How to Hear the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit fills us with holiness
Question for class discussion:
Name your favorite Saint. What evidence from the Saint’s life indicates that he or she was filled with the Holy Spirit?
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Other comments and questions by participants:
Thank you so much and thanks to the Lord for leading me to you. I have questions about everything, maybe too many questions. A friend once called me lazy when I started asking him religious questions. He said I should read the scriptures and ask the Lord for wisdom and to use my brain. I jokingly responded that I was doing both: I was wise enough and smart enough to go to him with my questions. But seriously, I think I do too much of that. I am beginning to think that I should read more and talk less and try to figure out things by myself. But I do find it hard, though. I’ve always found it’s easier for me to ask and have somebody explain to me instead of me trying to figure it out and ending up with multiple possible solutions and dead ends.
Anyways, I have always felt I have drifted thru life, but on reflection, I realize the Lord has always been with me — something I have always known in the back of my mind but did not take the time to try and understand why and how.
Response from Terry:
Many people learn best by being mentored. That sounds like you. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, as long as you ask the right people – those with a well formed faith. Going to faith formation events at your nearby Catholic church will give you opportunities to learn from those who have gained knowledge and wisdom that you don’t yet have. Bible study groups, for example, give you the best of both: reading and hearing from others.
Just finished watching Session 2. You touched on something that tends to really bother me. When I believe or know I have sinned, I do tend to feel like I have failed, like I have disappointed God and let Him down. I can discourage myself, because I want to do things the right way. I’ve been told once before that maybe I am trying too hard. Maybe so; if I think about it, I have tended to be really tough on myself. Often times I find sin where there isn’t. You’re verbalizing that sin means we’ve missed the mark really spoke to me and not getting down on myself.
One of the things I struggle with is the idea of obedience. Being obedient to God is something I accept and try to follow. The part that leaves me uneasy is being obedient to humans. I’m new to Catholicism and I hear people expressing their obedience to our bishop and priests. That’s hard for me.
In a nearby diocese, two bishops were forced to resign because of the sex abuse scandals. Our parish is just recovering from a priest who gambled away youth group monies. One of our Stations of the Cross talks about us giving obedience to elected officials, by obeying them we obey God.
Bush went to war; many people were against that. Should they have fallen in line because he was our “leader”? Obama is pro-abortion and pro-same sex marriages in the extreme. Humans are not perfect, should we really give them our obedience?
Response from Terry:
We are to be obedient to those who are in authority over us, because scripture says that God as given that authority to them (one way or another, even when they are not good leaders, because the ability to hold a position of authority comes from him; it’s one of God’s charisms). HOWEVER, we are to obey ONLY when it does not lead to sin.
A bishop who sins scandalously is not entirely an evil-doer. So, for example, if that bishop rules that parishes in his diocese should open their doors for Confessions more often, and he tells the parishioners of his diocese to go to Confession more often, although he might be a hypocrite in that he has his own unconfessed sins, it is holy to obey his mandate.
As Catholics, we are not really called to blindly obey anyone but God. What we are called to do is to discern if the command from authority leads to good or sin, with the Holy Spirit’s help, and we are to use our own consciences, if our consciences have been formed well. Even Canon Law says this!
Some Saints have suffered from unfair rulings by their superiors. Saint Pio, for example, was commanded not to celebrate Mass or hear confessions, because his superior thought he was getting too much attention as a popular priest. It’s unlikely that this ruling was inspired by the Holy Spirit, because Saint Pio was not a prideful attention-seeker. Nonetheless, he obeyed his superior, and eventually he was allowed to resume serving the public.
Other Saints have handled unfair rulings from their superiors by leaving the Order and forming their own, which grew and spread and did much good that would never have been accomplished if the Saint had obeyed his or her superior by quietly acquiescing.
Ultimately, it’s our own responsibility to prayerfully discern God’s will about anything commanded of us by those in authority over us. And as we’ve been saying in this course, it’s vitally important to work on our growth in holiness so that we can be more accurately led by the Holy Spirit in all our decisions.
Session #3 >>>