we get to know the Holy Spirit and experience him? How to go to Confession: • You have the option to go to confession anonymously (behind • • • • a screen) or face to face. After the priest greets you in the name of Christ, make the sign of the cross. He may choose to recite a reading from Scripture, after which you say: ‘Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been (state how long) since my last confession. These are my sins.’ Tell your sins simply and honestly to the priest. You might even want to discuss the circumstances and the root causes of your sins and ask the priest for advice or direction. Listen to the advice the priest gives you and accept the penance from him. Then say an Act of Contrition for your sins. The priest will then absolve you of your sins and will pray the Prayer of Absolution. This prayer is a beautiful affirmation of God’s mercy. Listen to its powerful words: “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” At this point, you respond, “Thanks be to God.” Afterwards, spend some time thanking and praising God for the gift of his mercy. Fulfill your penance as soon as possible. 50 The Chocolate Milk Analogy Suppose we consider all human beings as glasses of milk, and the Holy Spirit as chocolate syrup. Let's say that Christian glasses of milk receive a squirt of chocolate syrup when they are baptized. 1. How does the chocolate milk analogy relate to the spiritual life? Our situation could be compared to someone who has a highend computer equipped with all the latest technology, but who only uses it to type out an occasional letter. What a waste! There is so much more that could be experienced, accomplished and accessed with this computer! The same is true for us in encountering the Holy Spirit. There is so much more to him than we realize. The purpose of Source is to encounter the Person of the Holy Spirit so that we can experience his joy, love, power, help and freedom in our lives. In today's lesson we begin by looking at who he is and what he does. 11
  12. 12. Who is the Holy Spirit? Appendix The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity who proceeds from the intimate and infinite love of the Father and the Son. In fact, the Church teaches that the Holy Spirit is the love of the Father and the Son. I. The Sin Against the Holy Spirit I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. The Nicene Creed Not only is He the direct witness of their mutual love from which creation derives, but he himself is this love. He himself, as love, is the eternal uncreated gift. Dominum et Vivificantem, 34 God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:5 It may seem that the Holy Spirit is not often spoken of in the Bible. His most dramatic appearance seems to occur only at Pentecost, after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. This is not, however, his first manifestation. He is described repeatedly in the Old Testament through the use of images and symbols. 2. What biblical images of the Holy Spirit are familiar to you? Questions about the sin against the Holy Spirit may come up in this study. Pope John Paul II explains this sin in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, Dominum et Vivificantem. Why is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit unforgivable? How should this blasphemy be understood? Saint Thomas Aquinas replies that it is a question of a sin that is “unforgivable by its very nature, insofar as it excludes the elements through which the forgiveness of sin takes place.” According to such an exegesis, “blasphemy” does not properly consist in offending against the Holy Spirit in words; it consists rather in the refusal to accept the salvation which God offers to man through the Holy Spirit, working through the power of the Cross. If man rejects the “convincing concerning sin” which comes from the Holy Spirit and which has the power to save, he also rejects the “coming” of the Counselor....If Jesus says that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this life or in the next, it is because this “non-forgiveness” is linked, as to its cause, to “nonrepentance“, in other words to the radical refusal to be converted....Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, then, is the sin committed by the person who claims to have a “right” to persist in evil — in any sin at all — and who thus rejects Redemption. Dominum et Vivificantem, 46, 47 12 49
  13. 13. What Does the Holy Spirit Do? Although all three Persons of the Trinity accomplish all that is done by the divine nature, certain works are more appropriately attributed to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. For example, the work of creation is attributed to the Father, and the Son is seen as Saviour. 3. The Holy Spirit’s role can seem more obscure. What do you know about what the Holy Spirit does? To begin learning about the specific work and actions of the Holy Spirit, we will look at some Scripture passages which identify his active role in our lives. 4. Read Romans 8:26-27. How does the Holy Spirit help us in prayer? 5. Read John 16:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:3. Why is humanity in desperate need of the Holy Spirit? 48 13
  14. 14. 6. Read John 16:13-15. How does the Holy Spirit glorify Jesus? Summary As we allow the Holy Spirit to move in our hearts, we will see his influence bring about positive changes and growth. His supernatural gifts and fruits will be made manifest in our attitudes, behaviours and interactions with others. 7. Read 1 Corinthians 2:10-16. Why should we never take pride in our spiritual understanding? Living It Out Challenge: Pray in faith for a stirring up of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit in your life. Be confident that the Spirit is working in you and continues to strengthen you with his gifts. Memorize John 15:4: “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” 8. Read Acts 1:4, 5, 8. Why do you think Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit? 14 47
  15. 15. By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear "the fruit of the Spirit . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." "We live by the Spirit"; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit." CCC 736 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. More About the Holy Spirit We have seen that the Holy Spirit helps us to pray, makes us aware of sin, glorifies Jesus, enlightens our minds to understand spiritual truths, and sends us out to be witnesses of the Gospel. Some other important roles of the Holy Spirit include: • inspiring the authors of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) • guiding the Tradition of the Church (teachings passed on from one generation to the next) (1 Thessalonians 2:13) • assisting the leadership and discernment of the pope and the bishops (also called the Magisterium — the teaching office of the Church) (Acts 15) • acting directly in the sacraments, bringing us into union with God. (1 Corinthians 12:13) John 15:2 9. Why does being pruned and renouncing ourselves enable us to bear more fruit? 9. What did you learn about the Holy Spirit in today's lesson? 10. Which of the gifts or fruits would you like to ask the Holy Spirit to make more noticeable in your life? Summary Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven and adopted as children, given confidence to call God “Father” and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory. St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, as quoted in CCC 736) The Holy Spirit is the sometimes forgotten Third Person of the Trinity. However, when we recognize his activity in the world, in salvation history, in the Church, and in our own spiritual lives, we see how truly powerful he is. How could we ever forget him again? 46 15
  16. 16. Living It Out The Fruits of the Spirit Challenge: Read some of the Book of Acts to re-live the adventures of the apostles at the coming of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to help us grow in holiness and more effectively perceive and serve the needs of others. Daily, we can ask the Holy Spirit to activate these gifts within us so that we can love God and others better. Here are some recommendations: • Chapters 1 & 2 – Pentecost • Chapters 3 & 4 – Peter and John: signs and wonders • Chapter 8 – Philip: supernatural experiences • Chapters 9 &10 – Saul’s Conversion • Chapter 12 – Peter imprisoned • Chapters 19-28 – Paul’s voyages and adventures Another sign of the Holy Spirit's activity in our lives is the presence of spiritual fruit. We will now identify these fruits and look at how to foster their growth in our lives. 6. Read Galatians 5:22-23a. What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Memorize Romans 5:5: God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 7. Read John 15:1-17. What does the fruit indicate? (v. 4) 8. What does Jesus say is necessary in order for us to bear fruit? 16 45
  17. 17. Lesson 2 A Variety of Gifts The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are a rich blessing that each of us receives at Baptism and Confirmation. But there is more! Scripture mentions a wide variety of other gifts or charisms that the Spirit can give us. These charisms are not all given to every person — rather, the Spirit distributes unique gifts to each of us. The Church encourages us to desire these gifts and to be open to receiving them. Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. CCC 800 Upon all of you I invoke an outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit, so that in our time too, we may have the experience of a renewed Pentecost. Amen! Homily given by Pope Benedict XVI, June 3, 2006 Let us learn more about these gifts. 4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 1 Corinthians 12: 28-31, Romans 12:4–8, and Ephesians 4:11-13. Before we list them off, what is the overarching purpose of all these gifts? The Battle Within 1. Last week’s challenge was to read from the Book of Acts. Share which sections you read and what inspired you most. Hopefully since last week's lesson we are more interested in experiencing the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is so much more than we realize or understand. We touched on a variety of ways in which the Holy Spirit helps us grow in our relationship with God. He is truly the source and strength of our spiritual life. The chocolate milk analogy emphasized the importance of inviting the Holy Spirit to be active and to influence our lives on a regular basis. Despite genuine desires and attempts to follow God, deep down we really aren't sure how good we are at it. We don't seem to be able to be as spiritual as we think we should be. Perhaps we struggle with discouragement, feeling defeated, or lack of motivation. Today's lesson aims to expose this 'battle within' and assure us that it is quite normal and, frankly, to be expected. It is precisely when we realize our weakness and inability to master the Christian life on our own strength that we realize our need for God's grace and help. This we receive in the Person and presence of the Holy Spirit. 5. List the variety of gifts you found. 44 2. What are some obvious obstacles that might cause someone to struggle to be faithful to God? 17
  18. 18. 3. What are more subtle obstacles or battles a person might encounter in their faith life? Situation 1 – Discerning God’s plan for your future. 4. What helps you make a spiritual turn-around? Situation 2 – Choosing to go to Mass every Sunday. Struggles and Our Relationship with God 5. If you were struggling spiritually, which image would best represent your relationship with God? 18 Situation 3 – Sharing with your friends what God has done in your life. 43
  19. 19. 2. What does The Catechism of the Catholic Church tell us about the purpose of these gifts? 3. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed below, followed by three situations in which they could be used. Discuss which gifts apply to each situation, and how they enable us to be more open to the Holy Spirit. Wisdom: Our hearts desire and long for spiritual and eternal things, not the things the world has to offer. Understanding: We can understand the meaning and deeper truths of Scripture and Church teachings. Counsel: (Also called right judgement). We are able to decide what is the right thing to do, particularly in difficult situations. It is a kind of “supernatural intuition”. Acting as Jesus would (asking ourselves “What Would Jesus Do?”) demonstrates counsel. Knowledge: That which informs our consciences with specific knowledge of morality, so that we know what to do to please God, follow his will, and avoid moral danger. Strength: (Also called fortitude). We are given supernatural courage both to act decisively in the face of difficulty or obstacles and to patiently endure trials or persecution. Piety: (Also called reverence). We respect and love God so much that our love overflows into a life of prayer and obedience. Wonder and Awe: (Also called holy fear). We are filled with a healthy respect for the majesty and sovereign power of God; it makes us dread, above all things, to offend him. This is not a fear of being punished by God; it is a kind of love. 42 6. Underline what stands out for you in this section. We may feel that if we are struggling, we are best represented by the middle image even though we have invited Jesus into our lives. We choose the middle one because we think we are not faithful enough to be in the third one. We must remember that these images represent the kinds of commitments we make, not levels of perfection. If we have sanctifying grace in our souls through Baptism, repent of our failures, live a sacramental life in the Church, and choose to follow, love and honour God, we are living a Christ-centred relationship. If this is how we live, we can be confident that God’s love and commitment to us is unchanging. Our struggles may occur because other concerns or interests are usurping God’s rightful place in our lives, or are leading us into sin. When these sins are venial (not of a serious nature) we need not worry that we have lost our secure relationship with God. Certainly, we need to repent, change and mature. Our relationship with God is continually growing and, just as in marriage, we have to work through the daily struggles. God is not surprised by our weakness, nor is he anxious to leave or drop us whenever we fail or disappoint him. It would be ridiculous if a married couple found themselves sometimes married or sometimes single several times throughout the week, depending on how good a spouse each partner was. The same is true in our relationship with God: our commitment is not severed by day-to-day failures and weaknesses. While venial sin does not sever our relationship with God, mortal sin can. Avoiding mortal sin (serious sin that is wilfully committed with full knowledge of its gravity) is crucial to the integrity of our relationship. Mortal sin separates us from the protection of God’s saving grace; committing a sin of this nature means that we have rejected God from our lives. He is not in the centre, and our relationship becomes represented by the first or second image. However, even if we sin mortally, we can still be reconciled with God. His mercy is endless. Our loving Father longs to restore us to a right relationship with himself. Through our true contrition (sincere sorrow), confession to a priest in the sacrament of Reconciliation, and works of penance, we can respond to his invitation to begin again. 19
  20. 20. As we strive to live out this Christ-centred relationship, we have not been left alone to carry it out on our own devices. We have been given the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us and empowers us. 7. Does this explanation change the way you would answer ‘Which image best represents your relationship with God?’ Why? Lesson 6 Gifts and Fruits 1. Share how you experienced the Holy Spirit acting in your life this past week. Docility allows the Holy Spirit to take an even more active role in our lives. When he does, his presence is evident within us. We are bound to encounter challenges along with successes in our relationship with God. Even with sanctifying grace in our souls, we still have to struggle with our personal weaknesses and temptations. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul shares his own struggles with the ups and downs of the spiritual life. Today, we will look at some special ways we can recognize the Holy Spirit’s work in us. These tell-tale signs are the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. They are accessible and freely given to all through Baptism and Confirmation. These gifts and fruits are both a support to our ongoing docility and a wonderful blessing in our spiritual lives; through them, our relationship with God matures and we grow in holiness. By using the gifts of the Holy Spirit and manifesting his fruits, we become authentic witnesses of God's love to others. Paul’s Struggle We will begin this lesson by looking at the seven gifts we receive at Confirmation. 8. Read Romans 7:18-25. What problem is Paul experiencing? Can you relate to his struggle? How? The Seven Gifts of the Spirit The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. CCC 1830-1831 20 41
  21. 21. + Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle 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. 9. What do you think Paul means by “the flesh”? Holy Spirit, I welcome you into my heart and thank you for the special role you have in my life. I come before you now, conscious of my weaknesses, shortcomings and hesitations, to trust you. I know I need your grace and help to live the Christian life. You are the source of all love, abundance, life, healing and freedom for me. I pray that you would stir up your gifts, power and love in my heart. And I pray that you would be stirred up in my heart. 10. How can Paul’s experience give us hope? Full of gratitude, I give you my “fiat”, my “yes”. I give you permission to act in my life. I pray that I would have the courage to give you my “yes” every day and in every area of my life. Let it be with me according to your word. Amen. Summary Docility is a life-long challenge. It calls us to surrender and entrust our greatest dreams and aspirations to God. It also invites us to live daily in the freedom of God's plan. The present moment is an opportunity to give the Holy Spirit permission to lead us, and for us to follow that lead. May we have the grace to follow Mary's example of childlike trust and openness to the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s Solution 11. Read Romans 8:1-17. Identify (by colour coding, circling, etc.) what Paul says pertains to the flesh, and what pertains to the Spirit. 12. We are no longer condemned to hopeless despair as slaves to sin. How were we freed from slavery to the law of sin and death? (especially in vv. 1-4) Living It Out Challenge: This week, let go and let God move in your life. Sincerely give the Holy Spirit permission to act in just one small problem in your life. Listen to his lead, prepared to follow. See what happens. Memorize Luke 1:38a: Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ 40 21
  22. 22. 13. How does Paul counsel us to live in this truth and fight “the flesh” from ruling our lives? a) vv. 5-8 b) vv. 12-13 9. In what areas is it difficult to be docile to the Holy Spirit? 10. What happened when Mary said “yes” to God? How is this different than the decision of our first parents? 11. How does docility make you feel? c) v. 14 d) vv. 15-17 It is very simple to give the Holy Spirit permission to direct our lives. All it takes is a sincere prayer of faith, opening our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s action. Let us take a moment now to reflect on this invitation in quiet prayer. 22 39
  23. 23. 14. What have you learned from this lesson and from reflecting on Romans 7 and 8? Fiat Mary, through her “fiat” (or “yes”), allowed the Holy Spirit to overshadow her and conceive Jesus in her womb. This attitude of “let it be done to me according to your word” can be summed up in a single word: docility. The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that "with God nothing will be impossible" and so giving her assent: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." Elizabeth greeted her: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed. CCC 148 Mary was the first to receive the Holy Spirit through her “fiat” — she was not meant to be the last. 8. What does it mean to be called to docility, as Mary was? Summary The spiritual life is a battle — we must constantly struggle to overcome our sinful tendencies. This battle is not only experienced by those who are far from God — even saints like Paul had to fight to stay faithful. Thankfully, in the midst of our struggles, God is our great encourager. Through Jesus we have been set free from slavery to sin and, through the Holy Spirit, we are given the means to live a life pleasing to God. Living It Out Challenge: Partake of the sacrament of Reconciliation. It is a sure means of grace when fighting sinful tendencies. As Mary experienced, God’s call in our lives can sometimes seem intimidating, perhaps unbelievable. We can ask ourselves, “Who am I that God would want to do great things through me?” We may be excited about how God will use us, but we may also be tempted to count the cost of saying “yes”, fearful of how this could change our lives. 38 Memorize Romans 8:1-2: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 23
  24. 24. Lesson 3 Living in the Spirit 1. How has your understanding of the Holy Spirit deepened so far in this study? We are not alone in our spiritual battles — Jesus promised that the Father would send us the Holy Spirit. He specifically referred to the Spirit as the Paraclete or Advocate, which literally means, “he who is called to one’s side”. This Greek word derives from legal terminology for a defence attorney, but can also mean spokesperson, mediator, consoler, helper and comforter. All these meanings paint a fuller picture of the way the Holy Spirit helps us in our spiritual growth. The theme of this lesson, “Living in the Spirit,” is about living the Christian life daily and consistently, assisted and empowered by the Paraclete — the Holy Spirit. Mary as our Model We will now look at Mary. This Jewish teenager experienced the profound mystery of receiving God into her person in an unprecedented way. Her story will teach us what it means to become a temple of the Holy Spirit. 5. Read Luke 1:26-38. In the Annunciation of the Lord, we witness Mary’s response to the Holy Spirit. Discuss what it must have been like for Mary to experience this event. 6. Read verses 35-38 again. What interaction is Mary about to have with the Holy Spirit? Our Helper 2. Read Galatians 5:16-25. What is happening in Galatians 5:16-17? 24 7. Mary is sometimes called the “Ark of the New Covenant”. Given the account of the Annunciation, why would the Church give her this title? 37
  25. 25. Temple of the Holy Spirit It is a great blessing to know the Holy Spirit. Through Baptism, Confirmation and the other sacraments, we encounter him in a privileged way. However, human beings have not always enjoyed this incredible privilege. In the Old Testament, people had a very different experience of the Spirit of God. As we learned in Discovery, the fall of Man caused by sin created a rift between humanity and God. Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our “sins have hidden his face” — this was the day-to-day experience of the Jewish faithful in the Old Testament. 3. What was the Jewish (Old Testament) understanding of the Spirit of God’s dwelling place? 3. Look carefully at how Paul speaks about the Holy Spirit. What phrases help us understand how the Holy Spirit acts and helps us? The Zigzag Illustration The zigzag illustration is a visual representation of the spiritual life. It can be used as an image of what we have read in Galatians. The vertical side of the graph shows the degree to which our lives are in conformity to the will of God. This axis points toward a spiritual lifestyle of growing in intimacy with the Lord. By moving down the graph, we progressively distance ourselves from God, and fall into sin. The horizontal axis indicates the time it takes to move between the two lifestyles. As we know today, God sought to remedy this situation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Let us look at the direct results of Christ's saving work on Calvary: 4. What kind of spiritual journey does this first zigzag represent? 4. Read Matthew 27:51 and 1 Corinthians 6:19. How has this event radically changed our relationship to God, especially in the Person of the Holy Spirit? 36 25
  26. 26. 5. What is the advantage of the spiritual experience demonstrated by the second zigzag? Lesson 5 Docility to the Holy Spirit 1. How did the strategies we shared last lesson help you overcome barriers in approaching the Spirit this past week? In the last few weeks, we have discussed who the Holy Spirit is, what role he has in our lives, the struggles we have with sin and temptation, God’s plan for a life in the Spirit, and the barriers that typically impede his activity in our life. This week we will examine how to be led by the Holy Spirit. We read in Romans 5:5 that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” There is something attractive about a person in love with God who is led by the Holy Spirit and filled with his grace. Consistency 2. What characteristics should describe a Spirit-filled person? The quicker we repent and turn to the Holy Spirit for help, the less difficult it will be to continue moving forward in our spiritual growth. The grace we receive empowers us to live according to the Spirit. 6. Galatians 5:25 tells us, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” The word “live” implies walking in the Spirit in an on-going and consistent way. Why do you think this is an important principle? 26 35
  27. 27. Summary 7. Read Luke 11:13. How do we know we can ask for the Holy Spirit’s help on a moment’s notice? Awareness of the barriers to the Spirit-filled life is essential for overcoming them. Equipped with this knowledge, we must turn to the Holy Spirit to empower us and give us the courage to live as children of God. Living It Out Challenge: Put into practice your strategies to overcome one of your personal barriers to living in the Spirit. Memorize Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Live by the Spirit Let's pull together the points developed in the past two lessons. In our attempts to follow God, we can encounter a variety of setbacks, where our weaknesses and sin lead us to do things we regret and we feel distanced from God. This up-and-down spiritual life is not uncommon and underscores our constant need for God's help. The Holy Spirit, as the Paraclete, assists, comforts and comes alongside us as we strive to follow God. In Scripture, this life in the Spirit is described as walking in the Spirit and being guided by the Spirit, implying an ongoing and consistent life with him. It is the Holy Spirit who works out, in us, our ongoing conversion and helps us to keep Jesus at the centre of our lives. Two key words will help us to stay in a Christ-centred relationship and live by the Spirit: choose and ask. 8. How does the word "choose" apply to our ongoing conversion and life in the Spirit? 34 27
  28. 28. 9. How does the word "ask" apply to our ongoing conversion and life in the Spirit? Personal Reflection 14. List barriers you are currently facing in your spiritual life and how you can invite the Holy Spirit into these areas. Share your barriers with the group. Together, try to think of more ways to overcome these barriers and find Scripture verses that offer wisdom particular to your situation. Barriers For example: There are certain sinful behaviours in my lifestyle that God is asking me to reject. Strategies • Talk to a trusted friend about it • Go to Confession and receive counselling from the priest Summary • Pray for the courage to change • Reflect on a worship song about The Holy Spirit as Paraclete is our helper. We cannot continue to grow in a Christ-centred relationship without his help. Otherwise, we experience an unfulfilling, frustrating and guiltridden up-and-down spiritual life. We are invited to walk in the Spirit continually, choosing to turn to him for help in any and all circumstances. • Reflect on Titus 2:6-8. surrender Living It Out Challenge: This week, remember the "choose and ask" model several times throughout your day to live by the Spirit. Memorize Luke 11:13: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” 28 33
  29. 29. 10. By turning to the “law”, who are the Galatians ultimately depending upon? 11. What is the “Galatian trap”? Lesson 4 Barriers to Living in the Spirit 1. Did the "choose and ask" model help you turn to the Holy Spirit for help more often last week? How? Share some specific examples. We have learned that the Holy Spirit plays a crucial role in our lives as Christians. Despite the interior battle against sin and temptation, living in the Spirit brings us fulfillment and joy. 12. How can self-effort be a hindrance to the Christian walk? How could it be a help? Occasionally, however, it seems that certain obstacles block the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives, not unlike how clogs in a pipe prevent water from flowing freely into our homes. We realize we are not experiencing the strength, direction or assistance we have been promised. Today's lesson will concretely address typical yet significant barriers that prevent the Holy Spirit from having full influence in our lives. Common Barriers 13. The Galatians were trying to earn salvation through careful observance of the law. How do we fall into this trap today? 32 2. Read Hebrews 12:1. What prevents us from running the race Paul describes? 29
  30. 30. 3. Read Romans 12:2. What does Paul warn us to avoid? 4. Read Matthew 19:16-22. What does this young man’s response indicate about his relationship with God? 5. Read Hebrews 6:11-12. What does the author of Hebrews warn the believers to avoid? 7. Are you experiencing any of these barriers? Which one(s)? 8. How can we incorporate what we have learned about the Holy Spirit into our response to these barriers? The Galatian Trap We will now address what is perhaps the biggest barrier to our Christian walk. Since it is less obvious than the others, it can be more difficult to overcome. It can be called the Galatian Trap. 9. Read Galatians 3:1-3. Why is Paul upset with the Galatians? 6. Read James 1:2-3. What barrier does James address? 30 31