The first time I had ever been to my cousin’s house was also the first time we ever prayed together as a family. Unlike our usual family festivities, this get-together was a hard one to attend. We were here to pray for healing over my aunt who was just diagnosed with cancer. Everyone gathered together, fidgeting and awkwardly looking around the room. My cousin stood up, the eldest granddaughter of fourteen, cleared her throat and said, “Thank you for coming.”
And one by one, each of us shared a heartfelt word with my aunt, reminding her we would be there for her every step of the way: she wouldn’t be alone, she was fierce, she was a fighter. With each person’s words, we cried tears of sorrow and even tears of joy.
My second-eldest cousin reminisced about the first time he went to church with my aunt. He shared what a gift it was to witness her heart fall in love with the Lord. I was struck by the effect of my aunt’s witness, the testimony of a newly revived Christian heart repenting and letting her heart be transformed by Jesus. Her witness gave him a chance to see the Lord’s grace anew, even though he had walked with the Lord his whole life.
And because of seeing her life change, he fell in love with the Lord again.
How many times does the Lord’s grace want to fall afresh on us through the witness of a family member or a friend? The witnessing of that person may even happen because we tell them about Christ’s life, death, and resurrection or we surrender to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to invite them in. And in this beautiful cycle of witnessing, the Body of Christ continues to be made new.
This is what it means to be a witness “in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8) — even, and especially, in our families. We are given the command to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. Even in a cancer diagnosis,
- even in an unknowable future, we are invited to be His witnesses.
My own heart was changed after this story. I felt a renewed longing for intimacy and relationship with our God who offers mercy to each one of us. And most especially, I walked away from that night with a heart on fire to be a witness.
I want to witness by living a life in step and on fire with the power of the Holy Spirit who would testify to my family, friends, and coworkers. I want to share a God who desires to know each one of them, a Creator who longs to be in relationship with them, a Holy Spirit who lights a fire in their bones and brings them to life.
Jesus promised this Holy Spirit when He said,
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. — Acts 1:8,
and His promises do not fail. We trust the promises of Our Lord, and He has given us power to live a life of faith, surrendered and made new by the God of the Universe.
This is for you too. You were made to give witness to the Holy Spirit to your family and your friends and every person in your life. Not every witness looks the same. Not every witness is flashy and loud, exciting or emotionally stirring. We can live a quiet life of witness, sharing through our example and everyday lives. Maybe we extend just one simple invitation to a rosary, to Mass, to Eucharistic Adoration. But believe that God is both calling you and empowering you to be His witness. Trust in that truth.
Ask the Lord, To whom do You desire me to witness? The scripture today encourages us, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). He is ready and poised to work through you in your life. The question is, will you let Him?
Let’s overcome our fears and step into the power He’s given us. It is what we were made for.
READING: ACTS 1:8
• Who has given witness to the saving power of the Holy Spirit in your life? Say a prayer of thanksgiving for her or his example now.
• Have you or has someone in your life had a difficult health journey or diagnosis this year? Take any anger, hurt, and confusion to the Lord in prayer. Believe that He cares to hear your experience of it.
Excerpted with permission from Made New: 52 Devotions for Catholic Women by Nell O’Leary, Leana Bowler, Brittany Calavitta, Jenna Guizar, and Liz Kelly, copyright Blessed is She®, Inc.
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Let’s pray together today to be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit, so much so that it revives others and inspires them to fall in love with Jesus all over again! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full