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The Glory of the Upper Room

First seen on the Behold Visio Divina Blog - April 2023

The third glorious mystery of the Rosary, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, has become one of my favorites over the last three years. Meditating on this time of deep, focused prayer has revealed a power that is available to us but that many of us, to an extent, dismiss. Instead, we, just like the disciples, are prone to turn to ourselves- our abilities, our efforts, essentially our will power. But what we see happen in this room is the disciples offering a complete openness to the Holy Spirit, which invites the Holy Spirit to provide them with even greater access to His gifts and His power. What’s the result?

The disciples are changed.

This mystery is an invitation to us as well. An invitation to be changed and to create change. 

At the beginning of this year, I followed a prompting of the Holy Spirit to start a small prayer group at my apartment. I named them Upper Room Meetings. The idea: gather in my apartment twice a month, darken the room and light one beeswax candle in the center, then let the Holy Spirit lead the next hour of prayer. While I felt very vulnerable creating this space, “giving up control” by letting the Holy Spirit lead, and having no idea what it would look like or how people would react, I took the chance anyway. What has the result been? Peace. Silence. A safe place to share. A place to listen to others’ stories. A freedom from expectations. A time to intercede for each other and those not present. 

Even amidst our busy schedules and other faith-based commitments, people keep coming back. There’s something about literally entering into the mystery of the descent of the Holy Spirit that draws you in. 

But as we all know, the disciples didn’t stay in the Upper Room either. After receiving His power in greater fullness, they left and preached truth, prayed with others, and followed wherever the Spirit led them. So we too are called to do that.

I was blessed recently with an opportunity to live this out. I was asked to run a Confirmation retreat for high school students. I themed it all around the Holy Spirit and had one requirement that I must include in the short retreat: one on one prayer with the students. Thanks to the help of two of my best friends, who willingly joined in running the retreat, we were able to pull this off. The last half hour or so of the day was spent up in the Church with students spread out having their own space to pray. Then the three of us split up and went around one by one to individual students, asked for any intentions they had, and then prayed over them by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What was the response? They said they especially appreciated praying with the help of someone. They found the time in the Church to be motivating for their faith. They learned how meaningful and important it is to connect with the Holy Spirit. Some were left in tears, others with smiles, and others with a better understanding of how to pray for themselves and others.

Have you ever been prayed over? If you have, then chances are you know the impact it can leave. You truly feel seen, heard, and loved. That was my goal with each student I prayed over. That they may feel seen, heard, and loved by not only me but particularly by the Holy Spirit. He is the one who left with them that day and who will be with them every day of their lives. He is the one whose gifts will be strengthened in them come Confirmation day. And He is the one who will change them just like He changed the disciples in the Upper Room all those years ago. 

How has He changed you? How does He want to work more deeply through you? Perhaps it’s more confidence, peace, surrender, clarity, holy boldness, joy- the list goes on and on because the Holy Spirit’s relationship with each of us is unique from person to person and from season to season. 

The glory of God isn’t just waiting for us in the next life. It is offered to us right here and right now. All you have to do is allow your heart to become the Upper Room- open to and trusting however His “strong driving wind” blows! (Acts 2:2)

*First published on Behold Visio Divina:

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