Herald Journal Columns
May 2, 2005, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Discerning process of prayer brings families together

By Father Paul Wolf, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Winsted

The readings of the Scripture for this time of the year point to new beginning with the Easter season.

The “golden age” of the begin-ning of the church is recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, a historical book of the New Testament.

The Acts of the Apostles begins with the community of the church holding all things in common. All laid their possessions at the apostles’ feet, who would distribute the items to those that were in need. It’s a good start!

However, things would change, as the readings in the Easter season have already changed. A number of individuals complained to the apostles that they were not being taken care of and that others were getting more.

The apostles gathered in prayer and selected seven worthy men to address the needs of the individuals that were being neglected. These chosen seven disciples would become known as deacons and thus, the foundation of the ministry of deacons in the Christian church was established.

The church yesterday, today, and in the future will have periods of “golden eras,” and periods of disappointment and discord. Issues will arise that need to be addressed and brought to a good resolution. The Acts of the Apostles, which tells how the first apostles resolved differences at the beginning of the church, give us a healthy suggestion for resolution.

The apostles gathered in prayer, praying that the Holy Spirit would come upon them and give them direction for how to proceed to resolve the concern. While they were in the midst of the discernment, they would continue to take moments of prayer, and at the end, they would ritualize or sacramentalize the discernment.

The life, death, and burial of John Paul II, and the election of Benedict XVI are good examples of the church’s process of discernment through prayer to address an issue that arises and bring it to a good resolution. In the future, other topics and issues will arise and need to be given over to the process of discernment, under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

The family unit is core to the organization of the church. In the discerning process that was used by the church at the very beginning, to the gathering of the church for the death, burial, and election, the church gives the wisdom of the ages to families, as well.

When an issue or situation arises in a family, the beginning moment of discernment ought to lead us to prayer. The old adage, “a family that prays together, stays together” seems to have the above description in mind when discerning direction for the family life.

As the church resolves issues and concerns that face us today through the discerning process of prayer, so may families come together in prayer for the discernment that is necessary to produce healthy and strong families. Families are the core for society and community.

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