A series of reflections on various issues.
Pathway Peace has been a Christian for many years and writes from a Christian perspective.
Thoughts are offered. Intelligent feedback is welcomed.
Please do not use profanity or vulgarity.
Please share your thoughts and views on subjects covered in the same spirit as I write my thoughts and views.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
How the Holy Spirit Speaks to Us
The gift of the Holy
Spirit is given to those who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the
Son (Jesus) and of the Holy Spirit.
Full authority has been given to me (Jesus) both
in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the
nations.Baptize them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.Matthew 28:18-20
If you love me and obey the commands I give
you, I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete— to be with
you always: The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, since it neither
sees him nor recognizes him; but you can recognize him because he remains with
you and will be within you.
He is also given to
those who believe in Jesus, have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior, and
have been prayed with to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When the apostles in Jerusalem
heard that Samaria
had accepted the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down
to these people and prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit. It had not
as yet come down upon any of them since they had only been baptized in the name
of the Lord Jesus.Acts 8:15-16
The voice of the
Holy Spirit is one of God’s ways of speaking personally to us.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in
“This is the way; walk in it,”
you would turn to the right or to the left.Isaiah 30:20-21.
The Holy Spirit does
not usually speak in an audible voice.It’s more like an inaudible voice in your mind, similar to your
Then the Lord Said, “Go outside and stand on
the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by,” A strong and heavy
wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord—but the Lord
was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake—but the Lord was not
in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire—but the Lord was not in
the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the
cave.1 Kings 19:11-13
The Holy Spirit
speaks through inner promptings—sometimes to say or do something; other times
words of wisdom, comfort or guidance. The Holy Spirit may bring a passage from
the Bible to your mind. (This is one good reason for reading the Bible regularly;
the Holy Spirit cannot bring any Bible passages to mind that you have never
read or heard!)
Sometimes the Holy
Spirit will speak to you through the circumstances of your life: meeting
someone, someone mentioning a job opportunity, just “happening” to see the
house you were meant to buy. Other times a thought or idea may come into our
mind that is something we know is not of us.When that happens, we may react with the question, “Where did that come
from?”That’s an indication that it may be from the Holy Spirit.For example—often when working on my Bible
Study lesson, an answer to a question will come to my mind that I know did not
come from me.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit will speak to you
through something you have read or heard; a teaching, a song, a book.The word or words will seem to “jump” out at
you; their meaning will resonate in your spirit as something to take note
of.Very often this happens when we are
reading the Bible.That may be the Holy
Spirit saying to us:“Listen!This is for you.”We should pay
attention to that prompting and maybe write it down in a journal.
The following was written by Fr. Benedict
Groeschel in his book The Journey Toward God.
spiritual life is essentially the work of the Holy Spirit. Our participation,
although it may appear to be a very active struggle to do good…is ultimately a
cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Our
essential task is not to do things for God, but rather not to resist God’s
trying to do good things for us. Holiness is His work. Our task is to avoid
resisting Him. Many people waste a great deal of time and effort doing what
they want on the spiritualroad
instead of letting the Holy Spirit lead:they must do this, they must be there, they must learn some other
things. This is not really following Christ; it is walking beside Him and making suggestions. (italics mine)
Keeping track of
inspirations from the Holy Spirit is a very good practice.First, it helps you remember them.Second, you can share them with your
spiritual director or whoever you share with spiritually. Third, you will often
see a pattern emerge that will help guide you.
We often don’t
“hear” the Holy Spirit because we are not listening. Sometimes He speaks amid
the noise and distractions of our lives. But more often it’s when we are
praying or when it’s quiet.If we always
have noise in our lives—radio, TV, music—we will miss much of what He is trying
to tell us.
How do we know it’s
the Holy Spirit speaking and not just our own thinking, or the evil one?When the Holy Spirit speaks, we will have a
sense of calm or peace, even if it’s a word of admonition.What we hear can never contradict the Word of
God in the Bible or God’s commandments.There is no “new” revelation.In
serious matters such as life goals, dating, marriage, employment, relocating,
etc., we should always seek the advice of at least two spiritually mature
Christians to help discern whether or not it’s from God.
A woman I was
associated with a long time ago was divorced from her husband and he had
remarried. Yet she felt very strongly that the Holy Spirit had revealed to her
that her marriage would be restored. She then proceeded to live her life as if
this was going to happen. Well, it never did. We can hope and pray for
something we feel the Holy Spirit has revealed to us, but we have to continue
with our lives until God does it.
St. Teresa of Avila, in her book InteriorCastle,
gives three rules for discerning whether a word comes from the Holy
first and truest is the sense of power and authority which they (the words)
bear with them, both in themselves and in the actions which follow them…. (For
example) A soul is experiencing all the interior disturbances and tribulations…
and all the aridity and darkness of understanding.A single word of this kind—just a “Be not
troubled”— is sufficient to calm it. No other word need be spoken; a great
light comes to it; and all its trouble is lifted from it, although it had been
thinking that, if the whole world, and all the learned men in the world, were
to combine to give it reasons for not being troubled, they could not relieve it
from its distress, however hard they might strive to do so. Or a soul … is full
of fear. Yet that single word which it hears: “It is I, fear not,” takes all
its fear from it, and it is most marvelously comforted, and believes that no
one will ever be able to make it feel otherwise. Or it is greatly exercised
because of some important piece of business and it has no idea how this will
turn out. It is then given to understand that it must be, and all will turn out
well; and it acquires a new confidence and is no longer troubled.
second sign is that a great tranquility dwells in the soul, which becomes
peacefully and devoutly recollected, and ready to sing praises to God.
third sign is that these words do not vanish from the memory for a very long
time: some, indeed, never vanish at all. Words which we hear on earth… from
men,-- however weighty and learned they may be—we do not bear so deeply engraved
upon our memory, nor, if they refer to the future, do we give credence to them
as we do these locutions. For these last impress us by their complete
certainty, in such a way that, although sometimes they seem quite impossible of
fulfillment, and we cannot help wondering if they will come true or not, and
although our understanding may hesitate about it, yet within the soul itself
there is a certainty which cannot be overcome….
the locutions come from the imagination, none of these signs occur, not is there
any certainty or peace or interior consolation.
A few weeks after
the death of my father, I was at a healing Mass. I was not thinking of or
praying for my father, but I had my eyes closed in meditation. Then I had a
mental vision of my father strolling along the shore of a river. He was young,
probably in his thirties, and was dressed in a white shirt, white pants and
white shoes. I was looking at this from a distance. As he walked, he was
looking at the river in awe. I then had the sense that I no longer needed to
pray for my father’s soul—he was in heaven. I also had a sense of the distance
between him and me—like a chasm I could not cross. My father passed on in 1992
and yet this mental picture and the sense that came with it is a fresh in my
mind as if it happened yesterday. This confirms for me that it truly was from the Holy Spirit.
Most importantly, when
we think we have heard the Holy Spirit speak to us we must act on it.Don’t be afraid to step out in faith.If it truly was the Holy Spirit it will bear fruit.Don’t be like Jonah in the Old Testament who
tried to avoid doing what the Lord asked him to do (The Book of Jonah). What
good is it if God gives us guidance and we don’t follow through? We must
discern and seek the discernment of mature Christians if we think the Holy
Spirit wants us to speak a word of correction to a fellow Christian or we think
He is asking us to make an important change in our life, i.e. marriage, job,
relocating. We also need to pray that God will give us, or those who we have
asked to help us discern, confirmation of His Will.
We thank God that He
has given us the great gift and blessing of speaking to us through His Holy
Spirit!Let us join with our Lord and
Savior, Jesus Christ, in praying the words He spoke:Father,
Lord of heaven and earth, to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from
the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children.(Matthew 11:25).