Book Notes: "Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life"

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This calm, joyful book, Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life, celebrates the fruits of the Holy Spirit with Deanna Bartalini’s thoughts and experiences, beautiful scriptures and meditations. With all its simplicity, the book engages the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to inspire and empower anyone who seek the gifts with an open heart. As Volume 3 of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women, the interactive layout provides room to journal your soul-searching thoughts and add them to Deanna’s reflections.

Whether you are a beginner in getting to know the Holy Spirit or you welcome a renewal of his fruits, you have an opportunity to pause and ponder his place in your life. Which of the fruits do you see working in you? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? Which do you need to activate to live a holy life? Some would settle for one or two of these fruits. What if you could receive all of them?

The Holy Spirit is our guide as we become more aware of the fruits of the Spir­it, learn how to grow in them, discover how we can access them more readily and implement them.

Deanna encapsulates joy as putting Jesus first and then serving others. This focus on joy permeates the process of implementing all the fruits of the Spirit.

Joy leads us to cultivate the holy peace that sets us free. The peace that the Lord gives us is the source of freedom from fear because it helps us let go of our need for control.

Patience builds on peace and is summed up in the remedy to impatience of  “pause and pray.” Patience guards us against taking for granted the Lord’s blessings. Against impatience with others. Against perfectionism, to the point of thinking, we don’t really need forgiveness. Pausing and praying slows us down to pay attention to what’s important, to wait on God’s timing, and adjusts our expectations that others will do everything our way. By practicing patience, we attain it. We can apply this approach to receiving a heaping portion of the fruits of the Spirit as we ask for more of each one.

Faithfulness builds on patience. We see God’s faithfulness throughout history and in our personal history. The fruit of faithfulness helps us be faithful people of integrity and trustworthiness no matter what happens.

Kindness and goodness build on faithfulness. We believe God’s word that he wants us to be kind and good. He enables us to do so through the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 5:25, he shows us clearly how to go that extra mile, hand over our cloak as well as our tunic, bear insult without retaliation even when those who commandeer our charity annoy and abuse us.

Self-control and gentleness build on kindness and goodness. How we use God’s gift of free will responsibly with a clear conscience is what self-control and gentleness bring us. Treat others with respect as Jesus treats us, even when correcting them. Always he is the Good Shepherd leaving the 99 to seek one of us when we are lost. And, when he has found us, we stay close to our Good Shepherd, depending on his grace.

Love builds on every fruit of the Spirit as the paramount virtue that endures forever when all else is gone. The essence of love — putting others first — embodies the sacrificial love demonstrated when God gave his only son to us for our salvation. Love is most evident in our lives as the culmination of the fruits of the Spirit because it reflects who God is.

This Holy Spirit journal clarified for me how to cultivate through Scriptures, examples and meditation, the fruits of the Holy Spirit as attributes of God I want in myself. As I invited the Holy Spirit into my heart in a more profound way with each exercise, he guided me in how to begin with joy and add each fruit as unique aspects of the powerful love he has for me.

About the author: Deanna Bartalini has served in parish ministry in both paid and volunteer positions for over 35 years in religious education, youth ministry, stewardship, liturgical ministries and as the nice person in the office—everything except pay the bills or be an altar server.

She is married to her first love who is a permanent deacon and a middle-school math teacher She contributes to Catholic MomAmazing Catechists and New Evangelizers blog, is published in Catechist Magazine, and contributed to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion.

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Copyright 2019 Nancy HC Ward
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About Author

Nancy Ward loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story: Tools, Tips, and Testimonies book, DVD, workshops and retreats. She contributed to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion and blogs at JoyAlive.net. She facilitates the Dallas/Ft Worth Catholic Writers and the Nonfiction Critique Group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves on the board.

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