Pope Francis asks that “the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience the mercy of God”, and he reminds us that only the Holy Spirit can open our hearts to the love of God and prompt our hearts to call God, 'Father.'
What can we do for Lent to experience the mercy of God as Pope Francis asks of us? Here is a suggestion: Hold weekly Food for Thought Nights in your home.
Ask some friends to meet with you one night a week to leisurely watch a video that could shed light on what it means to experience the mercy of God. Then, go to an watch the video series The Wild Goose, an old Celtic name for the Holy Spirit. We chose this series because we think it will generate some interesting and spiritually fruitful questions and discussion about one's personal experience of God's Spirit in one's life. But before you watch the videos or the samples below, we need to stress the following:
First, everyone’s way of experiencing God is unique. So don’t try to mimic the thoughts, emotions and actions of others, especially, the people in the videos. These are their stories which should be added to what you know of your story and what the Gospel tells you about Jesus’ relationship with the Father and what you know of that relationship from the saints, the recent Popes and people you know. Each of these persons did what you must do: they found and nurtured their own, very personal, intimate experience of God.
Second, you will know that your experiences of God are genuine by their fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, etc.,). These changes come not by your own efforts; they come from an experience of God that changes you and your outlook on just about everything. This is very much like falling in love, because it is the ultimate 'falling in love' for which each of us was created.
Here are some sample clips of the suggested videos. (You can continue listening after the person(s) mentioned finishes speaking to listen to Father Dave Pivonka, TOR.) Preview the clips to see how you feel about them. Based on what you view, pick some videos that you think will be of interest to you and your friends. The videos, all of which are under 30 minutes long, are meant to generate questions and insights about experiencing God. After choosing the videos you like, ask some friends to view their clips and consider joining you for the Food for Thought Nights.
Sample clips of suggested videos:
Series: The Wild Goose Is Loose
Franciscan Father Dave Pivonka, with the help of some lay friends, encourages us to understand and live a life directed by the Spirit of God.
God’s Love Poured Out “God is Love” - 1 John 4:8
Bob and Mary, Raleigh NC
Bob Rice, Steubenville PA
Angelus Verata, Washington DC
Dave Vanvickle, Pittsburgh PA, Bob Rice
The Spirit and Our Blessed Mother
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." Luke 1:35
Niki and Mark, San Diego CA; Angelus
The Spirit of Adoption – On the Reality of God as Our Father
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. . . . You received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, 'Abba, Father!'" - Romans 8:14-16
Bob Rice, Steubenville PA, Part 1
Bob Rice, Steubenville PA, Part 2
Bob Rice, Steubenville PA, Part 3
Bob Rice, Steubenville PA, Part 5