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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Our Goal is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us throughout our lives

Our Goal is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us throughout our lives

Life is often very 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? It seems we never finish making decisions.

When we think about it for a moment, 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?

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 because we want to get something out of them for ourselves; when we make decisions that will have a harmful effect on others. When we make these kinds of decisions, 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 the main motives for these worldly decisions. Money becomes more important than human lives.

For example, Don Blankenship, a former coal executive of Massey Energy recently received the maximum penalty for conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws. He will spend one year in prison and pay a $250,000 fine. 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. 29 miners died because of his negligence. And he only gets one year in jail. That’s greed.

As Christians, our goal is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us throughout our lives 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 remaining open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit is so important. 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 in our lives. If this is true, why do we often make the wrong decisions? What prevents us from being led by the Holy Spirit? Basically, 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, then we will not hear the Holy Spirit speak to us about new possibilities for our lives. 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.

The Holy Spirit wants to penetrate our whole lives. We should never think of ourselves as having a spiritual life and an ordinary life. God is present to us and within us through the constant indwelling of the Spirit that we receive at Baptism.

If we wish our life to be balanced and whole, it can be done only by recognizing that God is totally immersed in our lives. This life of the Spirit is always a life lived as part of the Church – the family of God, united in the one Spirit of love and mercy. How can we thank God for this great gift? We can offer our whole life in service of that same Spirit.