I have to apologize or repent. I lost faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. I really did. There was a time in my life when I would start a retreat or a talk by saying that God is going to work powerfully. I had faith that the Holy Spirit would come and manifest Himself powerfully when we asked. I had faith when I told a couple, in front of the abortion clinic, that if they chose life God would bless them. I had faith and I never doubted.Sometime between then and now I lost that faith. Sin, intellectualism, unfaithfulness to prayer and secularism changed the kind of Christian I was. God has slowly been making me aware of it and it is sickening. I want everyone to understand that God does work in peoples lives and we can have faith in that. The stories from the book of Acts aren’t just fairy tales and they aren’t just the stories of the original apostles. Those stories are our history as Catholics and all the mighty deeds they contain can still be found in our lifetime. This includes Pentecost!
Maybe we all need to step back and take a look at the kind of Catholic we are. Maybe we need to remember when Jesus first came into our lives. When we were in the tombs of our sin, unable to save ourselves, and we heard those mighty and bold words, “Take away the stone!” God called us out of our tombs of sin and into His abundant life.
Do not be afraid to tell people what God has done in your life and promise that He will work mightily in their life as well. Do not be afraid to pray for people. Do not be afraid to tell people that God will bless them, heal them, deliver them and raise them from their tombs of hopelessness. Most of all: Tell anyone and everyone how much God loves them and that He wants to have a passionate relationship with them. Have faith in the mighty deeds of the Lord.
The following is a prayer of surrender to the Holy Spirit. Try praying it everyday. Surrender more and more to the God who loves you. Have faith that God will work mightily.
Dear Jesus, I am so sorry for my sins and my unfaithfulness. I ask oh Lord for the grace to faithfully serve you each and everyday. I surrender myself to you totally and completely. I ask that You send Your Holy Spirit into me and stir up the gifts I have received. Enflame my heart Oh Jesus. I surrender all. Come Holy Spirit. I ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Take away the Stone! John 11:38
Lately I have been realizing just how rude I must come across to God. Unfortunately I can be pretty ungrateful for the things the Lord has done in my life. The truth is most of us can overlook gratitude in our spiritual life. Often times this happens because we only go to Jesus in prayer when we are in a crisis. Once the crisis is over, we leave Jesus out of our lives. The ancient Israelites could teach us a lesson in gratitude. When God would work powerfully in a persons life, they would hold a feast and sacrifice an animal. In the middle of the feast, the person who invited everyone would stand up and tell everyone the story of the glorious deed God did in their life. Now that’s gratitude.
While I am not advocating you hold a feast and sacrifice an animal, gratefulness is a very important part of our spiritual life. Gratefulness shows humility. When we thank God, we acknowledge that He has worked in our life.
Here are Some tips to Cultivate a spirituality of Gratitude:
Jesus is the Reason. Sainthood is the goal. The following is the offical questionnaire the Holy Catholic Church uses to determine sanctity of life for those up for Sainthood. They provide a overview of the tenacity and determination we need become like Christ. Keep in mind: LOVE IS THE GOAL!
Did he pray often for the conversion of sinners?
I had a close friend who on several occasions told me about once a month, on average, he misses Sunday mass. His wife would get really upset about it and he would just tell her that because he went the other 3 Sundays out of the month he would be “okay.” I hate the word “okay” when it comes to the spiritual life. I am always fighting the desire to be “just okay” in my heart. As Catholics we aren’t called to be “just okay.” We are called to strive for perfection. This might not be apparent from walking into your average Catholic Church. Most people think that they are fulfilling an obligation not striving for perfection.
Each and every person is called to strive for sainthood and sainthood is the opposite of being “just okay.” This means you need to live deliberately and take an active role in your spiritual life. You need to actively strive for sainthood.
Start fighting the temptation to be “just okay” and begin cultivating a Radical Catholic Life. Here are some very simple ideas that may help:
You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with al your might. Deuteronomy 6:5
The only thing keeping the Isrealites from taking the land of Jericho were the mighty walls of the city. God wanted the Israelites to conquer and inhabit the land so as to live in freedom and in relationship with Him. God wants us to live in freedom and to do that we must tear down the “Walls of Jericho” in our lives. Besetting Sins are those sins inside of us that are always tempting us, always ravaging our souls of the innocence God wants for us. They are that one nagging “thing” keeping us from a totally sincere and passionate relationship with Christ. Sometimes it’s not just one; maybe there are three or four sins that are particularly troublesome for your interior life. They could involve the senses like lust or gluttony or they could be something like vanity or gossip. The point is they have become “high walls” to our will and our heart, and even though we don’t want them to be part of our life, we have let them become a stronghold that needs to be conquered to live in freedom and love.
What are your besetting sins? You most likely have some idea of what they may be. Usually it is the one thing you have confessed over and over again. If it is something physical then it is probably much easier to recognize but maybe not much easier to fight. We need to remember that it could take years to conquer, but if we remain faithful to God, He will cause the walls to crumble and we will gain more freedom and strength for the next battle.
Here are some thoughts on conquering our “Besetting Sins”:
Remember, Christian soul, that thou hast this day, and every day of thy life:
This will really put things into perspective in the mornings. I love it.
Silence should be part of every Christian’s life. Unfortunately silence is becoming more and more scarce in our society. It doesn’t come without Cultivation.
Why is silence so important?
Every baptized Catholic has the threefold vocation of Priest, Prophet and King. We cannot fully take up the role of Prophet without first cultivating silence in our everyday life. Why? Being a prophet is more than proclaiming the Truths handed to us from the Church. God speaks to us all individually and we each have a part in His plan and a unique message for the world. We will never hear that message that is deep inside us without cultivating silence in our every day life.
Its not easy to find times when we can be in solitude to try and work towards that special silence where we can really communicate on a deeper level with God. Solitude and Silence certainly never came easy for me. Before I was married it was pretty common for me to have the television or radio on all day. As soon as I got home I would turn one of them one for some “background” noise. Once I got married I really learned from my wife to cherish silence she hates background noise and rarely ever wants the television or radio on. Now with my busy life (like most everyone else) I have to wake up early to find time for silence. It has to be a priority for me or it won‘t happen.
Some tips to help cultivate silence in your daily life:
A. G. Sertillanges, O.P.
Oh that my people would listen to me…
Expertise: having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.
You can become an expert in almost anything if you do it enough. Everyone has expertise in something, if you think about it. My 14 month old son has become an expert at drinking his bottle. It took him a while to figure it out but now he doesn’t struggle at all. When I was involved in martial arts I must have done 10s of thousands of roundhouse kicks. I believe I am an expert at performing and teaching the round house kick. Repetition can make you an expert at something.
Unfortunately that’s not always a good thing. I remember a time in my life when I was an expert at sinning. There were certain sins that, sadly, I committed so many times I became an expert at them. I’m sure that if you think about it there are certain sins that you have become an expert at because you have committed them so many times and in so many different ways. Think about the 7 capital sins. Have you become an expert in Pride, anger, greed, lust, gluttony, envy and sloth?
Thankfully you have the ability to become an expert in something good as well as long as you work at it. I have worked very hard to become an expert at the Sacrament of confession. As much time as I spent becoming an expert in sin it seemed only natural that I should strive to get the most out of the sacrament of God’s healing mercy. How did I set about to gain this expertise?
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.