May 1, 2016: Council and Counsel
On this Sixth Sunday of Easter the Liturgy highlights two ways we experience the presence and action of the Risen Christ and the Holy Spirit -- council and counsel. The reading from the Acts of the Apostles relates the fruit of the first council in the Church, the Council of Jerusalem. Their message echoes through the Christian era: "It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities..." Pope Francis continues the spirit of this first council with his input from Catholics around the world and meetings with bishops that led to his recent document titled The Joy of Love. He begins with this sentence: "The joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church."
In the gospel Jesus points us to the role of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who will teach us and remind us of all that Jesus revealed. This counsel is much like the role of a tutor who give personalized coaching, meeting us right where we are.
I what ways do you benefit from the experience of council in gatherings of family, friends, and parishioners, to discern the way forward as followers of Christ? How do you experience the personalized counsel of the Holy Spirit in your Christian living?