The Holy Spirit and Activity
Presence of God – O Holy Spirit, inspire my actions, direct my activity.
An interior soul gradually arrives at the point where its whole life—prayer as well as activities—is under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself has told us that He would “teach us all things and bring all things to our minds” (cf. John 14:26). Let us first consider the activity which is so closely connected with the spiritual life and which consists in trying to carry out, in the course of the day, the prayerful resolutions made daily and also during our annual retreats, our monthly days of recollection, and our weekly confessions. Sometimes we make this an almost exclusively “moral” work, and not sufficiently a “theological” one; that is, we try to correct our faults and practice the virtues with the intention of pleasing God, while remaining, as it were, aloof from Him. We labor alone, almost forgetting that there is Someone within us who cannot only help us, but can do the work better than we can. Our activity resembles that of a sailor who is so busy rowing that he pays no attention to the direction of the wind, and thus receives no help from it. Certainly personal efforts are not to be neglected, but they should be expended in a more interior manner, that is, in a theological way, depending more upon God and the action of the Holy Spirit. Rather than aim directly at correcting a fault or acquiring a virtue, it would be much more profitable for us to maintain a continual dependence on the interior Teacher, and to act only after listening to His intimate, silent voice. In short, it is a question of acting always in conformity with the interior movement of grace, with the inspirations of the Holy Spirit; thus we transfer the reins of our interior life from our hands to His, entrusting it completely to His direction.
“O Holy Spirit, You are the dispenser of the treasures contained in the Father’s bosom; You are the treasurer of the counsels of the Father and the Word. You show us what we should do in order to please the Trinity: You teach us in the intimacy of our hearts by Your inspirations, and exteriorly in our lives by the preaching and advice of Your ministers. The gates of heaven are always open so that grace may come down to us, but we do not open our hearts to receive it. Oh! send down this grace, O eternal Father, send it down, O most pure Word, since You deign to send Your loving Spirit, the Spirit of goodness. O Holy Spirit, how generous You are to us and blessed are they who welcome You! You bring us the Father’s power, the ardent love of the Word!” (cf. St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).
“O Lord, show me the path I must follow to reach You, teach me to do Your will, and let Your Spirit guide me on the right path.
Create in me, O God, a clean heart, and infuse into me Your Spirit, the Spirit of uprightness and of truth. O my God, let me not depart from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me, for without Him I should be deprived of life and grace. Sustain me, O God, by Your magnanimous Spirit, without whom I can do nothing” (cf. Psalms 143, 50).
O Holy Spirit, Spirit of truth, You who speak to souls and instruct them interiorly, make me attentive to Your teaching and docile to Your inspiration.
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Art: All Saints Catholic Church (St. Peters, Missouri) – stained glass, sacristy, Holy Spirit detail, Nheyob, 8 July 2014, own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.