So… a lot has happened. William turned 7th, Mother’s Day, the annual end of the school year madness has commenced…
A year ago I was throwing away and packing up a life I’d lived in a house I’d lived in for 11 1/2 years. Things were changing and I was rushing and I NEEDED people. I NEEDED sharing.
Twelve short months later, I’m still madly in love with the place we live and the lives we are living, but something is different. Like, I’m outlining a book I haven’t sold different and also internally different.
For me, time is always an issue. If I do this, I can’t do that and I really need to do both of those things. As a result, a lot of things in my life have suffered at various times: relationships, prayer life, the cleanliness of my home, my sanity, my health… We serve a wonderful God who truly gives us the exact right amount of time we need and that’s no small thing. It is an incredible gift that we far too often take for granted. Moreover we tend not to ask God in manners of how we use our time in every day things. We specifically do not tend to ask the third Person of the Holy Trinity, for guidance in this area (or any area for that matter..).
This seed started sprouting for me the weekend of Joseph’s First Holy Communion when I went to Confession and the priest told me I needed to stop doing (or trying to do) everything by myself. I needed to ask for God’s help in everything. I needed to stop thinking of myself as a superwoman and acknowledge my weakness and reliance on God.
As the weeks have gone by…I’ve actually struggled with this. I’ve prayed before the tough stuff, “God, I need your help, I can’t do this alone.” Sometimes I have felt like it was easier than others or helped more. Still, I struggled. I began to realize the Holy Spirit was nudging me to make some changes in my life not just in regards to prayer but also in areas of health and relationships and other areas.
Last week I decided that for Faith Formation class I would have my students learn about Pentecost followed by a tour of our parish’s memorial garden. It was a very vibrant discussion of who the person of the Holy Spirit is and how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. As a child I remember a lot of attention being paid to God the Father and God the Son in the various Faith Formation programs I was part of and I know for sure we mentioned the Holy Spirit in the Sign of the Cross but as far as an explanation of this Third Person, well, there was the image of a dove and that was about it.
Thursday morning it all came to a head. The “a-ha moment” came when I first logged into facebook and saw headlines about a certain man selling a certain gun and deaconesses. It hit me: I’m out. I spent the following two days off facebook fasting and briefly logged in a couple of times over the weekend.
The problem isn’t facebook. The problem is me. I wasn’t listening to the Holy Spirit. I wasn’t praying and asking the Third Person of the Holy Trinity to help guide me. Sunday morning, at Mass, I listened as our pastor described a family with three children where the parents only spoke to the youngest child once a year of his/her birthday. This. This is why I wasn’t catechized, nor were my parents, about the Holy Spirit, because it just gets pushed aside. As an adult, I’ve come to see the beauty that happens when the Holy Spirit forces itself in through whatever small opening I’ve given and how that grace shatters me and breaks me open to the possibility of how it is to truly live God’s will and walk in His light. But do I ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and advocacy in my life and decisions? No. Not like I should.
But that’s all changing. As I’ve read the first readings over the past few weeks, the story of the early church told in the Acts of the Apostles, I have been touched dramatically at what these men lived through. They were born as Jews, God’s chosen people, but that alone, they learned could not win them salvation. Distressing, for sure. They made the unpopular and non-sensical decision to follow this man named Jesus who just called out “Follow me!” to them as they went about their normal daily routines. They spent three years listening, learning, and teaching. Then He was arrested and crucified (only the worst punishment EVER) and placed in a tomb. If ever there was a time for a crisis in one’s soul, that HAD to be it. Then the body was gone and He began appearing to them. He spent 40 more days with them continuing to teach them but He was honest and told them He would leave them again and when that happened, He would send an advocate. Jesus said a lot to the disciples that didn’t make a lot of sense to them, I’m sure this was one of those things because although their faith had grown wider and fuller than they ever could have imagined, they were still human. That moment, the moment in the Upper Room when they heard the wind, it must have been terrifying. But the thing that strikes me most now, it wasn’t their birthright, nor their proximity to Jesus and hearing His word and seeing Him perform miracles that enabled them to start the Church…it was those plus the Holy Spirit that made it all happen. Without all three Persons, those of us who are Christians today, would not be. We understand Jesus’ teachings now because of the Holy Spirit.
For me, the Holy Spirit will not just hang there at the end of the Sign of the Cross and the Creed. I will seek the Holy Spirit the way it has sought me over the past few years. I will actively pursue it in prayer. I will realize that no, I cannot do it all alone, and that means asking God, Father, Son AND Holy Spirit to help me. To guide me. To carry me. The Holy Spirit chose me again and again when I allowed myself to be broken open by grace. Now I choose it along with the Father and the Son and trust it to lead me to this better use of my time and talents. To help me become the person God intended me to be.
Come Holy Spirit, fill up my life, guide me to the paths that are true.