Meditation by Brother Alois

“The Holy Spirit makes of us builders of peace and unity”

Saturday 11 June 2022

What a joy to be together in this Pentecost week! The Covid pandemic has left its mark on all of us and has often isolated us, now we feel all the more deeply the beauty of being able to meet together.

We, the brothers, are very glad to welcome you, especially to the common prayers. And we would like all those who enter this church of reconciliation to feel that it is God himself who welcomes us.

Prayer is not a duty. It makes us available to receive God’s love, and it expresses our love and our thirst for love. It makes us open to others and prepares us to take on responsibilities.

But if we, the brothers, welcome you here in the church, I must add straight away that it is also you who support our prayer by your presence and your participation. In the Church we all need each other. There are different tasks and functions in the Church, but there is only one master: Jesus the Christ.

Yes, we need each other to grow in trust in God. We live in a time of all kinds of threats that can make us afraid, such as the climate disaster and the biodiversity crisis and now the war in Ukraine, which is so close to us.

It seems to me that trusting in God’s presence and God’s love becomes even more important, not in order to minimise the problems but in order to face up to them. Prayer enables us not to run away from difficulties.

At the first Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus were all gathered in prayer to wait for “power from on high”. And we are gathered in the same way. The many small candles we lit earlier are a symbol of a profound truth: the Holy Spirit gives us light from within.

The Holy Spirit is love and inner light, and is also the breath of life, which is always present. Just as our breathing makes us live, even if we do not realise it, so the Holy Spirit makes us live at every moment, even if we are not aware of it. And there is a link between our physical breathing and the breath of God within us. Someone has even gone so far as to say that our breath is the sacrament of the Holy Spirit.

As the breath of life, the Holy Spirit animates all creation. It is a joy to recognise that we humans are connected to everything that exists. And the Bible tells us that creation groans and waits like us for liberation. So let us redouble our efforts to care for our wonderful planet.

With all our diversity, the Holy Spirit unites us to each other and to Jesus. Nothing can separate us from Christ Jesus, no evil, neither the present nor the future, nor death, not even sin if we acknowledge it.

Thus the Holy Spirit makes of us builders of peace and unity. In our families, in our neighbourhoods, in our workplaces, at school or university and also in our churches, we can reach out to others and take an interest in them. Above all, we can reach out to those who are going through a trial.

The enormous generosity with which the millions of Ukrainian refugees have been welcomed in the various countries of Europe reveals a great potential for openness and humanity. And we would like this generosity to overflow to other people in need, such as refugees from other countries.

Generosity means material help, but not just that. To meet personally with those in need is irreplaceable. We have just had this experience: three brothers went to meet Ukrainian refugees in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and they were also able to go to Ukraine itself, to Lviv and Kiev. They brought with them the fruits of a solidarity collection, but they realised that personal contact is as important as material aid. For the people they visited, it was an encouragement and a sign that they are not forgotten.

And we had a similar experience during our pilgrimage to the Holy Land just three weeks ago. With 300 young people from different countries, we were welcomed by the Christians there. There are fewer and fewer of them; many have to leave their land. Such visits, signs of solidarity, are essential to help them keep going.

Let us dare to make such visits to people around us, where we live. Then a joy is given. It is a way of expressing our faith in Christ who came to unite the whole human family. And it is a way to renew the life of our churches.

Last updated: 15 June 2022