Ascending Lights SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT EXERCISE FOR STUDENTS AND MENTORS Seeing Everything Distinctly To begin, take a moment to place yourselves in the presence of God. Recite aloud the Ascending Lights Prayer: Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit upon us your people. Kindle in our minds and hearts the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. Call us to celebrate the Christian life as individuals and as a community of believers. Form us into a people who are conscious of their giftedness, a people eager to use their gifts responsibly as good stewards for building up the church, and for transforming their homes and neighborhoods, as well as their places of work and study, to your Son, Jesus, through truth, justice, and service to those in need. Help us to seek your way of holiness, believing all else will be given us besides. Sustain our lives with love and abundant graces as we move toward eternal union with you. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Adapted from Spiritual Formation in Total Stewardship by Francis Novak One member reads aloud the following Scripture passage: Mark 10:13-16 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. Reflection on Scripture: 1. Meditate in silence for a few moments on the scripture passage. 2. Circle or underline the words that speak to your heart in a special way. Sharing: 1. Now share with each other the words you have marked and why they are important to you. 2. What is it about little children that is so important to Jesus? Commentary for Spiritual Growth: One member reads aloud the following passages. "Seeing Everything Distinctly" Thoughts of St. Frances de Sales Simplify your judgment, do not reflect on yourself so much nor argue inwardly, but go on your way simply and with confidence. As far as you are concerned there is nothing in this world except God and you; all the rest should not touch you except insofar as God may command and as he commands. I beseech you not to look about you so much but to keep your gaze fixed on the relationship between God and you. You will never see anything but goodness in God or neediness in yourself, and you will see his goodness supplying your need, and your poverty the object of his bounty and compassion. So do not look at anything at all except that -I mean of deliberate intent - and glance at all the rest only in passing. Moreover, do not analyze what other people are doing or speculate what will become of them, but look upon them simply, generously, with kindness and affection. Do not demand more perfection from them than you do from yourself and do not be surprised at the various forms that imperfection may take, for imperfection is not more imperfect for being unusual and odd. Be like the bee and gather your honey from every flower and herb alike. You should be like a little child who while it knows that its mother is holding its sleeve walks boldly and runs all round without being distressed at a little fall or stumble; after all, it is as yet rather unsteady on its legs. In the same way, as long as you realize that God is holding on to you by your will and resolution to serve him, go on boldly and do not be upset by your little set-backs and falls; there is no need to be put out by this provided you throw yourself into his arms from time to time and kiss him with the kiss of charity. Go on joyfully and with your heart as open and widely trustful as possible; and if you cannot always be joyful, at least be brave and confident. Sharing: 1. Now share with each other the words you have marked and why they are important to you. 2. Contrast and compare the two paragraphs. What are the key differences in attitude that St.Francis de Sales is pointing out? Intercessory Prayer: At this time pray aloud for any special needs or intentions you may have. Concluding Prayer: Pray together the Prayer Our Savior taught us. Our Father…..