“’Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They answered him, ‘We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’” Acts 19:2
Does this sound like the church today? Actually, I think most Catholics know there is a Holy Spirit, I’m just not sure they know how much the Holy Spirit can help them in their everyday lives. I know that’s how it was for me when I moved to Chico, California, and met some people who were living a lot like the disciples in Jesus’ time. They intrigued me, and I wanted what they had.
Every baptized person has access to the same Holy Spirit. Anyone can go deeper with God by just inviting the Spirit to take over. I recently read about a bishop in South America who said he won’t ordain a new priest who isn’t already baptized in the Holy Spirit, meaning they are aware of the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit and have invited the Holy Spirit to work in their lives.
There is a program currently airing online called the Wild Goose Series by Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR. He explains how the Holy Spirit works, and how we all need the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jim and I are actually on the road as I type this to go see him in person in Oregon City, Oregon. It is his last public conference for now as he was just named the President of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.
When I first started walking in the Spirit, I felt very close to God, and had conversations daily with Him. The Holy Spirit taught me so much and helped me grow in many areas where I was struggling… like worry, fear, trust and raising our kids to know Jesus. Now, 40 years later and as a grandmother of six, I struggle a lot more in my prayer life, and in hearing from God.
The training wheels are off, and I need to walk by faith more. God is the same, but I am not hearing from Him as easily as I used to. It’s like when our kids are little and we are right there helping and teaching but when they grow up, we have to let them find their own way.
When we find ourselves in this new chapter of life, we are being challenged to go even deeper, and to continue doing what we know to do – go to Mass as often as we can, take time to pray every day, read the Bible and keep believing all the way home to heaven.
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Bainbridge Island, Washington, and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Janice also leads women’s retreats and recently published her second book: God IS with Us. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicecarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected].