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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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How do we go about making the most important decisions in our lives?

How do we go about making the most important decisions in our lives?

Life is complicated. Easy answers are not always available for the choices we have to make. Should I go here or there? Should I buy this or that? Should I join this group or another? Should I marry this person? Should I wait longer before changing jobs?

We are constantly making decisions.

When we think about it, we realize that our decisions are the backbone of our lives. To become aware of how we make those decisions is so important. Are we led by the spirit of the world, or by the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit?

At times we can easily see that the spirit of the world has inspired many of our decisions. When we buy things, we do not really need; when we enter relationships only because we want to get something out of them for ourselves; when we make decisions that will harmfully affect others. When we decide in this way, we know the spirit of the world is leading us.

Many organizations and institutions make all of their decisions under the prompting of the world’s spirit. Self-protection and profit become their main motives. What is not good for business is considered as unimportant. Money becomes more important than human lives.

A few years ago, Don Blankenship, a former coal executive of Massey Energy received the maximum penalty for conspiring to violate federal mining safety laws. He was the CEO in 2010 when an explosion in the Upper Big Branch Mine killed 29 miners. His defense was that he was trying to make money for the company. Because of his and his company’s greed, 29 miners died.

Christians should ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in every decision we have to make, no matter how small or big. Jesus tells us, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” (Jn. 14:25)

This is why we need to remain open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit teaches us what we need to know, when we need to know it. The Holy Spirit reminds us of the particular truths that we must remember when we are involved in an important moment of our lives.

If this is true, why do we often make the wrong decisions? What is the biggest obstacle we place in the way of the Holy Spirit working in our lives? In simple terms, a closed mind and a closed heart are the biggest obstacles to our being led by the Spirit.

If we are not open to the new and unexpected in our lives, then we will not hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us. So often we miss the prompting of the Holy Spirit because we push aside new thoughts and feelings as strange or not what we are used to doing.

Sometimes we get stuck in life. We move neither forward nor backward. Nothing new ever happens. However, when we listen to God speaking in our lives, we can see things and people in a new way. New possibilities open in our lives. A breath of fresh air finally blows through our stale daily routines.

The Holy Spirit wants to penetrate our whole lives. We should never think of ourselves as having a spiritual life and an ordinary life. When we think like that, we misunderstand the gift of the Holy Spirit. God is present to us and within us through the constant indwelling of the Spirit that we receive at Baptism. There is no area of our life that God does not want to influence.

On Pentecost Day the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to proclaim the Good News so that everyone in the world could understand them. The Spirit will speak through us in a similar way when we open our hearts to this great gift and allow the Spirit to move freely within us.