On living in Spirit

WE all need guidance in our lives. We need wisdom to make right decisions, to act justly, and to live according to God’s law of love. For, indeed, there are times when we are at the crossroad of life, when we ask ourselves, “Am I doing the right thing? Will this bring peace, harmony, and reconciliation to my life, to my family and to other people?

Making a right decision is not easy. It involves time, consultation, prayer, and courage. As a young man trying to make the correct choice of personal vocation, I already experienced this difficulty. Looking back on those early years of my life, I thank God for my mentors who guided me on how to make right choices or decisions.

One of the things that my mentors in the seminary would advise me to do was to put all my concerns before God in prayer, to ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Usually, they would say, when we experience a profound peace in prayer regarding a decision, after making all proper consultations, we would most likely feel this as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Then we must take the courage to make this decision and to entrust ourselves completely to God.

Ultimately, my mentors would say, any decision that we make should be all for the greater glory of God, ad majorem Dei gloriam!

In the Gospel this Sunday, we find the promise of Jesus to his disciples that he would grant them the power to decide wisely, to act justly and to live in love through the Holy Spirit:  “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” Following these words, he assured them that as long as they listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, they will experience peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” And then, he told them to take courage, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” This meant that they needed to put their lives into the hands of the living God and to trust that He would take care of them.

Every decision and action we take should be grounded in prayer. This is the only way we can convict ourselves if we are acting according to God’s law of love or not. But many times, even the ordinary and daily things that we do are not done out of true prayer. It is no wonder that we find ourselves judging people quickly and uncharitably or saying words that hurt the feelings and reputation of others.

Living in Spirit means allowing the Holy Spirit to influence our thoughts and actions everyday of our lives. This is what spiritual writers would refer as being contemplative in action. Let us keep in mind, however, that although we have heard this many times, it is not always easy to live it because of the evil influences of the world. That is why the Lord is always asking us to be “vigilant”.

In a few weeks, as we prepare to celebrate Pentecost Sunday, let’s ask God to empower our lives with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let every decision and action we make, whether they are big or small, be guided by the light of the Spirit. Amen!

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Reverend Rodel G. Balagtas attended St. John Seminary in Camarillo, California and earned his Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri.  For twenty years, he has been in the parish ministry of large multi-cultural communities.  Since 2002, he has been the pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Los Angeles. Please email Fr. Rodel at odey413@aol.com.

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