In the fray of everyday life we sometimes forget that our faith has more than one dimension. Faith consists of both the practical and the mystical all at the same time. It is fairly easy to live the practical: pray, be kind, go to Mass, obey the commandments, be an example. The mystical, however, is another matter. “It means we comprehend God’s private language, the language the Trinity speaks. By faith we enter God’s [universe] as eavesdroppers.” (Father J. Anthony Giambrone, O.P. Province of St. Joseph) This is a world that we can’t begin to imagine by using our human attributes. To go here we must enlist the help of the Holy Spirit. In the west we have not done a good job of including the Spirit in our personal concept of faith. We know the story of Pentecost and may give the spirit a thought or two perhaps once a year.
Trying to manage a lively faith life is tough without being aware of and consciously enlisting the help of the Spirit along with the Father and the Son. Each person of the Trinity schools us in different aspects of our faith life. Jesus teaches us how to be the best version of human that is possible. The Father teaches us what it’s like to be safe in a loving family no matter how many times we fail. The Spirit teaches us trust and courage when none of that makes any sense in the context of circumstances, the invisible in the face of the visible.
“Supernatural faith [is what] the Holy Spirit infuses into souls…….[I]n infused faith there is no measure or mean.” (Venerable Louis of Granada, t1588, Spanish Dominican)
We need the Spirit to operate in all the “hidden” places of our faith that we are sometimes not even aware of.
When the Spirit manifests in our life there is no holding back the influence we bring to others. I was privileged to meet (now deceased) Father Martin Jenco. He was the only cleric present with the Iranian hostages in ‘79. Fifty-two were held for 444 Days. It was a private meeting with a small group. As I entered the room the most amazing thing happened. A sense of tangible peace was oh so present. Father Jenco was soft spoken and gracious. Sitting next to him, I had an experience of peace and calm that was simply other worldly. This was the presence of the Spirit, without a doubt. That was over thirty years ago and I can still recall it as clearly as it was yesterday.
“It cannot be doubted that the Holy Spirit blows, sometimes more, sometimes less vigorously, through the garden of the spirit, blowing as he will, when he will, as much as he will and on whom he will. Without the Holy Spirit, a man can do nothing….” (Guigo do Ponte t1297, Carthusian monk)
Without the Spirit there are spiritual tools that you do not have access to. If you want your writing to leave an impression, create real peace and provide the reader with that “nugget” that they think about for days, the Spirit must be part of your faith life. Do yourself a favor and work on your relationship with Spirit and all the amazing things he can do. Pentecost was a reality not a fable. “We are witnesses to these things and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:32)