A Visit to the Upper Room

The morning after a life altering event often becomes a crossroad in one’s life. Something-- life changing-- has taken place and a new dawn forces one to note: “I am not the same.” And to ask: “Now what?”

The morning of November 18th, 2016 became just that type of morning for many, following an occasion where The Holy Spirit was invited to make a guest appearance at our inaugural Discernment Gathering of Pastoral Council Leaders. Nothing like this had happened here at the parish before. This was a big day; a day that we, in attendance, would not soon forget. And it would become a day that I wish every member of our Church might have experienced, for it was in coming together in this manner of prayer, as the Body of Christ, that we fully committed ourselves to the work that Christ, as His disciples, had commissioned us to do.

Twenty-three people met in our Church the evening of November 17th and to me, the scene was a familiar one, recalling something of what must have taken place in the Upper Room the day, “Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James” had gathered. During the discernment process songs of praise were sung, Letters from Paul to the Corinthians and to the Romans were shared, and God was with us! As I sat with these disciples of Christ, I observed our pastor leading his faithful people in mission and I thought: How similar people become when they have the desire to work for Jesus. Then I recalled a comforting passage from Acts 1:12: “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer….” The morning after the discernment gathering, questions from curious and faithful Church goers filled my email account: “Well, what happened? What was it like? Can you tell me more about the meeting?” My answer: “We gathered in prayer and waited for The Holy Spirit to come…. And he did.” Members of the Discernment group, most interested in a seat on the council, five in total, spoke with the Grace of God on their tongues, describing how God had done great things with them. The audience listened in admiration and with gratitude. We learned so much about each other. We grew our love for each other. For the first time, since I have been president of the Pastoral Council, we were One Body, all with one accord. I discerned more that night than I had imagined from this time in prayer with the Holy Spirit and my faithful parishioners: Mainly, that prayer is an equalizer; that working for Jesus gives one dignity, purpose and a reason for being; and finally… that I am where I belong.