Office for Christian Unity,
Thursday, May 11, 2023
From April 13 until May 25, we read excerpts from The Gift of the Spirit: lessons on the Holy Spirit (The Centurion) by Pierre Ganne, a Jesuit priest (1904 – 1979).
The Spirit and the Church (1)
We speak of the “gift of the Spirit” as we say that faith is a “gift of God.” What does that mean? It means that God is always the first. He loved us first. He loves us first. The gift of God is universal. If God is not universal, who would be? Only we live as if we ignore it completely. God gives us equally his “Universal Spirit”. And he gives it, before any Church whichever it may be. This does not mean that every man recognizes the gift of the Spirit. To misunderstand or not
recognize the gift of God is a sad adventure that could happen to anyone without exception. And if in the confessions of faith it is said: “I believe in the Holy Spirit…, the Church”, it is because there was a very clear awareness of this simple reality that everything is founded
on the gift of the Spirit, and that the Church, without this gift, no longer has any meaning; or, more exactly will take on any meaning we give it. This is a process that people have been trying to verify throughout all eras. We will pay the consequences of such an enormous waste of energy in the name of faith. I have found that healthy minds, which have not been tainted by a semi-intellectuality, a disaster by excellence, understood this simple truth very well, and
they recognized in it the origin of their freedom of spirit. And freedom of spirit comes from the Holy Spirit.
Pierre Ganne, The Gift of the Spirit: Lessons on the Holy Spirit,
(Le Centurion), 1984, p. 94
Prepared by our brothers and sisters in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To be used as appropriate
1/ Several so-called Revival Churches are born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and attract many believers with their message often based on the theology of prosperity. Unfortunately, most of these churches refuse ecumenical dialogue.
Lord, we pray to you for all these churches of revival in the DRC: in this Easter season, increase in all those who confess faith in Christ as Savior and Lord the desire to enter into relationship with each other. We entrust to you all those who are being formed for the ministry within these Churches, grant them the grace to become a servant according to your heart!
2/. Since 2004, the Chemin Neuf Community in the DRC has developed social and educational missions with young Congolese through reception centers for street children, a vocational training center and a school complex welcoming more of 2,000 students from kindergarten to high school.
Lord, we pray for young Congolese who are either disenchanted with an uncertain future or discouraged by complex and hurting family situations. May these young people who attend centers or schools run by the Chemin Neuf Community find comfort, support and hope there.
3/ At the beginning of February, the city of Kinshasa had the great joy of welcoming Pope Francis for a visit that was both pastoral and political. The Pope was able to send a clear and impactful message to the political authorities but also to the Congolese population, the
youth and the local clergy.
Lord, we give you thanks for this visit which has brought a beautiful message of hope for the country and the Church. Give all those who have heard this message to welcome and fully integrate what the Pope has left as a “spiritual testament”.
4/ Several African countries are facing growing violence and insecurity: the DRC has been experiencing a war for more than 20 years in the east of the country for economic and political reasons, in Sudan deadly fighting continues …
Lord we pray to you for all these revolting situations, we entrust to you all the victims of armed conflicts on this continent. May you encourage a true dialogue between the different actors of this violence in order to open a path of reconciliation and peace.