The Holy Spirit at Work in the Shake-ups of Our Lives Parts 1 & 2
“Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (3:3)
“Unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” (3:5)
To see and to enter the Kingdom of God is our greatest desire. We pray daily, “Thy Kingdom Come!” But, like Nicodemus, we are tempted to doubt that we can really see or enter the Kingdom, given our brokenness and our sins. We have tried for years only to find ourselves frustrated and disillusioned.
Jesus tells us that we enter the Kingdom by being born anew of water and Spirit. But we have been baptized, confirmed, ordained… and still do not seem to experience the promised new life. Those sacraments are essential, but something else is needed. We received the Holy Spirit through them, but we now need to allow a spark of His grace to release all that power.
We learn from the saints who also had their trials, struggled, and experienced defeat. It was when their human efforts were exhausted, including their well-intended hard work for the sake of the Kingdom, that they finally abandoned themselves to God in a way that they were previously unable to do. God permits the shake-ups for a powerful release of the Spirit.
You have suffered trials, and you may feel defeated. You are in good company. Look at Saint Ignatius of Loyola. He had lofty dreams, but his good plans were rooted in his ego, just like it happens to us. God blesses him with a great “shake up” and his life dreams are shattered. At first, he lived in anger, blaming, resentment and self-pity, but eventually, through the grace of God, he opens his heart for the Spirit of God to start a fire within him. A new vision, a new direction in life. The graces of his sacraments begin to be released in a new powerful way. He is “born anew.” His Spiritual Exercises, which you know well, are his experience of the process of dying to self y rising to a new life in the Holy Spirit which transforms him into a new creation in Christ. His Spiritual exercises are not a technique. St Ignatius believed that the Spirit guides the process and we need to learn to be attentive, listen and to let go of our expectations and control. It is a path of faith towards being born anew, to receive the first fruits of seeing and entering the Kingdom.
The key to holiness is to trust in the Lord as He allows our own crisis in life to shake us up. Another exemplar of this grace is St. Alfonso Rodriguez. He was inconsolable when his wife and three children died. Then he lost his business and saw himself as a failure. The widower spent sad and lonely years in prayer, not knowing what good could come from his life. But God used this crisis to draw Alfonso into an intimate relationship with Him. He then wanted to give himself to God as a Jesuit but was rejected due to his poor health and limited education. He spent two years seeking the education necessary to become a priest, but again the fathers who examined him came to a negative conclusion. Finally, the provincial recognized his holiness and permitted him to enter the Society of Jesus as a brother. Did he finally achieve recognition in an influential position? No. Instead, he spent the rest of his life as a humble doorkeeper at a school. As St Alfonso abandoned himself to accept God’s will for his life, his daily seemingly monotonous and tedious work gave glory to God. Alfonso saw everyone who knocked at the door as the Lord himself. By letting go of his expectations for his life, he allowed the Lord to transform him according to God’s desire for his life and not his own. He became a saint who influenced many, including St. Peter Claver. God allowed St. Alfonso to be recognized as a saint so that we could discover the value of trials and the hidden life that all of us live, yet many times we reject it because our egos desire greatness according to our standards. In the ways of God, the hidden life is the path to holiness and greatness.
Perseverance in the Ordinary. — Simple Path p.154
It is in the most ordinary and hidden life that a soul encounters the face of God. I disguise Myself in what the world sees as tedious. That is why all the Mothers of the Cross have begun to encounter Me in the laundry, cleaning, cooking, nursing…
The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us from His pierced Heart on the Cross where He hung as a total failure in the eyes of the world. The Holy Spirit is our closest divine Companion. He is our guide, teacher, spiritual director, friend, help, light … He is the Transformer. He is the one that consumes us in His fire of love bringing forth our death in Christ crucified so that we can then be raised with Christ as a new creation.
As long as we hold on to our expectations about what constitutes our success, our being useful, even our holiness, we are blocking the Spirit.
Think of your lives as a candle. Until the wick is lit, it is useless; its true purpose has not begun. When we “rekindle the gift of God that is within” (2 Timothy 1:6), we are set on fire with the Holy Spirit. He begins to consume us as a candle is consumed before the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Spirit melts our pride, self-love, vanity, desires, plans, expectations, control, and attachments until our self has melted. We no longer live, it is Christ who lives through us, with us, and in us. The Holy Spirit transforms us into living hosts, and the Eucharistic Reign of Christ triumphs in us and through us. This is the great gift of the Holy Spirit.
Our shake-ups, crisis, trials, burnout, whatever we wish to call it, is a BLESSING.
A priest may be tempted to think that his greatness is measured by his abilities as a homilist, administrator, counselor, healer…. that, to be born again, to be a great priest, he must achieve the expectations of his superiors, or most often, his own disordered expectations. Yet God calls all of us to excel in a different way, by humbly embracing our misery, our brokenness, by accepting humbly our limitations.
St. Faustina believed she was offering Jesus everything when she said:
1318 O my Jesus, in thanksgiving for Your many graces, I offer You my body and soul, intellect and will, and all the sentiments of my heart. Through the vows, I have given myself entirely to You; I have then nothing more that I can offer You. Jesus said to me, My daughter, you have not offered Me that which is really yours. I probed deeply into myself and found that I love God with all the faculties of my soul and, unable to see what it was that I had not yet given to the Lord, I asked, “Jesus, tell me what it is, and I will give it to You at once with a generous heart.” Jesus said to me with kindness, Daughter, give Me your misery, because it is your exclusive property.
Perhaps that is the hardest to give the Lord. Yet the Lord loves us as we are. He knows our brokenness and will make us saints through our trusting surrender.
To receive the gift of the Holy Spirit is to allow Him to complete this work of redemption in us with no resistance as the candle allows itself to be consumed by the fire.
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.” Acts 7:51
Holy Spirit, consumes all, transforms all, into Love, Message of 2/16/12
I Am the Light of God. The Fire in the burning bush that Moses saw was the Fire of the Spirit of God, the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity. It is My Fire of Love that consumes all and draws all into union with the Father through the Son. The gaze of Jesus is My Light penetrating your heart and being. The Words of Jesus are My Fire consuming you in Love and blessing you with wisdom, understanding, knowledge and fear of the Lord. I Am the breadth of the Son, that is why He breathed on His apostles My life. I Am the Fire of Love in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I Am the Love of the Father and the Son. I, the Holy Spirit, consumes all, transforms all, into Love... It is I Who sets on fire every particle of your being in the Love of the Father and Son...
It is I, consumed in the Son as ONE with the Father and Son, who moves the Son to lay down His life for Love. It is I Who moves you to lay down your life as ONE with the Son. Remain in Me as I desire to remain in you. Allow Me, like Mary, to consume you. Do not give Me any resistance.
To live totally docile to the Holy Spirit with no resistance is to accept all, the good and what we perceive as bad, with complete abandonment and trust, believing in God’s love for us expressed in His passion and cross.
Faith Perfected —Diary of a MOC. The Simple Path p310 #115.
Your faith is perfected in suffering and trials. Perfect faith is complete abandonment to My Father’s Will in all things through your union in Me. Therefore, your growth in faith is dependent on the abandonment of your will to Me and also on your knowledge of My perfect love for you.
The shedding of layers of attachments to your will, which is self-love, takes place as you begin to trust in My love for you. This is why suffering all your sorrows with Me is so beneficial for your soul, because, in that process, you touch the open wounds of My love for you. This perfects a soul quickly in abandonment and trust until you come to experience all, the good and what you perceive as bad, as a gift of My love for you.
The gift of knowing with your mind, heart, and soul that the love of God only desires to make of you the new creation you were created to be from the beginning of time, a creation in the image and likeness of God as holy sons and daughters of the Most High. This is why I came upon the earth: to set you free from the bondage of sin, to make of you a new creation, and draw you into the ONENESS of the Most Holy Trinity to experience holy bliss for all eternity. What greater love is there than this? (12/14/11)
Lyrics for Song:
Text and music: Maria Hickein
Soy el Cristo roto, mutilado por el pecado...
I am the broken Christ, maimed by sin...
¿Quién Me quiere consolar?
Who wants to comfort Me?
Todo flagelado, desfigurado, tan maltratado...
All flagellated, disfigured, so mistreated ...
¿Quién Me viene a acompañar?
Who comes to accompany Me?
Como un mendigo implorando compasión...
Like a beggar seeking compassion...
Soy ese amigo que te dio Su corazón...
I am that friend that gave you His heart...
Soy el Cristo roto, olvidado, tan despreciado...
I am the broken Christ, maimed by sin...
¿Quién Me quiere ir a buscar?
Who wants to go looking for Me?
Vivo encadenado, amordazado, encarcelado...
I live chained, gagged, imprisoned ...
¿Quién Me pone en libertad?
Who sets Me free?
Muero de frío por no hallar un corazón
I'm dying of cold for not finding a heart.
que busque al Mío y Me abrigue con su amor...
who looks for Mine and who shelters Me with his love...
Soy tu Cristo roto, rechazado,
I am your Christ - broken and rejected-
fui traicionado con un beso sin amor
I was betrayed with a kiss without love
Soy tu Cristo herido, humillado, abandonado,
I am your Christ - wounded, humiliated, abandoned-
¿Quién repara esta traición?
Who repairs this betrayal?
Busco al amigo con quien compartir Mi sed
I am looking for a friend to share My thirst with
y que Conmigo se crucifique también...
and that, with Me, also crucifies himself...
Otro Cristo roto...
Another broken Christ...