A Spirit-Led Encounter

by | Apr 1, 2024

This article is condensed from one originally published by the Archdiocese of Detroit. 

The powerful Spirit-led encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8:27-35 gives us a roadmap for unleashing the Gospel during this season of Eucharistic revival! Here are three simple points to implement today: 

Obey the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go . . .’”
Be open, available, and aware that the Holy Spirit wants to help you bring others to Jesus. He is the principal agent of the Church’s mission (CCC 852). 

Meet people where they are: “Philip ran to him . . .”
At the Ethiopian’s invitation, Philip sat with him and inquired if he understood what he was reading. 

Proclaim the Gospel: Then Philip opened his mouth . . .” 

Without hesitation, Philip answers the deepest longing of this man’s heart by sharing the “good news of Jesus.” 

Last year, at the start of the National Eucharistic Revival on Corpus Christi Sunday, a few hundred parishioners attended a eucharistic procession my parish organized in a public park. During adoration, a sixty-five-year-old man with a skateboard (whom I will call Don) sat down at the front of the crowd. I sensed the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice urging me to go to him. I introduced myself and asked if he understood what was happening. Reeking of alcohol and perhaps expecting me to escort him from the premises, Don responded angrily, “I know you came over here to tell me something, so just get it over with!” 

The Holy Spirit guided my response, “I have four things to say. First, God created you in his image and likeness because He loves you. This provoked an onslaught of cussing. Once he calmed down, I continued, “But you have the same problem I do—sin. Your sin separates you from God and his love.” Verbal persecution followed. Not giving up, I proclaimed the good news to him. “Jesus came for you, died for you, and rose again for you.” Once Don finished his third rebuttal, I invited him to repent and respond to the Gospel. By the grace of God, when I asked to pray with him, Don was ready and willing. I gently placed my hand on his shoulder and invited the Holy Spirit to come. 

Moments later, the eucharistic procession began and I invited Don to join us. Picking up his skateboard, we began to follow Jesus, who was just as present as when He walked the streets of Jerusalem. As we walked, I shared more about God’s love. Slowly, Don’s heart softened. 

I asked if he remembered the story of the Last Supper. He did, so I asked if he could finish these quotes, “Take and eat” and “Take and drink.” As Don finished each sentence about Christ’s body and blood, I pointed to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, drawing near us in the procession. Don soberly asked if this was Communion. I declared boldly: “That’s Him!” 

Just then, Jesus in the Eucharist passed directly in front of Don. Without any prompting, he fell to his knees, faced the ground, and reached his hands out on the grass. Moments later, with his demeanor completely changed, Don rose and wiped tears from his eyes. 

When we obey the Spirit, meet people where they are, and unleash the Gospel with God’s uncompromising love, we will encounter true eucharistic revival! Authentic adoration leads us to proclaim the Gospel to others just as proclaiming the Gospel leads us and those around us to recognize and adore Jesus in the Eucharist. In this way, unleashing the Gospel is eucharistic revival! 

Holy Spirit, please consume my heart with the blazing fire of God’s love in the Eucharist that not only transforms me but leads me to unleash the Gospel into the lives of the lost and broken. 

This post originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ March 2024 newsletter.

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About the Author

<a href="https://www.renewalministries.net/author/afeola/" target="_self">Anthony Feola</a>

Anthony Feola

Anthony Feola is the associate director of disciple formation for the Archdiocese of Detroit and a Renewal Ministries' mission team member.

1 Comment

  1. William Organ

    Anthony, thank you for this witness. I think Holy Spirit showed me this; When Jesus was in the garden where Judas betrayed Him, and He answered the soldiers question regarding whether He was Jesus, and He said “I Am”, the soldiers stepped back and fell to the ground. Don asked you if The Host was Communion? (was Him). Then you Anthony showed in perfect proof, what Holy Spirit in us is all about, you said “That’s Him”, {Jesus’ “I Am”). And “Don fell to his knees, faced the ground, and reached his hands out on the grass”. Keep on Brother Anthony. And when You and Brother Don and I persevere to the end, we three will be telling this tale to each other both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Jesus Bless you, Bill Organ


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