In October 1999 on my way to Medjugorje I met John Coyne. John was on his way out to Medjugorje on pilgrimage and like myself he didn’t know why he had journeyed at this particular time. As I spoke to him I learnt that John had received many gifts of The Holy Spirit and as we spoke together and got to know each other over the next few days, I received deep spiritual and physical healing (my asthma was cured) from the Lord through the words he spoke in the power of the Spirit.|
The week in Medjugorje was truly memorable for me. In particular I felt the peace that came through the cross and I felt Our Lady calling me to pray for priests and to repent of past criticism of two of her priests in particular. I felt quite humbled. John was leading Life in the Spirit Seminars and on one of the last evenings I had an experience that was very special and different to any I had experienced previously. On the following evening we had a similar experience in another house and towards the end of the night I noticed a young girl who didn’t seem to be part of our group. At the end of the evening we realized she was a refugee and had nowhere to stay. It was pouring rain and I realized that we had to help her – it was as if she had been sent to us. God had poured his spirit out on us and wanted us in turn to give his spirit, his love to all who wanted it. As I was sharing with a friend we discussed it together and decided she could sleep with us in the other single bed in our room. It was perfect but of course it wasn’t a long-term solution, as we could not keep her indefinitely with us. The next day as we were trying to find alternative accommodation for her the authorities came and brought her somewhere else and we didn’t see her again.
I came home from Medjugorje and went back to work and everything seemed to be back to normal. Walking along the streets of Dublin before Christmas I was struck by the number of people begging along the streets. It was very cold and on passing one guy I thought how miserable it must be for him to have to spend the night out in the cold. Then I passed another person and another. The next morning I listened to an account on radio by a journalist who had spent the night begging on the street in order to experience homelessness himself and other people’s reaction to him. Listening to him I felt very moved, in fact I was burning to do something. I knew there were different groups I could join who are doing great work in the city but somehow or other I did not feel that what was growing in my spirit was connected to them. I shared my feelings with John and Colm (another friend) who was from a different prayergroup. They both said they would love to start a soup run for the homeless and to try to bring the people they met love, dignity and some food. John also met Stephen ‘by chance’ and he told me how Stephen had told him that he felt God calling him to do the exact same thing and had the very same feelings burning in his spirit.
So this is how we started. John said that Colm would be a gatherer and that is exactly what happened. As he was connected to Youth 2000 he invited Donal and Dave and other friends into the group and offered us his own house to prepare sandwiches etc.
Since then, it has been going very well thank God. We were sorry to lose Colm and Peter who decided for personal reasons that they could not continue. God has provided us with food through the generosity of Superquinn, Kimmage who donate their leftover doughnuts, which the guys on the street really love, and through the O’Brien Sandwich Franchises. We made soup and tea for a couple of months and then changed to making fresh tea as we met people (at Stephen’s suggestion) and it went down really well!
We are still trying to find a venue to meet to pray and also to organise the different groups with food etc. for the nightly run as most of the volunteers so far have changed on a weekly basis. We are sure though it will happen fairly soon and we pray to remain open to being led in his way.
The most touching encounters we have had were when we were praying the rosary or in tongues silently as we drove around the streets. Last night we shared a cup of tea with two very young prostitutes who told us they were addicted to methadone and heroin. They asked us eagerly to pray with them and asked us if God had the power to help them with their addiction. While John was praying with one of the girls and telling her how unique she was and how God loved her individually, I had a picture of her helping someone on the street. I shared it with them and they confirmed this as they told us about their strong desire to be well and to be able to help others. We found ourselves thinking about both of them a lot over the following days and feeling why not? –Of course the Lord wants to heal them and bring them to wholeness. God has a plan for them and it will unfold gently and powerfully.
Ruach means Breath of God – Holy Spirit. He is leading us gently and powerfully when we keep praising Him, and when we live in His Spirit. The power of praise is awesome. It is so great it can enable anyone to face the most fearful events, to overcome the most difficult problems within family or at work.
Please pray for us to be led by RUACH in all we do.
Fiona Sheehan (article submitted for the Eucharistic Jubilee 2000 National Family Festival magazine)
19 May 2000
(Donal 22 August 2001) …
Back in ‘them’ days, long, long..long ago when Ireland was coming out of the last ice age and a few of us were thinking/praying about the IDENTITY of this new group a number of things seemed to form. One was the name: Ruach meaning ‘breath of God’ or wind of the Holy Spirit. This came about in the first few weeks. Proposed by either Fiona or John, I think, it seemed to capture what it seemed we were supposed to be about (*) but had not yet been able to express with a word. We, therefore, all happily latched unto it. The belief that this name was ‘right’ was also came from our believing that God would guide us in answer to our prayer (and others’) about a name and because we believed He already had been forming us and gradually letting us know His will about who we were, from the first meeting we had (and even earlier) before we ever even went out on the street (as can be seen from Fiona’s article) ; and then, once we went out on the street, he spoke to us powerfully through the people we met and the circumstances in which we met them.
Then one day when all this was very much being discussed, Fr. Aidan, after praying with me, said that he felt the Holy Spirit was saying to read chapter 3 of the Acts of the Apostles. As far as I know Fr. Aidan did not know of my involvement with a new outreach, but the piece in question has John and Peter, shortly after the descent of the Holy Spirit (with wind and fire) being asked for alms by a lame beggar at the entrance to the temple. Peter says ‘look at us’ and the man looks at them hoping to receive something but Peter then says I have neither silver nor gold but what I do have I will give you … ‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk’… This does not mean that we do not give clothes and nourishing food; of course not; for St. James, for example, is clear on this. But what it does mean is that we must recognise what is most important. Even in Calcutta where material poverty is worse than what we usually find, Mother Theresa has said that what the poor need most is not clothes, food, shelter etc. (and they do need these greatly) but dignity, having their dignity affirmed, someone letting them know their dignity. So we need to know what we have. We are Christians. What we have is great indeed: We have Jesus. Jesus has given Himself to us (He Loved us first..Love is from God-St. John) therefore we have Jesus to give and we have to give Jesus to each other (We must Love one another St. John ) …
1.The Source of our giving is God and our Faith in God and in particular it is the Mass (from ‘Missa’ meaning ‘sent’). We were sent to give. Jesus has given. We have to give.
2.What/Who we give is Jesus. We have received Him in the Sacraments and the Word and especially in Holy Communion. We have Jesus to give. We cannot leave him in the tabernacle. We must bring him with us. We must feed people with Him because with Him and Him alone they will never be hungry (John 6) and with everything else they will Die eventually. Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him (St. Augustine). He must be given away because this Bread that He has given is for the LIFE of the world(John 6). We are to allow Him to give through us if it is His will. We are not to hide Him. We have to give Jesus (it is Jesus that we have to give)
3. Who we give to is Jesus. ‘As long as you did it to one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it to me’ (Matthew 25). (We have Jesus).
Because Jesus has given to us, we have Jesus to give, we have Jesus to give to and
we have to give Jesus
(*) ‘The wind blows wherever it pleases;
you hear its sound;
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit. (John 3:8).
Because our primary aim from the outset really was to be living witnesses to the Mercy of God (made present in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) ready to be lead wherever the Holy Spirit would lead us (in particular with regard to the homeless, to bring Jesus to Jesus), everything else that we do (and I do mean everything else that we do) is really secondary and totally jetisonable if it were to interfere with what God wants to do with us. So it is potentially good to have routes along which to go, sandwiches to bring, soup to bring, a box to carry things in but they’re not ends in themselves. They are very good and very useful because God has given them to manifest His Mercy.
St. Augustine Sermon Catechism pages 237
LG 48 3 (Lumen Gentium (Vatican II) (Constitution on The Church))
Page 236 Watch constantly
‘Would that you had known that my little ones were in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their hands; therefore you have found nothing in my presence’
A still small voice (Elijah 1 Kings 19:12)
‘And the Lord said
“What have you done. The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.”
Christ’s blood sacrifice – Abel
The Holy Spirit blows where He wills (cf. John 3:8)
The ‘wheels’ have come off the soup run and now we are being ‘BLOWN’ along by the Holy Spirit into the depths and and back up to the Heavenly Heights bringing our friends with us so that ‘where Jesus is they can be too’ (cf John)
‘The wind blows wherever it pleases;
you hear its sound;
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit. (John 3:8).
May our minds and hearts be one with the Lord and His words at the Last Supper in openness to and trust in the Holy Spirit; the Counsellor of the People of God and Divine Spouse of Mary in leading us to the deepest possible understanding about the revelation of God (Mark Miravalle)
‘They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, “Peace, peace”,
when there is no peace’. (Jeremiah 8:11 – RSV)
Cardinal Francis George …
"You know my friends, the world belongs to the one who has learned how to love it."
(St. John Vianney - The Cure of Ars)
The world belongs to the one who has learned how to love it. If the Holy Father has called us to a new evangelization, it means he has called us to love the world in a new way and to be apologists once again in the sense St. Peter tells us -- to be able to give reasons for the hope that is in us.
And you can do this very well because of the marvellous education you have received here. But we must do it, after the Council, not in a defensive way, but in a dialogical way where you have to enter into the world of the other and appreciate the words spoken there precisely so that you can find the right words to introduce these people to your friend, your Saviour, your Lord, Jesus Christ. We are to live in this world with Christ´s own love.
In the consistory that the Holy Father called to examine the Church´s mission at the beginning of the third millennium of Christianity, from all parts of this world, from every part of the globe, cardinals stood and said that what is important is that we judge everything that we do, every college that we run, every grade school and high school, every hospital, every movement, every religious order, every ministry, every particular mission - that it all be judged by how it contributes to the holiness of God´s people.
Sometimes when we are called to love God it is a little bit like paying taxes, isn´t it? We look at what we´ve taken in that year, and we look at what we have to give to the government, and then we breathe a sigh of relief to see that we´ve got so much left over for ourselves and our own purposes. And sometimes we approach God in the same way. We look at what we have to do to maintain that relationship of love more or less intact, and then what kind of energy and space and words are left over so we can do what we want to do.
And only, if through the liturgy we are brought to participate (my emphasis) in Christ´s own self-sacrifice, to see that the liturgy will enable us to have not only the understanding but the strength of mind and spirit to surrender everything we do to Jesus Christ, only then can we be part of the Holy Father´s call to a new evangelization.”
‘To Love is to will the good of another’ (St. Thomas Aquinas)
The good of another involves revealing to them the Truth: the truth of their dignity as created in the image of God – Body & Soul – their value to God – their being body-mind-soul. To treat someone as though they are just body or just body & mind offends their dignity. It offends God by offending the Truth also. It is not being truthful to them about who they are. It hides their dignity from them.
IT IS NOT REALITY – IT’S A COP-OUT, both impractical and unrealistic
To start talking to a rock as though it had a mind is a lesser denial of reality than giving pornography to a person (as though they had no soul). Satisfying someone's addictions is not necessarily ‘willing their good’. An atheist can feed someone’s tummy alone. A Christian cannot do that because that person has 2 hungers physical and spiritual. A Christian must Love and give what needs to be given when he can. St. James says we cannot ignore someone in their need… In particular we cannot ignore them in their Spiritual need while respecting their freedom to reject God. By attending to someone’s physical needs we must show we Love them but we must not ignore their deeper needs … We must give them what they need to Live, and Jesus IS the Life
Some ideas inspired by Evangelium Vitae…
The incarnation tells us something about God AND it tells us something about man, about the dignity of every human being with whom Christ has identified HIMSELF. The birth of everyone is good news because of the birth of Jesus. Jesus touched us in our nothingness to bring us into His Life (cf St John – above) and this Life shares (its) Life with more still/ pours it out ‘like a libation’ (St. Paul) it/HE ‘communicates’ it to us so we share, doing His work in the same way that He does: giving Life, like Our Lady in particular. We are light burning with the Holy Spirit but not burnt up like the bush/ like Our Lady giving Fire to the world if we are what we are meant to be (St. Catherine). We bring Jesus to Jesus. We bring His blood to mingle with Abel on the quays. We bring his body to his body which we too must enter into, otherwise we cannot really bring it. Unless we enter into him then we don’t show people who he is/ we cover his identity – maybe we deny the Bread we have shared which is Him and which transforms us into Him (Can you drink the cup which I must drink?- Gospel) and which gives us a share in His Life – All His Life – the Cross and the Resurrection – we must share the Cross (to be sincere) – ‘if anyone would be my disciple he must first deny himself and take up his Cross every day and follow me’… ‘where I am there will my servant be also’… (‘if we have died with Christ so too will we share in His Resurrection’).
ACTS: Chapter 3
‘Look at us’.
‘I have no silver and gold but I give you what I have’
‘The Lord, the Giver of Life’
‘It is the Spirit that gives Life’
The Spirit gives Jesus to us
Jesus is given in the Spirit
That is why we must be ‘in the Spirit’ on our runs etc. so we can bring Jesus to whom He wills because it is the Spirit that gives Life. (The runs have nothing to offer; the numbers have nothing to offer). We need the Spirit to give (the GIVER). He blows where He wills not where we will unless we are in Him. When you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go. (John 21:..18)….. we need to be ready to hear His promptings….. The Holy Spirit is the Soul of the Church. It is the Spirit that gives life….
‘FULL of your glory’….What makes us full? ONLY God. (St. Theresa of Avila etc.)
We’re not bringing dead flesh but a LIVING Jesus, a resurrected Jesus. This is something to be happy about. We have good news for the Poor. If it’s Good news why act as though it’s not (or as though it’s not good enough). It will FILL us no matter how empty we are if we Trust in Him.
If you really Love someone you want to share with them what is MOST precious to you +*
Some people are happy(**) when they are saying what they are saying because they believe it is good news, they know they are giving something wonderful (beyond measure) so they have nothing to fear. If I Love then I have no shame (shame is to do with a fear of someone else – cf. Theology of the Body (His Holiness John Paul II) cited by George Weigel). Perfect Love drives out all fear… Love IS enough, MORE than enough for the poor but we must be poor enough.
(**)(Our Lady resonates with the inSPIRed greeting of St. Elizabeth
(pictures of Our Lady in joy) – the Holy Spirit honours her and she ‘puts her hand up’ as it were, praising God)
‘He fills the starving with good things’
We must be starving for You Jesus. We will not try to fill ourselves with poison.
We must be ready to explore the Depths of the Good News and what it means to say that Jesus is unfathomable Mercy……
+* This is why we try to evangelize.+* This is why God commands us to Love one another AS He has Loved us. His most precious gift is His Love, but not received passively rather it is His Love given by us. His most precious gift to us is His-Love-being-given-by-us (through,with and in Him). This is why He prays ‘ut unum sint’ ‘that they may be one’ as You and I are one. God wants us to be like Him not so much because this is the standard against which we will be rewarded which it is but because being like Him is ‘Where it’s at’. The Way and The Truth IS The Life. Although we must suffer at first, the suffering becomes the reward. The reward IS the suffering (Love crucified) Transfigured.
Accept whatever is given to us – small or large – as God’s Providence – service by people; numbers; use of facilities; clothes/food etc. It is better that we do not have a proud attitude to what we receive; it is all a gift – a gift from God. This is how people share in the work of Ruach. Jesus was always using inadequate, humble gifts and multiplying them – ‘I thank You Lord of Heaven and of earth for …’
An incredible gentleness is needed in our work with others …
“…‘Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own’ (Isaiah 58.7).” “This is exactly what Brother Albert did,” the Pope concluded. “He took upon himself Christ’s yoke and burden; he did not become merely ‘one of those who give alms,’ but he became the brother of those whom he served…”
(Homily for the canonization of Albert Chmielowski P. 599 Witness to Hope)
Pope John Paul II