By Fr. Ron Will, CPPS
Welcome to this seventh episode in a series entitled “Encounters of the Fourth Kind.” Many of you probably remember the science fiction movie out some years ago called “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
This series invites you to go deeper into your relationship with God; to plunge into that deeper relationship. It is an invitation to enter the divine embrace.
In today’s episode we will join the original disciples of Jesus on the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem. First, let’s read from The Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11.
Now, let me lead you in a guided meditation on that scene.
Close your eyes and get comfortable. Relax your entire body. Breathe in deeply through your mouth … hold it … breathe out through your nose slowly and completely. Breathe in deeply again … hold it … breathe out slowly and completely.
Again, breathe in deeply … hold it … breathe out slowly and completely.
Let all the tension drain from your shoulders … relax your neck … your facial muscles … and even your eyelids…just relax …
Breathe in deeply … hold it … breathe out slowly and completely. (pause)
Now see yourself in your mind’s eye seated in a large room in Jerusalem with many disciples of Jesus several weeks after Jesus’ Resurrection. It’s the Jewish Feast of Pentecost and you are gathered for prayer.
Suddenly you hear a strong wind come up outside; it’s like a spring storm that you have experienced after the news has reported a tornado watch. The suddenness of the wind is confusing. You say a quiet prayer that it will not cause damage to the house.
Then you see something like flames of fire descend upon each person in the room. You know the biblical symbolism of fire representing God, and a certain awe comes upon everyone in the room. There’s a strong sense that God is here.
You yourself feel embraced by God. What does that embrace feel like for you? (pause)
There is a nudge for everyone to move outside where many people are gathered in a large open space from many different places. They are in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Feast of Pentecost.
As the disciples pour out into the street they automatically start speaking about Jesus Christ and how he is the Messiah foretold in biblical literature, and how the listeners need to accept him as Messiah and change their lifestyle.
The visitors are from many different regions, and yet they understand perfectly what the disciples are preaching. Everyone senses that something miraculous is happening.
As you observe this scene, what are you feeling inside yourself? (pause)
As you hear them preach about Jesus what are you encouraged to do yourself? (pause)
When you hear these disciples, whom you know, suddenly preaching in many different languages which you know that they never studied, what do you feel? What do you judge is going on? (pause)
Sit with that sensation for a few minutes. (Pause)
You have just had an encounter of the fourth kind; not just the sighting from a distance, but the actual personal encounter of human beings and a non-human being.
Continue to sit in silence for a couple minutes and continue to experience that encounter. Savor it.
Then join me again next month, for another “Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind.”
In the meantime, may God bless you.
All of the videos in this series can be found here: Encounters of the Fourth Kind.
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[Fr. Ron Will, a Precious Blood priest and spiritual director, is a graduate of Catholic Theological Union and Creighton University’s School of Christian Spirituality. He has a special interest in helping form intentional disciples of Jesus, encouraging others to go spiritually deep-sea diving to explore a deeper relationship with God, and walking with people as they dive into the ocean of God’s mystery actually experiencing God rather than simply dipping one’s toe into the water.]
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