Friday, August 24, 2012

Acts 12, 1-20 part 2

We looked at little at these first 20 verses of Acts 12 last time. Once again, please read these verses for context and then answer the following questions. Review the paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (below) and answer the embedded questions.

vv. 1-20        Our faith is a supernatural faith. Why might it remain an intellectual reality vs. an internalized reality? Note these passages and consider how the role of God the Holy Spirit might make that an internalized reality: Gen 1:1-2; Matt 3:11 with Acts 1:5-8 and 2:1-4; Luke 11:11 and 12:11-12; John 14:16-17; 16:13-14. See also the CCC paragraphs (below) for further discussion.                

696 Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who "arose like fire" and whose "word burned like a torch," brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This event was a "figure" of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches.

Question: Since the Holy Spirit transforms what He touches, take some time now to consider, 'How has He transformed YOU?

John the Baptist, who goes "before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah," proclaims Christ as the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."38 Jesus will say of the Spirit: "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!"39 In the form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself  . . . .

Question: Since the Holy Spirit fills believers with Himself, what evidence do you see in your life that indicates you are indwelt with and empowered by the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit and the Church

737 The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church
which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Question: Who is the Church? Or is the Church merely a place where we gather to worship God?

Question: If the Church is a 'Who', have you a role in the Church? Read 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 as you consider your answer.

This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ.

Question: Since the Spirit prepares us to be drawn to Christ, how did He prepare you to come to Him? If you were baptized as an infant, think back to how the Spirit prepared you for your confirmation of intent to walk with Christ for the rest of your life.

The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit."

Question: The Holy Spirit empowers us to bear fruit for Christ. What does it mean to you to bear fruit for Jesus? What are you doing to work together with the Holy Spirit to bear fruit?

742 "Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!"' (Gal 4:6).

Question: Read the context of that passage cited in Galatians 4:6. 'Abba" is the Aramaic term for 'Daddy.'  Think about what that term, 'daddy' means in relation to your walk with God. Have you ever called God, 'daddy'?  If not, why not? 

747 The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men.

Question: The word, 'sanctify' means to 'set apart for the work of God.' What does it mean to you that the Holy Spirit 'sanctifies' you as part of His Church? How are you permitting Him to 'set you apart to do His work?

1101 The Holy Spirit gives a spiritual understanding of the Word of God to those who read or hear it, according to the dispositions of their hearts . . . . so that they can live out the meaning of what they hear, contemplate, and do in the celebration.

Question: What does it mean to you that the Holy Spirit gives understanding of the Scriptures 'according to the dispositions of their hearts'? How might our 'dispositions' (or, our heart's preparation, focus, desire) be made more receptive to the guidance and instruction from the Holy Spirit as we read the Scriptures? 

1102  "By the saving word of God, faith . . . is nourished in the hearts of believers. By this faith then the congregation of the faithful begins and grows." The proclamation does not stop with a teaching; it elicits the response of faith as consent and commitment, directed at the covenant between God and his people. Once again it is the Holy Spirit who gives the grace of faith, strengthens it and makes it grow in the community. The liturgical assembly is first of all a communion in faith.

Question: What does our heart's disposition have to do with any of the things talked about in this paragraph 1102?

I know this is a long lesson. We will cover the next part of this chapter next time.



No comments: