By ZOE CANNON
GRATITUDE FOR THE GIFT OF FAITH
“Brothers and sisters: The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly” (Romans 5:5-6)
We just celebrated the Feast of Pentecost – the launching of the Church! In the Church liturgical calendar, we observe God’s love with an outpouring of grace through the Mystical Body of Christ.
The Catholic Church dedicates the month of June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It’s a great opportunity to share the story of our chosen Savior. In 1856, Pope Pius IX designated the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi as the Feast of the Sacred Heart for the universal Church. The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated June 16 this year.
I could not imagine a life without faith in Jesus Christ. I enjoy starting the day with trust in Him, and going to sleep at night knowing of His love for me. I pray for those who do not know the peace that comes from this relationship. We should boldly proclaim the message of His living sacrifice by offering our lives with gratitude every day!
My devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began when I was very young. I was baptized; made my first confession; and received the sacraments of First Holy Communion, Confirmation, and Matrimony at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Vincennes. Each priest who ministered at Sacred Heart enhanced my Catholic faith during those years. I attended the parish grade school and will always be grateful for the religious instruction taught by lay teachers and the Benedictine Sisters. I love sharing the catechesis I received during those formative years. God can never be outdone in generosity, and I believe we can do a better job of letting Him know that we appreciate His blessings.
In the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we find the disciples gathered in the Upper Room waiting for the promise of an advocate sent by Jesus after His Resurrection. Everything that took place at Pentecost provides a visual image of power. The fire of tongues and the babel of different languages were meant to give clarity to those present. This knowledge prepared them to go out, spread the good news and grow the Church.
Jesus knows everyone wants to be understood. Most important, Jesus wants us to understand the truth of His teachings. Authentic Christian life is not possible without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. If we choose not to have conversations about the issues that divide us, we may miss an opportunity to begin transforming lives. Jesus spent His earthly life serving others with immense love. He came to heal wounded and troubled hearts.
We certainly see wounded people in our society. Jesus is the world’s only hope! From His Ascension to His second coming, the followers of Jesus are called to be a witness of godly life: “He said to them, it is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:7-8).
The Holy Spirit is a gift that brings the Father and the Son together in love. This gift of love is available to us today! I asked my grandsons to draw a picture that portrayed generosity. I found an amazing picture of Jesus on the cross, and it said, “the most generous gift of all!” Chosen to be our Savior, Jesus is life! Be generous and tell this good news to everyone! Do not be afraid; the Holy Spirit is in us! Amen!