How to Hear the Holy Spirit (2)

Holy Spirit sculpture in Jaffa

Session #2

The Holy Spirit fills us with holiness

Question for discussion (please post a comment):
Name your favorite Saint. What evidence from the Saint’s life indicates that he or she was filled with the Holy Spirit?

Comments from the live event

O.D. shared this:

Truly speaking I am yet to read the lives of any Saints. But I have been following and reading about Blessed Mother Theresa, the soon-to-be proclaimed Saint, and also St. Joseph Vaz, who was made Saint last year.

The lives that they spent on earth and the type of work they did would not have been possible if they did not have the power of the Holy Spirit in them. St. Joseph Vaz, they say, ate only boiled potatoes and conje (rice water) and walked about barefoot. Mother Theresa’s work with the poor — I cannot imagine anyone being able to do that if not filled with God’s Spirit.

The sentence that caught my attention in today’s video is that we look for the manifestations of the Holy Spirit rather than to grow in holiness through the Spirit. Yes, after this I will definitely ask God to pour out His holiness into me through His Spirit.

L.M.P. wrote:

I have three: St. Jude, St. Teresa the Little Flower and Blessed Teresa (hopefully soon to be Saint). Evidence of their being filled with the Holy Spirit is their strong and deep faith, seeing things the Kingdom way, which is upside-down compared to how our world sees them, their immense and ever-growing love for God and making that love action, knowing and following and having a close relationship with Jesus, the compassion they showed, and of course the miracles, charisms, and joys. I’m also learning the struggles they had and their devotion, faith and perseverance.

E.F. wrote:

ST. FAUSTINA – She had a God-given inclination to totally rely on the Holy Spirit. She was charismatic and contemplative, she exuded and overflowed with the joy of God. Filled with the love of God, she did God’s will by following the Holy Spirit. Quiet in her soul, she had an intuitive grasp of the importance of quiet and silence to hear the Holy Spirit.

C.J. wrote:

My favorite saint is St. Faustina and her teachings on Divine Mercy. She helped me to really fall in love with God, whom I had feared. My husband, who was away from the Church for over 10 years, came back, fell in love with God like a little child, and died of cancer on Divine Mercy Sunday 6 years ago. She really taught me so much about how much God loves me.

A.M. wrote:

Most recently, Brother Lawrence: Practising the presence of God. Learning to do little things well for God. This links to my other favourite saint: Therese, the Little Flower. By nature I tend to like to be noticed doing good things; I like affirmation. I want to grow in loving unconditionally. Finding joy in washing the pots (in Taize 1992) was a very important lesson I learned about humility bringing freedom and joy.

M.R. wrote:

Unfortunately, I do not have a favorite saint. In some saints I am familiar with, their humility was a sign of their holiness.

D.H. wrote:

One of my favorite Saints is Saint Monica. I guess I can relate to her because of her “crosses”– a husband who was unfaithful and a child who was straying. I have prayed to her for intercession on these issues in my life as well as my sisters’ (husband is alcoholic). At present, I am praying for the Holy Spirit to guide me in dealing with my husband. We are going through a very difficult time and I have been in so much pain at times! I think of her and how she never wavered in prayer. Today I have a glimpse of hope for my marriage, but I am cautious and hold back. Praying for the Holy Spirit to guide me — sometimes I feel the guidance or I think I do. I will hear something on the radio or read one of your reflections or just open randomly to a passage. I haven’t wanted to share [my crosses] with friends, so God has put some people in my life that I could share with. Anyway, St. Monica is my favorite for her persistence in prayer for family even as they were causing her pain.

Response from Terry:

After this course is finished, D.H., you would be blessed by taking the previous course called “How to Turn Crosses Into Resurrections”, which is now archived and available to the public at gnm.org/paracletia-course-description-C02/.

C.F. wrote:

St. Francis of Asissi. I don’t know much about him. He started the Franciscan order where they take a vow of chastity, poverty and obedience. Being in that state of denial of food, etc., makes one more aware of the Spirit and less distracted by external surroundings. He also praised God in and through all things: Sister Moon and Brother Sun. He saw God in everything and everyone. I believe one can only do that if one possesses the Holy Spirit.

J.J. wrote:

My favorite Saint is my beloved St. Anthony. God’s most gentle Saint has been a huge influence on my short life as a Catholic. I had an interesting encounter with St. Faustina this past Monday. She has always been someone on my radar, not someone I was close to but someone I always wanted to get to know better. My parish was hosting a Divine Mercy drama (“Saint Faustina – Messenger of Mercy” by Nancy Scimone) and while I was watching, I had this burning desire to go buy Faustina’s diary. The drama was amazing, you could just feel St. Faustina’s love for Jesus. It moved me. Her humility, her love, her trust. I love how Jesus used her to make His Divine Mercy known to the world.

When I went through RCIA, I was so focused on Eucharist. I wanted to receive Jesus, because I thought He would heal me and I could go back to my old life (LOL). I didn’t care about Confirmation, and the only time I thought about it was a month before the Easter Vigil. I had to give the team leader my Saint’s name.

I researched Saint after Saint. I liked this Saint’s history, I liked that Saint’s patronage. I had “narrowed” my list down to 10 males and 10 females. Saints like Dymphna (for nervous disorders), Kateri because I’m part Native American, Jude because my life screamed “Hopeless Cause”, Augustine because of his quote “our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee”.

St. Anthony was not on that list. I couldn’t narrow that list down and the leader kept asking me who I wanted. I was the only one not ready. I went through the list a few times and re-read the Saints’ bios. While researching, I came across St. Anthony holding Baby Jesus! I was completely blown away. One article talked about him being the gentlest Saint, and I knew that whoever had to deal with me must be gentle!

Immediately I knew St. Anthony was the one. I did a novena to him that ended on the Easter Vigil. I had been lost. I had lost my way. I had lost my purpose. I had lost my faith. My life had completely changed with a medical condition that drastically changed my life. I didn’t know what all this meant and where God was leading me.

St. Anthony came through for me. He brought me into all these wonderful ministries (that he is patron of). He helped me find the person God wanted me to be (even though I am a work in progress!). He brought me to Jesus. He works miracles, but he’s as humble as you can imagine and he’s always directing me towards Jesus.

Response from Terry for this whole discussion:

Anytime you’re looking for a Saint to adopt (or be adopted by, really) for his or her patronage, we have on the Good News Ministries site a resource for looking up Saints by patronage. The same resource can also be used to pick a baby’s name (including the meaning of the name) or to look up your own name to find out its meaning and what Saints (if any) share your name. Visit: https://gnm.org/saints-find/.

From A.B.:

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.

B.H. wrote:

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.

J.J. wrote:

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.


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