The stories, the projects, the events, the things I wish to be a part of or feel I have helped come into being, will sometimes cause me to get irritated because something is not happening as I would have it. The next time I am mad because the world according to Sherry is not working, the next time I gnash my teeth because something breaks or becomes hopelessly complicated, I must remember how the Holy Spirit works. Next time some activity or plan overwhelms me, I will remember, if it is the work of the Holy Spirit, it will be.. This is not to say it will happen without effort or without planning or without diligence, only that the last three are insufficient without the Holy Spirit. The things we do that are personality driven, depend upon our personality. The things that are of the Holy Spirit, survive our personalities.
What is an experience of the Holy Spirit? It is one thing to describe the jobs or acts of the Spirit, it is another to relate such an encounter and how it affects everything.
In Catholic catechism we learn that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord, Healing, Prophesy, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues and Love.. Each one examined alone could generate hundreds of examples from our lives, when we encountered people of uncommon gifts and holiness who gave direction, who maybe made us rethink everything, or who fed us what we needed at that moment, rather than what we wished. Even the more exotic gifts, like speaking in tongues or understanding tongues might be viewed as speaking in pure prayer, from the heart to God, and understanding God’s answer.
More often than not, we fear these gifts and what they will demand of us. These gifts are part of God’s plans, and God’s plans always involve more than what we would demand of ourselves, even though the plans themselves might seem simple. To give an illustration: When Adam and Eve were placed in the garden, given each other, the enormous beauty of creation and the single command to love God, they responded, “That’s it?” And very often, when tasked with the very similar task of serving the domestic church of our families, we too respond…and what else? We are searching for a distraction from serving God with that question.
When Mary was told she would conceive and bear a child, and that this was her role in the salvation of all mankind, she did not say, “That’s it?” She said “yes.” It is pride that keeps us from accepting that God’s plans for us may not involve massive world scale progress, public recognition or monetary rewards. Because these gifts will make us dearer to God, and require all from us, we need humility to accept and use them, to say “yes” like Mary to the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Will we dare to feast on them? Or would we rather munch on that apple?
The Holy Spirit is not a passive entity. It inspires and almost requires (free will) action. It is not simply a gentle push, sometimes it batters us like a hurricane. It blows away all flaws, all sins, polishing our souls like stones, breaking all that is not of God. Put another way, The Holy Spirit acts as a scalpel removing all the tumors that poor choices in our spiritual lives have allowed to grow. It refuses to give up, refuses despair, refuses hate, refuses all illusions and self rationalizations. It refuses to give us anything less than perfect love.
Pentecost is just around the corner. Be waiting. Be ready. Be willing.
Copyright 2009 Sherry Antonetti