Acts of the Apostles
Friday Book Pick: Acts of the Apostles
By St. Luke the Evangelist
We all have been through a dramatic string of months, and our second pandemic Holy Week and Easter have been markedly better than our first—thank God. Something about hitting the one-year mark of the onset of the pandemic has us all pondering anew what has taken place over this year past. Around the convent we are constantly saying, “This time last year…” as we remember the day the first sister went into isolation, the first day we could not have Mass in the convent, the first day we could not let our neighbors inside our soup kitchen. A few weeks ago, as we set out to prepare for Palm Sunday, my mind returned to the moment last year when I read aloud “the bolletino” from the Holy See which, in effect, canceled Holy Week. The sisters sat around the refectory table in stunned disbelief; some could not hold back the tears.
During this Easter Octave, it is interesting to think about the Apostles. The events
leading up to the crucifixion and the aftermath left them terrified, confused, grief-stricken and forlorn. In light of Jesus’ death everything seemed finished—ruined. When Sunday came and Jesus rose from the dead, they were rattled to the core—again. If Jesus who had died a
horrible, public death was now alive (and they knew He was), then the adventure was just
The Apostles’ profound anguish was suddenly replaced with a joy unlike anything they had ever known. I can imagine them now trying to make sense of their experiences as they tried to remember everything Jesus had said and done in the new light of the resurrection. Knowing they would need help in the remembering, Jesus had promised that “the Holy Spirit will remind you everything I have told you” (Jn 14:26). Not only would the Apostles need to remember, but they would also need to be empowered to live the call they had received, and this too was promised. “‘But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’” (Acts 1:8).
The Acts of the Apostles is the chronicle of precisely that, the coming of the Holy Spirit. It recounts the sudden turn of events for the cowering apostles as the Holy Spirit comes in power and drives them forward with new courage. The Acts of the Apostles is the historical record of the infant Church once confined to the upper room and now spreading like wildfire.
As you know, The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the New Testament, following
the four gospels. It was written by Luke and is considered the second book of his gospel
account. The Easter season is the ideal time to use The Acts of the Apostles for spiritual
reading. You might consider sitting down on a Saturday morning, saying a prayer to the Holy
Spirit, reading it straight through just to get the whole of the story, and then perhaps using
smaller portions of Acts for prayer and reflection over these fifty days until Pentecost.
Consider as you do, that the same Holy Spirit Who is the main protagonist of The Acts of the Apostles is moving in the Church today, and if we ask for a fresh outpouring, we will receive it.
Mother Clare, CFR
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more
will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was
shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with
boldness.” Acts 4:31.