Praised be Jesus Christ! World Youth Day has come to a close and I cannot help but reflect on the great grace of realizing how every soul really longs for truth. This may seem elementary to many because if we are made in the image and likeness of God, of course, we long for ultimate Truth, which is our Creator. In day-to-day living, though, our activities and responsibilities, many times, hinder us from reflecting on the truth that each soul is infinitely loved by God and that actual grace is working at every millisecond of each person’s life to be drawn to know Him and desire Him. I have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in a new way through my opportunity to participate in WYD. This power was revealed to me to be very gentle and unassuming.
I had always pictured the “power of the Holy Spirit” as something very forceful and strong. My encounters with those who attended WYD (old and young alike), those who observed from afar, those who were skeptical at first, those who are of other faiths – have helped me to understand in a new way that the Holy Spirit is gentle and He allows each individual to grow at their own pace…and grapple, if necessary, to understand truth – just as Jacob wrestled with the angel all night. No person is left in the dust, so to speak – God is active in every soul, it is simply a matter of consent on the person’s part to open their heart to His inspirations – and even then it does not happen like a Saint Paul conversion being thrown off his horse – no, the Spirit works in slow, gentle, and quiet movements of the soul for most common folk. I witnessed this gentle opening of people’s souls to His inspirations – many did not even realize that this was what was happening and yet by either their questions, their thoughts shared, and their willingness to listen to others’ thoughts – one could see that the Holy Spirit was living and active, and working with souls where they were at.
I have been told that this WYD held the great gift of very accessible adoration throughout the city. The youth were able to kneel before our Lord in almost every venue and could find Him in many places anytime of the day or night through the week – what a tremendous outpouring of grace! And what is prayer before our Lord but an encounter with the living God Who transforms us and molds us and teaches us to pray for one another as He intercedes for us daily before the Father. Having a half a million youth praying for our world, our Church, and one another must have resounded in heaven and made the angels both weep for joy and rejoice – and how it must have worked in the hearts of the people of Australia and around the world! Hearts were opened because of prayer – how powerful is prayer when we ask sincerely before our Heavenly Father.
The gift of having our Holy Father so close to us is beyond words. There is a grace with the Office of Peter that transcends boundaries of faith – people of different faiths shared how happy they were to have Pope Benedict visit Sydney. There was a tug in my heart when I heard that his plane left for Rome. I thank our Lord for the gift of my faith, to have had an opportunity to be a witness of His love, and to be transformed (God-willing) by my encounter with others who are living witnesses of their faith.
As Sister Mary Scholastica and I close our reflections,ending our World Youth Day journaling in the blogging world I hold each of you in my heart. My prayer for each person who has walked this journey with us and those who have been touched in other ways through this grace-filled time is that you will be drawn more deeply into the truth that you are uniquely loved by God and that He desires your friendship as though you were the only person on earth. May the Holy Spirit be our beacon of light and burn brightly in our souls so that we truly will be His witnesses before the world and give testimony to the power of His love and mercy in our lives.
With much love and gratitude…
Sister Grace Helena