“To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit,” promises St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:7. I was born with the natural gift of writing. The Holy Spirit magnified my writing talent into a charism he uses to glorify God.
Just as he did for me, the Holy Spirit will hover over you and develop your charism, if you ask. He will inspire you to use it for God’s glory. He will surround you with love. You’ll find yourself enclosed in a Holy Spirit sandwich.
I didn’t always know this and often he needs to remind me how this synergism transforms my gift into a holy instrument. These reminders come when my blog or book chapter reads dull or pretentiousand my spirit sinks. Or it surfaces when I’m swimming in muck because I’m impatient and start out as though I can generate inspiring words on my own. Sigh! I just have to fine-tune my listening skills and start over.
When I am alert to the Holy Spirit, he prompts me with a theme from Scripture, a homily, book or tweet. He recalls in my mind a struggle, problem, victory or healing story. Half the time the theme comes first; half the time the story. Energized, I write about what the idea or story teaches me. His joy lifts me along as I type furiously, look up words, correct passive voice and awkward phrases, check spelling and grammar for what I always think is the last time, but usually isn’t.
Then I set the project aside for the Holy Spirit to finish. And he always does. He impresses me with fresh insight, sometimes in an hour or two. Or this may go on for a week with a deeper spiritual meaning overwhelming the initial idea. Sometimes he startles me awake at 3 a.m. to change one more word. Or prompts me to reach over the shoulder of my husband proofreading the almost final version to replace a phrase.
It’s a wonderful partnership. The Holy Spirit is the beginning and the end: a Holy Spirit sandwich. I fill in the details as he stirs them up in me, reflecting my personality wrapped in Holy Spirit creativity.
The Holy Spirit helps me when I get stuck between my original commitment and its fulfillment. Since the Holy Spirit initiated this task, I needn’t panic under pressure from others or my own expectations. Confident that grace is always there for the asking, I ask for it! And it comes, usually from an unexpected direction. A phrase in a song or a word suggested by my best friend ties my stringy scribbling into a gift-wrapped treasure, ready to give away.
The perfect place to write? In a Holy Spirit sandwich. Here I enjoy the grace and presence of the Lord, knowing it certainly isn’t me keeping the momentum going. The Holy Spirit moves his agenda forward. It isn’t even my agenda any longer. It never was. As Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said, “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”
(© 2013 Nancy H C Ward)