Friday, June 6, 2014

Listening To The Saints --- And The Holy Spirit

Saints are people recognized as close to God, certainly much closer than most of us.  Perhaps that was due to their being; they were uniquely created with a capability to be closer to God.  Or perhaps they actively sought Him more, had a yearning they felt more.  Perhaps they received greater gifts of Him, of His Holy Spirit.  Or perhaps --- and I fear this is true of many of us --- they didn’t ignore the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and in particular, Wisdom, which for many of us just sits there --- a gift unopened, ignored.
God is so loving, so generous to us.  He said He would send His Holy Spirit to us.  Who are we to say that this isn’t true?  Who are we to dare ignore the Gift?  But many of us only see the gifts of the earth, which are like children’s toys, given to amuse us, while we fail to see the adult gifts offered us that require us to give back in return: gifts of Life that ask for our life.
Saint Hilary is one of those saints who received great gifts of the Holy Spirit.  She received great Wisdom, and offered it to us through her writings, like those in the Readings this morning.  Here is what she said of those Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
“There is one Spirit, the gift who is in all.  Our Lord has described the purpose of the Spirit’s presence in us.  Let us listen to His words:  I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth.  He will guide you into all the truth.   … Since our weak minds cannot comprehend the Father or the Son, we have been given the Holy Spirit as our intermediary and advocate, to shed light on that hard doctrine of our faith, the incarnation of God.  We receive the Spirit of truth so that we can know the things of God. …
Senses demand objects of experience in order to function.  It is the same with the human soul.  Unless it absorbs the gift of the Spirit through faith, the mind has the ability to know God, but it lacks the light necessary for that knowledge.  … but it is given to each man in proportion to his readiness to receive it.  Its presence is the fuller, the greater a man’s desire to be worthy of it.  This gift will remain with us until the end of the world, and will be our comfort in time of waiting.”
Pentecost is celebrated this Sunday, the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples.  May we pray that we too are ready to receive the Holy Spirit, and that it be an object of our greatest desire, to be with us and be our comfort until the end of time.
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What follows is a personal note to myself, a memo to file.  I write it here so that I will remember it, on those days to come when my memory will fail me.  And those days WILL come, especially when I am in deep despair, and then I will ask God:  “Where are You?”  These words are a reminder to myself, that He indeed IS there.
Today I have a meeting, and face a decision, on whether to commit two years to a Spiritual Direction Training Program, to become more available and better trained to serve others God might put into my life.  Interviewers will evaluate me today, but I had planned to evaluate them more.  And so this morning as I began my Morning Prayers I prayed, again, for Wisdom:  “Lord, is this Your will, for me?”
And then I read what I deeply felt were some of His answers:
Let those who hope in you not be put to shame
through me, Lord of hosts:
let not those who seek you be dismayed
through me, God of Israel

(Psalm 69)
Seek the Lord, and you will live
Stirring us to faithful service,
Your abundant life to share.
To the child, the youth, the aged,
Love in living deeds to show ….
Counsel, aid, and peace we give,
That your children, Lord, in freedom,
May your mercy know and live.
Then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your Holy Spirit
(Psalm 51)
You alone, I have grieved by my sin; have pity on me, O Lord
And in the margin I had written:  “Everyone is affected by all I do,
yet people expect me to sin, and to just ignore their plight.
They lose hope in God, and in His servants --- including me.
‘You have I grieved …’”
Help us to show reverence for those who are weak in faith,
may we never be hard or impatient with them, but
always treat them with love.
And then after considering these Morning Prayers,
I heard these words, repeated three times, in the Gospel:

Do you love me?  Feed my sheep.

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