We have covered the key elements of hearing and acting upon the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in this series. Now, we arrive at the final pieces: continuous prayer and being obedient to a formal spiritual director. The attitude of continuous prayer is a gift of the Holy Spirit, for which we must constantly beg while in a state of Grace, and we have learned that the more we correspond to the Grace we receive, the more Grace God will grant to us. We must commit to a minimum of formal morning prayer to sanctify the day,15 minutes of mental prayer, the Rosary, and our evening prayer/examination of conscience in order to be open to the Holy Spirit….and we must commit to Daily Mass with the worthy receipt of Holy Communion if we want to be completely open to all the Virtues, Gifts, Charisms and Beatitudes. The Blessed Sacrament, the daily Divine nourishment, is what most opens us to the Holy Spirit…the presence of Jesus Christ within can only call the Holy Spirit with a greater measure of His action in our soul for the glory of the Father!
There are three key insights to master in seeking and finding this goal of continuous prayer or the constant practice of the presence and the love of God at each moment. The first and foundational element is child-like trust, because without trust we cannot be at peace, which is required for accepting with docility all that happens to us at each moment. Fr. Jacque Philippe reminds us of the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit through St. Frances de Sales: “What should you fear my child, since you belong to God, who has so strongly assured us that for all those who love Him, all things turn into happiness…Either God will see that nothing bad happens to you, or He will give you the invincible courage to bear it…If God makes us fall, as He did with St. Paul, whom He threw to the ground, it is to raise us to His glory!”
This is such a critical insight that one should say it over and over to oneself until it is memorized. By trusting as a tiny child in His Father’s arms, St. Therese gave us the example God so wants for each of us. This is why she is the most revered of all the modern saints AND a Doctor of the Church! The measure of our love for God is reflected in our trust in Him, which especially means our trust that He can only do good to us, despite our natural, wounded tendency to always want to choose fear. We must choose to be certain that the good He intends for us is for all eternity AND that what we call pain and suffering will actually be turned into joy in this life, but only if we persist in trust, which is an integral part of the great Virtue of Hope.
The second element of continuous prayer is turning all our daily duties, recreation, eating, sleep, every single thing into a prayer by intentionally offering it as such and to do it WITHOUT HASTE. As St. Frances De Sales continues: we must “treat our affairs with care, but never worry nor hurry”, which both come from self love. Haste upsets our faculties, our memory, our intellect and our will and the intellectual gifts of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge) become clouded! This “prevents you from doing well, the very things you are hurrying to do.” Martha was reprimanded by The Lord because she was anxious and worried, due to her desire to hurry and finish the household tasks. Our great Doctor of the Church concludes with this insight to help us never, ever be haste filled: “Accept with peace all the tasks that come to you, and try to accomplish them in order…”
This advice is so necessary for those with type A personalities, who tend toward a mentality of get it done now and then get even more done. This one insight with God’s Grace can dramatically change someone (like the author of this Blog) who has historically operated with far too much haste.
The third element is that we must know and accept that God wills to actually do the work in us….every single thing we undertake. He wants us to live with His Will and turn our will over to Him completely as our Mother Mary did! The more we fight this reality due to our self love, the slower our progress will be! This is especially true with regard to all our imperfections and bad habits. St. Frances de Sales has this brilliant insight: “We must hate our shortcomings, but with a hate that is tranquil and peaceful, not with a hate that is fretful and troubled; and yes, we must have the patience to see our shortcomings and to profit from a saintly abasement of ourselves. Failing that my child, your imperfections, which you see very acutely, will trouble you even more keenly, and there is nothing which SUSTAINS OUR DEFECTS MORE than a sense of anxiety and haste to eliminate them.” (Emphasis added). God will do it if we rely solely on Him to do so, and He will do it in His perfect timing!
Holy Spirit, our Greatest Friend and Sanctifier, we beg the Grace to trust completely and to cling to Jesus for the glory of the Father, as everything that has happened or will happen to us is for our greater eternal glory, and further even for our happiness now, if we choose to accept suffering as He did and to be a true co-victim for the salvation of others! We beg to never be in haste, but to move forward to act with prudent decisiveness after proper prayer and spiritual direction. Finally, we beg you to do all in us, especially to live with Your Will, so we allow You to change all our perfections and bad habits in Your time for Your Glory! We admit that by ourselves we are inclined to sin and we are nothingness, and that we can do nothing without You!
Oh Divine Wisdom solving all human conundrums! If we still have doubts after this extraordinary insight of two Doctors of the Church, let us listen to our dear Lord’s own words…He who is the Way, the Truth and the Life… as to how we can always hear the inspirations of the Holy Spirit: “Ask and you shall receive.” We must never stop begging for this reality, because Jesus, we do trust in You with Your own trust!
We will achieve what He so desires for us, because He Himself has planted the desire for holiness within us! Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the Gifts, so we hear hear all Your inspirations for holiness!