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  My Witness

Vol. 4, No. 1, January, 1999

Pope John Paul II: The Gift of The Holy Spirit and the Need for Prayer
by Sr. Angeline Bukowiecki, S.N.C.

Sister Angeline Pope John Paul II continues his call to the Church for a new evangelization, new in its fervor, expression, and methods. In his various homilies and addresses, he speaks of the need for the gift of the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission of the new evangelization with power. He goes on to say that to be effective, all evangelization must be preceded by prayer and that evangelizers must be accompanied by the power of prayer in their proclaimation of the word.

A. Evangelization Under The Power Of The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is our life, renewal, zeal, hope, courage, wisdom, perseverance, and our protection.

  • "According to the Apostle, the 'service of the New Covenant' receives life from the Holy Spirit, through whom the proclamation of the Gospel and the entire work of salvation takes place" (General Audience at Vatican City, Feb. 6, 1991).

  • "I earnestly exhort you to generously open your mind and heart to receive a large outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May a new Pentecost descend upon you so that each of you might become spiritually renewed and continue on a new road of evangelical witness" (Homily for Pentecost Sunday, Vatican City, May 14, 1989).

  • "There is a need for us, in the fullness, joy and enthusiasm which comes from the Holy Spirit to take on the task which is more urgent and important than any other, that of making the unfathomable riches of Christ known to our brothers and sisters" (To Bishops of Chile during Ad Limina Visit, March 10, 1989).

  • "The difficulty man has in accepting Christ and his word should not be feared. The action of the Holy Spirit . . . is still at work today in the hearts of human beings, in cultures, and in religion" (Address at the Urbanian University, Rome, April 1, 1991).

  • "Say'Yes' to the Holy Spirit. In the breath of this Spirit the Church has lived for almost two thousand years. The same Spirit gives her the courage soon to enter the Third Christian Millennium" (Homily at Mass at Salzburg, Austria, June 26, 1988).

  • "The Holy Spirit was a Light and interior Teacher for the apostles, who had to know Christ in depth to be able to fulfill their task as his evangelizers. He was and is the same for the Church, and in the Church for believers of every generation" (General Audience at Vatican City, April 24, 1992).

  • "Under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, we too must continue the task that falls to us as Church, as members of God's People. We must proclaim to the world that God alone is Lord" (Address at Vera Cruz, Mexico, May 7, 1990).

  • "In bearing witness to Christ, the Paraclete is an assiduous Advocate and Defender of the work of salvation and of all those engaged in this work" (General Audience at Vatican City, May 24, 1989).

Let us ask the Lord Jesus Christ to pour out his Holy Spirit anew upon us, the Church, in ever greater abundance, that we might be courageous, bold evangelizers, eager to reach out and bring Jesus to those who do not know him, so that they, too, might come into a personal relationship with him.

"Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and thou shalt renew the face of the earth."

B. Prayer In Our Evanglizing Efforts

Pope John Paul II reminds all in the Church that for evangelization to be effective it must be preceded by prayer and accompanied by prayer. Let us listen to this voice of God as he speaks to us about the need for us to be evangelizers who not only pray but go out to evangelize in the power of prayer.

  • "The fact that more than two?thirds of the human race still do not know Christ or fail to share their faith in him as Redeemer, urges the Church to strive continually to prepare new generations of apostles and to intensify her prayerfulness and commitment" (Message for World Mission Day, Pentecost Sunday, May 22, 1988).

  • "Prayer is the context in which we prepare the proclamation faith. All evangelization is prepared in prayer; in prayer it is first applied to ourselves: in prayer it is then offerd to the world" (Ad Limina Visit of Bishops of the U.S.A., June 10, 1988).

  • "Among the forms of sharing, first place goes to spiritual cooperation through prayer, sacrifice and witness of Christian life. Prayer should accompany the journey of missionaries so that the proclamation of the word will be effective through God's grace" (Redemptoris Missio, 78).

  • "Let all souls consecrated to the contemplative life take comfort. Thanks to their hidden life of prayer, both the Church and the world she is called to evangelize receive much light and great strength from the Lord" (Marian Year Letter to All Consecrated Persons, Pentecost, 1988).

  • "All religious must constantly renew their union with Christ by listening to His Word . . . . as well as by constant prayer. Only thus can you be real evangelizers" (Centenary Letter to Religious of Latin America, July, 1990).

  • "The mission of spreading the Gospel is complex and demanding. For this reason it is necessary to state again that the urgency of apostolic duties should never allow the primary need for prayer and contemplation to be forgotten. The Church needs, today more than ever, apostles who know how to be contemplatives in action" (Sunday Angelus at Vatican City, July 28, 1991).

  • "While not all are called to lifelong missionary vocations [in countries not yet evangelized], all must pray for and foster a missionary spirit in their own hearts and in ther faith communities" (Message Anticipating World Mission Sunday, June 24, 1992).

Let us take heed to the words of our Holy Father and become men and women of prayer, people who know how to be contemplatives in action, evangelizers who reach out to others in the power of prayer.

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