There is a general consensus that we needed to rediscover and promote the spirit of the Cenacle of Apostles
ICON: The Cenacle of Apostles
Guide: During the process of the RM several shortcomings of personal and community life came to light. There was a common feeling that these defects needed urgent attention in order to improve our spirituality and the effectiveness of our missionary witness. One of the aspects most underlined was the spirit of individualism and competition. There was a general consensus that we needed to rediscover and promote the spirit of the Cenacle of Apostles.
The Cenacle is the place where the apostles would meet to pray with the Virgin Mary after the death and the resurrection of her son (Acts 1:12-14). It is the place where Jesus instituted the Eucharist during the last supper (Mk. 14:12-25). There he gave them the example of humility and service by washing their feet (Jn. 13:1-20). In the Cenacle, the Risen Lord appeared to the apostles and commissioned them to go and proclaim the Gospel (Mk. 16:14-16). It is there that they received the gift of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost and from there they started to proclaim the Good News (Acts 2:1-4).
Reader: “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you’. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’. Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord’. But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe’.” (Jn. 20: 19-25)
Reader: “So from the Mount of Olives, as it is called, they went back to Jerusalem, a short distance away, no more than a Sabbath walk; and when they reached the city they went to the upper room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alpheus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. With one heart all these joined constantly in prayer, together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (Acts 1:12-14). When Pentecost day came round, they had all met together, when suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and there appeared to them tongues as of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak different languages as the Spirit gave them power to express themselves” (Acts 2:1-4).
Reader: Christ told his disciples not to go to the Mission before being filled with the Holy Spirit. By this he made them understand that the Spirit is the protagonist on the Mission. But they had to prepare themselves for this gift through prayer as a community. There are four instances in the Acts of the Apostles in which believers are filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4; 8:14-17; 10:44-48; 19:1-7). In all these accounts, the Spirit is given to a community and not individuals. The journey of the RM has lead us back to the Cenacle. Unless we rediscover fraternal love and praying together as a community, there is no way the Spirit will come to renew us.
Reader: Our Missionaries, whether they are priests or laymen, live together as brothers in the same vocation, under the direction of and depending on the one who is appointed local Superior of the Institute to whom they are destined by the competent authority, without rivalry or pretensions. They are prepared for anything they are ordered to do, ready to suffer together and to help one another, and always to be respectful of other Missionaries in the area, with whom they should take care to be always in perfect harmony, even in the exercise of their Ministry (Writings 1859).
Personal reflection (in silence)
Numbers from the final text of RM that may help us deepen our reflection: 39, 40, 47, 48, 49, 64.
Sharing our reflection
Concluding Prayer (optionally)
whose blessed Son made himself known
to his disciples in the breaking of bread:
Open the eyes of our faith,
that we may behold him in all his redeeming work;
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen
the resurrection of Your Son
has given us new life and renewed hope.
Help us to live as new people
in pursuit of the Christian ideal.
Grant us wisdom to know what we must do,
the will to want to do it,
the courage to undertake it,
the perseverance to continue to do it,
and the strength to complete it.
In Jesus’ Name we Pray.
Questions for further reflection
Do I feel the need to withdraw into the Cenacle from time to time so as to be filled with the “Power from on high”, or do I trust in my power, money and knowledge to do Mission?
Is our community a Cenacle where we “understand” one another, no matter what ‘language’ we speak, or is it “Babel”, where we do not understand one another? Do we ever sit together in prayer asking the Spirit to give us a common language and a common goal?
The apostles in the Cenacle were united in prayer “together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers”. Is our Cenacle open to other agents in the Mission and to the “local brothers and sisters of the Lord” or have we written at the entrance “no entry”?