How can you recognise the Holy Spirit acting in your life? It’s amazingly simple to discern His mysterious presence.
Consider the times when you went against your own personal preferences and did something difficult in order to help others. You probably do that many times a day.
St. Paul said, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).
The inner promptings of conscience are very often the voice of the Holy Spirit within you.
The Holy Spirit is always there helping you to go beyond yourself in order to fulfil the law of love. You probably can remember many times when the Spirit emboldened you to act out of faith rather than self-interest, times when you went against your natural inclinations in order to accomplish some greater good.
Visiting the sick for instance, or feeding the hungry, which includes putting food on the table for your children when you have a splitting headache, listening to the endless complaints of someone you feel sorry for, getting up in the middle of the night to check on a sick family member: These are all little acts of holiness involving the love of the Holy Spirit acting within you.
The Holy Spirit is the force behind all the love and joy in the world!
Great events recorded in the Bible give us an insight into the fact that God works in mysterious ways. For example, when Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac to God, the act was totally against his will, incomprehensible. The Holy Spirit nevertheless prompted him to trust the Lord no matter what!
When Abraham was about to obey, God released him from that abhorrent duty, and Isaac was saved.
Abraham had been tested and found worthy.
We speak of this event as prefiguring Jesus, who had the same natural abhorrence at the thought of His own crucifixion. The Spirit empowered Him to say, “Not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Jesus surrendered in trust to the Father. We are told it was in reparation for the sin of pride found in Satan who said, “I will not serve.”
After Jesus was crucified, the apostles feared for their lives and gathered like frightened children in that upper room. They wanted to run. But the Holy Spirit came upon them and emboldened them to go forth and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church was born.
I remember feeling drawn to the priesthood but at the same time bristling at the very thought of it. I wanted a normal life, marriage and children. I didn’t want to be a priest because I was afraid of the demands it would make. But the power of the Holy Spirit lifted me above my fears. I submitted. That was half a century ago, and I’m still doing my best to answer that call.
Looking back, I see more clearly the many times in my life when I was led by the Holy Spirit.
How about you?
When was the last time you made a decision grand or small that involved the influence of the Holy Spirit?
I’ll bet it was not long ago
By Fr John Catoir, CNS