Courtesy Diane Freeby
August 9, 2011
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! Today I call you to be born anew in prayer and through the Holy Spirit, to become a new people with my Son; a people who knows that if they have lost God, they have lost themselves; a people who knows that, with God, despite all sufferings and trials, they are secure and saved. I call you to gather into God's family and to be strengthened with the Father's strength. As individuals, my children, you cannot stop the evil that wants to begin to rule in this world and to destroy it. But, according to God's will, all together, with my Son, you can change everything and heal the world. I call you to pray with all your heart for your shepherds, because my Son chose them. Thank you."
(August 2, 2011)
Being born anew in prayer and through the Holy Spirit, to become a new people with Jesus is a beautiful call. Our Lady calls us to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, that receptio
St. Gregory the Great. Image via Wikipedia
n of the Holy Spirit into our hearts through which the gifts of the Holy Spirit are awakened and augmented. This reception of the Holy Spirit is part of the normal Christian life. We are called to be set on fire with the Holy Spirit, to be made new in Him, to be renewed and revived by His power.
When I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, many years ago, I experienced a real change in my prayer life. As a college student, I had been introduced to many esoteric philosophies and practices, such as yoga and TM. I was searching for a connection with God, but I didn't know how to find Him. This was a time of turmoil in my life. Denis and I were married, but we were struggling. Then through God's great mercy, we were introduced to the Charismatic movement in the Catholic Church. Denis was involved first and then me. We began going to prayer meetings. We each attended a "life in the spirit" seminar which was designed to help people open up to the Holy Spirit. The seminar worked! We both were baptized in the Holy Spirit, and began to experience God in a much deeper way. Scripture came alive. When we read the Bible, it felt like God was talking right to us. Prayer became an adventure, in which God revealed Himself to us, little by little. We began to connect with the truths of the faith, and with the Catholic Church, through the guidance and light of the Holy Spirit. It saved our marriage and our lives.
That was almost 40 years ago. And though the road has gone up and down over the years, I must say that we have never been totally disconnected from God in prayer since that day. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit has not left us, and we still experience the Lord in prayer in a very personal and deep way. Fr. Jacques Philippe speaks about this personal experience of God in our lives as the "Spiritual Sense". He says we must all develop this sense, if we are to follow the Holy Spirit and answer God's call in our lives. Our Lady's desire that we be born anew in prayer and the Holy Spirit seems to point to the same thing, having "a Spiritual Sense." Fr. Philippe explains:
"Ultimately what will help us to recognize and respond to God's motions most easily and promptly is the interior development of a sort of 'spiritual sense,' which to begin with we may not have at all or may have only in a very rough form. We can develop this sense by experience, and especially by faithfully and resolutely following our Lord.
"This 'spiritual hearing' is a kind of ability to recognize, among all the multiple, discordant voices that we can hear inside us, the unique, unmistakable voice of Jesus. This sense is like a loving instinct that makes it easier and easier for us to distinguish the voice of the Spouse, in the chorus of sounds that greet our ears.
"The Holy Spirit uses, for each of us, a 'tone of voice' that is his alone. It has particular gentleness and power, purity and clarity, which, when we are accustomed to hearing it, gives us near-certainty in singling it out. Of course, the devil, aping what he can of God's ways, can sometimes try to imitate the voice of the Spouse. But if we are truly accustomed to the voice of the Spirit by loving familiarity and by a constant, pure seeking after God's will, we will easily distinguish the voice that, even if it's a good imitation, sounds wrong in some way and so it not the voice of Jesus.
"In St. John's Gospel Jesus promises us that the Holy Spirit will give this spiritual sense to us progressively. Speaking of himself as the Good Shepherd, he says: 'The sheep
Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr
follow him, for they know his voice. The will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers' (John 10: 4-5)." (Fr. Jacques Philippe. In the School of the Holy Spirit. p. 45-46)
I know that for Denis and me, this spiritual sense has been slowly developing over the years, as we have tried to follow the Lord. In a special way, Our Lady of Medjugorje has really helped us to grow in our ability to hear the Lord. Her messages have pointed us to prayer, silence, peace, trust, penance, the sacraments, Holy Mass, and love. Living these messages has created a life-style that is perfect for developing the spiritual sense. God is at the center! And His voice comes in more and more clearly every day.
Let's pray for the in-filling of the Holy Spirit and for an increase in our spiritual sense. Mother, pray for us to receive your Spouse!
In Jesus and Mary!
©Mary TV 2011
PS. Fr. Jacques Philippe. In the School of the Holy Spirit. New York: Scepter Publishers. 2007. www.scepterpublishers.org