How the Spirit helps build unity and generosity in us
Perusing the Bible for a description of the early Church, we quickly get a clear picture of a community built around unity, generosity, and kindness. Acts 2:44 tells us that “all who believed were together and had all things in common.” Guided by the Holy Spirit, they lived in harmony, with love for one another, sharing their possessions, their time, and their commitment to the Lord.
Living like that fortified the early Christians to then spread the love of God far and wide. And what did God do with those efforts? Ever faithful, he blessed them by building the kingdom. We’re told that every day he “added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). The Church, using Jesus’ example and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, grew like wildfire.
Radical generosity, done with and for the Lord, is contagious. It’s essential that we ground our students in understanding the call of the original disciples — to live the Gospel message and share it with others — and help them to apply it to their lives today.
From the word
“The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power, the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them” (Acts 4:32-34).
■ What would it be like to live in such unity that no one was in need?
■ Do you think those in the early Church always agreed on everything? If not, what (or
who!) inspired them to live in harmony and love?
■ What are some ways we can share this kind of love with our own family and friends?
■ How would living like that with those closest to us help us minister to the physical and
spiritual needs of others we encounter in life?
1. Charity begins at home. Hang up a string across the classroom. Ask the students to write out on index cards various ways they can serve those near to them: their family, friends, and classmates. Clip the cards to the string with clothespins. Keep it hanging during the year as a reminder of the Spirit’s call to love and serve in our own community.
2. On a mission. Ask each student to research and then share with the class one organization that engages in outreach to the poor. Decide together on one concrete thing the class can do to support one of the organizations with time, efforts, or prayers.
How did the early Church spread? By first living in unity and generosity “at home.” Through the Holy Spirit, we are given all that we need to live radical charity. If we need an example to guide us, all we have to do is look in the pages of the Bible.
Lynn Wehner is a Catholic writer, editor, speaker, and catechist who lives with her
husband and their children in Connecticut.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, October 2018
PHOTO: PUBLIC DOMAIN