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Risen Lamb Writings
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"Risen Lamb Writings"

"Whispers of Light" (part 15)

          The upper room was a place of miracles, and today our intercessory prayer groups are invited into this upper room experience. In the upper room on the night before his death, Jesus spoke forth into common bread and wine the miracle of his "Eucharistic Love": "This is my Body for you"; "This is my Blood for you." The upper room was also the place of the miracle of Pentecost when the words of Jesus-- "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you" (Acts 1:8)--and the overshadowing and penetration of the Spirit brought forth the visibility of the Body of Jesus, the Church, in its members as new, living stones.

          Several days before Pentecost, before his Ascension, Jesus spoke to the Apostles and disciples these words: "In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5). There was a grace present for them to be led to use these "few days" as a time of prayer to prepare for the miracle of the descent of the Holy Spirit that would change their lives forever. So too, intercessory prayer circles are invited to embrace this as a paradigm on how to prepare for a new empowerment by the Holy Spirit.

          A print of one of the traditional paintings that depicts the moment of Pentecost is found in the Roman Missal used in our Catholic celebration of the Eucharist. The painting depicts Mary as situated in the center of the upper room with everyone else gathered around her. She is at the "heart" of this inner space, in its "innermost recesses", "Like a fruitful vine in the recesses" of the upper room (Ps. 128:3). There she mentored them in the "hidden life" of prayer to prepare them for the coming of the Holy Spirit who "is the hidden God who is Love and Gift" ("Dominum et vivi ficantem", encyclical letter; Pope John Paul II).

          In the scene of the 'Baptism of the Lord', we see Jesus in prayer before he is anointed by the Holy Spirit:

"[After] Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him" (Luke 3:21-22).

One might say that this preparation time in prayer in the upper room was an "extension" of this mystery of the Baptism of the Lord (see JP II, general audience, June 21st, 1989).

          Mary's presence in the upper room assured that those with her would live in a "climate of prayer" with prayer at the center of their lives. No doubt, her presence in the upper room helped to create an atmosphere of expectation in the minds and hearts of those gathered. She prepared them for the indwelling presence of her Spouse, the Holy Spirit. Mary could teach them how to "receive" power from on high, to make sure that all those present were fully receptive to the "Gift", the Promise of the Father. She who waited in prayer for the birth of Jesus at the Nativity waited in prayer again during the time leading up to Pentecost (see Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, vol. I, p.126).

          Mary, the Apostles and disciples were in prayer during the time between the Ascension of the Lamb and Pentecost: The time in between the promise and fulfillment. This is where intercessors pray from: The "middle place" between the promise of God and its fulfillment. Having been informed by the Lord as to how to pray, we engage in committed and sustained prayer--persevering prayer that is oriented towards fulfillment. Like Mary and those gathered in the upper room, we kneel and pray at the "praedo of promise": "Pray[ing] always without becoming weary...call[ing] out to him day and night" (Luke 18:1,7).

          We are told that "All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers" (Acts 1:14). Even before Pentecost, change had already taken place in their hearts:

"Their prayer was already a fruit of the interior action of the Holy Spirit. For it is he who urges to prayer and helps one to be devoted to prayer...the Holy Spirit was already at work in the "secrecy of prayer" (John Paul II, general audience, June 21st, 1989).

          The word, devote, means 'to give or apply (one's time, attention, or self) entirely to a particular activity, pursuit, cause or person'. The fact that those gathered devoted themselves to prayer implies a sacrifice and a willful intention on their part. After Pentecost we read in Acts, "We shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4). Here even before the miracle of the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit was at work within them in this devotion: "A prayer of the most complete dedication not only of the heart but also of the Will" (JP II, general audience, June 21st, 1989). The witness of Mary's 'devotedness to prayer' in the upper room could only have helped to encourage and urge onward those gathered with her. 

          We are told that those gathered were praying in "one accord". The word, accord, means 'to cause to conform or agree; to be in unity'. The root meaning of this word means "heart", and two words that share this same root meaning are the words, "courage", and "according" ("May it be done to me according to your word"--Luke 1:38); ("Let it done for you according to your faith"--Mt. 9:29). Hence, their hearts were already engaged before Pentecost. Lastly, we are told that they all prayed with "one accord". Even before the descent of the Holy Spirit, one can begin to observe amongst them the fruit of Jesus' "priestly prayer" found in John's Gospel:

"That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you...that they may be one; as we are one" (John 17:21,22).   

Questions:

1)   Am I aware of an area within my heart where I struggle to be able to receive from another?

2)   Am I living an "entirely devoted" lifestyle as an intercessor?

Scriptures:

Any scripture from the text; 1Kgs.8:61; Mt. 6:6; Luke 11:5-8

PLEASE BE UNITED WITH US IN PRAYER BY VISITING "THIS WEEK'S BURNING ISSUES" UNDER THE EVENTS PAGE

"TWO-ZERO-ONE-SEVEN, TIME TO STORM HEAVEN"

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