United by faith, tested by the ability to uphold such faith in the face of adversity. Holy Spirit Activate!

Woodlyn Sance, LMSW | Church of Saint Jerome | Diocese of Brooklyn

As a testament to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, let us go down memory lane to a specific date and time in history, June 23 - June 26, 2022. Chicago, IL was the location and Alive in Christ was the topic of discussion. These four dates marked a key moment in a beautiful journey of a group of God fearing, truth-seekers, known as the young adults of the Journeying Together team, who took an Alive in Christ gathering by storm. Indeed, they came alive, along with the Holy Spirit. Right by their side, were strong supporters and members of the USCCB who could not have foreseen the turn of events, but rose to the challenge, allowing themselves to get comfortable being uncomfortable. The true mission of all those involved began!

We often say, “be careful what you ask for, you just might get it”, and fail to realize the power in that statement. Until of course, we are faced with the reality of receiving exactly what we asked for, in all of its glory. God has a way of subtly or overtly testing his children. The bad news is that when tested, we quickly grow fearful and start to doubt our connection with God. The good news, however, is that God has vowed to us, that he will always remain at our side through all obstacles, trials and tribulations. We only need to trust in him and keep the faith. So, we did just that!

You might wonder what could have possibly gone wrong at a religious gathering, with bishops, priests, laymen, and sisters in attendance. Well, let us not forget that even the disciples had their mishaps in the presence of the son of the Almighty God. We are no different. The bible teaches us lessons and gives clarity through adversity, the same remains true today. The beauty and the lessons in the events that took place in Chicago, one being the public display of the lack of representation of a cultural group in a staple prayer, is that unity and accountability was pushed to the forefront. Many prior events, gatherings and sessions were met with outcries of the lack of unity and accountability in the church. Thus, further gatherings were put in place to address the outcries. Yet, just when we thought we had reached a significant milestone in addressing the outcries, we were met with what appeared as a setback. In hindsight, it was only a blessing in disguise.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, to be Alive in Christ, you must ask yourself what would God do? When in the presence of injustices and divisiveness ask yourself, what would God do and let his words and actions be your guide.

 “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa