Saturday, June 16, 2007

What the Holy Spirit requires of us

1. What does the Holy Spirit desire of us? He wishes to transform us and to make us holy, and for this He wants our co-operation. We should give our co-operation generously in the manner of the first Christians. These were in close contact with the college of Apostles and tried hard to put their teaching into practice.

In the early days of Christianity every house was like a Church. This should still be the case to-day. We should be bound together spiritually under the influence of the Holy Ghost and under the guidance of the teaching authority of the Church. We should practise the Church's teaching and try to diffuse it among others.

The early Christians also persevered in prayer, and in daily participation in the Sacrament of the Altar. There can be no spiritual life without prayer, because it comes from God. The Holy Spirit speaks to those who humbly and earnestly invoke Him. Our best prayers are those which we say when we receive Holy Communion, however. Then we have Jesus Himself within us with all His graces.

If we receive Holy Communion with the proper dispositions, we can acquire the spirit of charity towards God and our neighbour which is the sum total of Christianity. We can make ourselves holy and can ask for the ability to co-operate in the sanctification of others.

A further characteristic of the early Christians was that they possessed everything in common. We are accustomed to call this attitude of common ownership an evangelical counsel rather than a command. It is the spontaneous outcome of that true and efficacious charity which flows from the Holy Spirit and makes all men brothers.

There is no strict obligation on us to give away everything which we possess for the benefit of our neighbour. But we havea real obligation to help our neighbour as far as lies in our power when we see that he is in need. Otherwise we cannot say that we love our neighbour as ourselves and therefore cannot claim to be genuine Christians. He who does not love abides in death, (I John 3:14) wrote St. John. He who has the goods of this world, he continues, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him? My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:17-18)

It is worth our while to reflect on these tremendous words and to act according to their sense. In modern society there is excessive luxury on one side and excessive poverty on the other. Christianity in its truest sense, therefore, is not being practised. How do we behave in this matter?

2. The Holy Spirit, coming into our souls, asks us to do four things in particular.

(I) To keep far from us everything which could be displeasing to God.
This means that we must avoid sin, which is hateful to God and brings about the death of the soul. When the sin is grave, it destroys charity in us; when it is venial sin, it diminishes our fervour and capacity for good action. We have become the temples of the Holy Spirit. Let us do our best, therefore, to keep ourselves pure and free from every stain of sin. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:30)

(2) To avoid contamination by the spirit of the world, which is repugnant to the Spirit of God. The world is selfish, and we should be on fire with love for God and for our neighbour. The world is vain and proud, and we should love obscurity, recollection and humility. The world looks for happiness in honour, wealth and pleasure, in the passing goods of this life. We, on the other hand, should seek our happiness in eternal and heavenly values because God alone can satisfy our hearts and make us happy.

(3) To avoid affections which are too human and sensual. Only the clean of heart can see and enjoy God. All the objects and all the people of this world should form for us a ladder which leads to God.

(4) To seek the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit in recollection and in prayer.

We should listen for His voice within us, inspiring and advising us. We should do obediently whatever He desires, no matter what sacrifice this may entail.

3. O Holy Spirit, sweet guest of my soul, remain with me, and grant that I may always remain with You.