Session #1

Getting Connected to the Holy Spirit

How do you know if you’re truly listening to the Holy Spirit? How do you know if the Holy Spirit is truly listening to you? Here’s how to get connected to the Holy Spirit.

We begin with a prayer, placing ourselves into the love of God, as beautifully expressed in this video of the song In Your Arms, by Meredith Andrews. If you have headphones, plug it in for a good listen that’s free of the distractions around you.

And now, let us enter into the process of deepening our prayer life in the power of the Holy Spirit and becoming connected to the Holy Spirit.

Questions for discussion (please post a comment):
What do you do to connect to God? What works best for you — in your daily life and on special occasions when you have been most keenly aware of the Holy Spirit?

Comments from the live event

L.R. shares this: Thanks for the first session. I loved Meredith Andrew’s song, “In Your Arms.” Incredible that we are so stubborn in our surrender to God and the Holy Spirit. How childless, but yet so hard.

To connect with God I pray. I read scripture. I pay attention to the Mass readings, and sometimes I come home to find the readings and read some more. We take long walks in the woods as a family, and I love to connect with God during our walk through nature: thanking him for it, taking pictures, praying on the way. I also like to connect with God through music. When I am keenly aware of the Holy Spirit, no matter where I am, I stop and enjoy the moment. I smile, and I thank God for caring so much that he even whispers to us. It is incredible!

E.R. asks: Sometimes while at Mass we get a deep and profound sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit, and other times it feels blah. Is that to do with our condition — we are not open — or something else????

Reply from Terry: Often it is indeed our own lack of openness. It requires a conscious decision to focus our thoughts and energy on the presence of Christ in his Eucharist and in his Spirit. It requires effort, too, like paying attention to the words we’re singing (and actually singing regardless of any lack of singing talent, because scripture tells us to “make a joyful noise to the Lord), choosing to make those words a heart-felt prayer. We’ll talk more on this in an upcoming video.

Sometimes, however, the Spirit is less noticeable because the Mass has no “spirit” in it. By that I mean the music is lifeless, like a funeral dirge, or the congregation is lifeless, full of people who do not sing or take seriously what God offers in the Mass. We need to be surrounded by a Spirit-filled community, and when we don’t have that during Mass, it is all the more important to seek it out by joining (or starting) a Charismatic prayer group or going to a different Mass where the music is more lively.

Notice that I did not mention lifeless homilies. When the homily does not inspire us, that’s okay, because it’s undoubtedly inspiring someone. The Holy Spirit can give us a personal homily (an inspiration, an idea to ponder, or an answer to a question we’ve been pondering). This “homily” from the Holy Spirit starts before Mass begins if we’re looking at the scriptures ahead of time or deciding what sins to offer up during the Penance Rite, and it continues to the very end.

M.P. shares: I have been struggling for a very long time to let go of my sin of wanting more than what HE provided for my needs. I feel more secure with a full bank account instead of leaving it to HIM to provide. Time after time he will show me that whenever I have a genuine need HE will provide, even by means of striking the lottery. My desire for the HOLY SPIRIT to guide me is strong, but I dare not let go fully to TRUST in HIM because of my fears. (Normal human nature but not spiritually strong, which is why I hope this course will help to put my FULL TRUST IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.)

Terry replies: Yes, it is normal human nature to put more trust in what we can do and what we can see than in what we merely hope God will do. But remember, Jesus showed us by example what human nature is capable of. So did Mary his Mother. So did St. Joseph and other Saints. If they can put their trust fully in the Holy Spirit, then we can too. So what makes us different from them? Why do we fail to fully trust God? It’s because our thoughts are not yet fully activated by the Holy Spirit. And this is because we have not been fully educated in how to live fully in the Holy Spirit. The more connected we are to the Holy Spirit, and the more we learn how to discern the voice of the Jesus who speaks to us through his Holy Spirit, the more we are able to trust God.

Here’s a spiritual exercise that helps us conquer the fear that God will not provide for us. (First realize, though, that God provides through actions he calls us to make, and we need to recognize his guidance and implement it. And God provides through community, and we need to surround ourselves with the type of people he can work through.)

Here’s the spiritual exercise: (1) Ask yourself, “What am I fearing?” (2) Remember that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is usually based on some truth but contains false beliefs and misconceptions. (3) Ask the Holy Spirit, “What is the lie that Fear is telling me? And what is Your Truth about that?” (4) Decide to act on that truth.

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