More than 3,000 delegates, including lay women and men, religious sisters and brothers, deacons, priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals of the United States gathered in Grapevine, Texas, September 20-23, 2018 for the National V Encuentro. Together they examined the evolving role of the Hispanic/Latino Catholics in the U.S. In his closing Mass homily the USCCB vice president, Archbishop Jose Gomes of Los Angeles, said: “The Lord calls each of us to hear his voice. Take your place in the history of salvation and do your part.” (info from the Northeast Ohio Catholic, Nov.Dec.2018)
These words, though addressed to those at the September gathering in Texas, equally apply to all persons of faith. Recently people across the USA awakened to their role in guiding our democracy, came out and voiced their concerns through the power of a single vote. As each of us listens and follows the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in our life, no matter how big/small the action, we help build the Kindom of Christ.
Carol Lemelin, OPA, recently wrote:
How did it happen that Paul of Tarsus, a relentless persecutor of the followers of Christ, became His greatest advocate? We know about his being knocked off his horse and blinded. We know he went at Christ’s command to the city. We knowthat Ananias was directed by God to go to Paul. He went even though Paul waspractically a murderer in the eyes of the New People. From there it makesa great story. Can you imagine the reaction when the disciples inJerusalem heard that the notorious Saul of Tarsus wanted to be aChristian? After the initial shock woreoff, the efforts of Paul to enlighten his people to the coming of the Messiahhad a powerful effect on the Apostles. It undoubtedly took quite a whilebut eventually they came to see that his grasp of the true meaning of the lifeof Jesus was nothing short of extraordinary. There is only one answer tohow this was even possible and that is the Holy Spirit was at work.
From that time on it has been the Holy Spirit who speaks to us. The trick is to learn to understand and listen carefully. That is not impossible. Despite the enormity of God, God is as close as your next heartbeat. The prophets all learned to hear and understand that the voice of God comes from within. There is a knowing that comes with the voice of God. It is not limited to prophets or evangelists. It is for you and me as well. This is not spooky or weird, but as real as you are. Again, however, you and I must get in touch with that Spirit before we can hope to understand what God wants from us.
Thomas Moore, Catherine of Sienna, Dominic, Martin de Porres, Isaac Jogues and Oscar Romero, are just a few of the millions who have heard and acted on the voice of the Spirit because they learned to listen and to follow. Pope Francis says we have to leave room for the Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision.
Most of us may never be required to do deeds of magnitude, but it is not for us to determine what is or is not important to God.
Let our aim each day be to listen for God’s guidance and do God’s will.