How do we know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us?

May 9, 2023 at 5:18 p.m.
How do we know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us?
How do we know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us?

Mark Russoniello

May is a wonderful time of the year. Everything is turning green again, the days are longer and warmer, the air is crisp and filled with the scent of newly blossomed flowers.

May is also a time of year when Catholics often celebrate Sacraments. Who does not delight in seeing children in their white dresses and blue suits as they approach the altar to receive our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time? Many parish communities also celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation in May, and sometimes the Solemnity of Pentecost falls in May (as it does this year on Sunday the 28th).  May is a very good time to focus our family prayer on the Third Person of the Holy Trinity – the Holy Spirit. 

Sometimes the Holy Spirit can be the “forgotten” Person of the Trinity, the one whose name we mention only as we brush our hands across our chests making the Sign of the Cross. But it is important to remember that God’s loving Spirit has been present and active in the world from the very beginning.

The Holy Spirit is the fruit of the love exchanged between God the Father and God the Son. Imagine the warm feeling you have inside when being hugged by someone who loves you very much – a child, parent, grandparent. The warmth and affection of a good hug penetrates every part of your body at the same time it surrounds and engulfs both of you. Now imagine that feeling expanded infinitely and eternally through time and space. 

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Catholics believe and profess that the Holy Spirit “speaks” to us continually of God, revealing God to us through faith in Jesus Christ. The Spirit speaks the loving will of God into our hearts.  But how do we know when God is speaking to us through his Spirit and what he is saying?

  • Sacred Scripture: God reveals himself to us most clearly when we read the Bible. Reading the Bible together as a family and reflecting on God’s Word is a great way to grow in faith and understanding. The Catholic Church has used a practice called Lectio Divina (Latin for Divine Reading) to help the faithful reflect on the meaning of God’s Word. There are many apps and websites that can help guide families in this ancient practice. Here’s one you check out: 24-7 Prayer at www.24-7prayer.com/resource/lectioforfamilies/.
  • Prayer: God speaks to us when we pray with our hearts. This means not just speaking to God, asking for the things we need. It also means making quiet time to listen for how God responds. We all need a “time out” once in a while. As a family, dedicate some time each week to turning off all electronic devices, eliminating distractions, and sitting quietly (together or in different places).  Afterwards, come together to share the experience with each other. You’ll be surprised what you learn when you listen for the Holy Spirit. It does not need to be a long time – maybe 20 minutes maximum (less for families with small children).
  • Take a walk: God is present in all things and in all places. The Bible tells us that God’s Spirit “hovered over the waters” at the moment of Creation. Taking a walk together as a family and breathing in deeply of God’s goodness in the physical world opens our hearts to the action of the Holy Spirit. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, gave a great way to “find God in all things,” known as the Spiritual Exercises.  Here’s a way for children and families to get started: godinallthings.com/2012/07/31/ignatian-spirituality-for-kids/.

 

“Come, Holy Spirit.  Fill the hearts
of your faithful.

Kindle in us the fire of your love.

Lord, you send forth your Spirit

and renew the face of the earth.  Amen.”

Mark G. Russoniello serves as director of religious education in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold.

Faith at Home is a monthly column coordinated by the Diocese of Trenton’s Departments of Catechesis, Evangelization and Family Life, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry.  For additional Faith at Home resources, visit dioceseoftrenton.org/faith-at-home.

 

 

 


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May is a wonderful time of the year. Everything is turning green again, the days are longer and warmer, the air is crisp and filled with the scent of newly blossomed flowers.

May is also a time of year when Catholics often celebrate Sacraments. Who does not delight in seeing children in their white dresses and blue suits as they approach the altar to receive our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time? Many parish communities also celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation in May, and sometimes the Solemnity of Pentecost falls in May (as it does this year on Sunday the 28th).  May is a very good time to focus our family prayer on the Third Person of the Holy Trinity – the Holy Spirit. 

Sometimes the Holy Spirit can be the “forgotten” Person of the Trinity, the one whose name we mention only as we brush our hands across our chests making the Sign of the Cross. But it is important to remember that God’s loving Spirit has been present and active in the world from the very beginning.

The Holy Spirit is the fruit of the love exchanged between God the Father and God the Son. Imagine the warm feeling you have inside when being hugged by someone who loves you very much – a child, parent, grandparent. The warmth and affection of a good hug penetrates every part of your body at the same time it surrounds and engulfs both of you. Now imagine that feeling expanded infinitely and eternally through time and space. 

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Catholics believe and profess that the Holy Spirit “speaks” to us continually of God, revealing God to us through faith in Jesus Christ. The Spirit speaks the loving will of God into our hearts.  But how do we know when God is speaking to us through his Spirit and what he is saying?

  • Sacred Scripture: God reveals himself to us most clearly when we read the Bible. Reading the Bible together as a family and reflecting on God’s Word is a great way to grow in faith and understanding. The Catholic Church has used a practice called Lectio Divina (Latin for Divine Reading) to help the faithful reflect on the meaning of God’s Word. There are many apps and websites that can help guide families in this ancient practice. Here’s one you check out: 24-7 Prayer at www.24-7prayer.com/resource/lectioforfamilies/.
  • Prayer: God speaks to us when we pray with our hearts. This means not just speaking to God, asking for the things we need. It also means making quiet time to listen for how God responds. We all need a “time out” once in a while. As a family, dedicate some time each week to turning off all electronic devices, eliminating distractions, and sitting quietly (together or in different places).  Afterwards, come together to share the experience with each other. You’ll be surprised what you learn when you listen for the Holy Spirit. It does not need to be a long time – maybe 20 minutes maximum (less for families with small children).
  • Take a walk: God is present in all things and in all places. The Bible tells us that God’s Spirit “hovered over the waters” at the moment of Creation. Taking a walk together as a family and breathing in deeply of God’s goodness in the physical world opens our hearts to the action of the Holy Spirit. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, gave a great way to “find God in all things,” known as the Spiritual Exercises.  Here’s a way for children and families to get started: godinallthings.com/2012/07/31/ignatian-spirituality-for-kids/.

 

“Come, Holy Spirit.  Fill the hearts
of your faithful.

Kindle in us the fire of your love.

Lord, you send forth your Spirit

and renew the face of the earth.  Amen.”

Mark G. Russoniello serves as director of religious education in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold.

Faith at Home is a monthly column coordinated by the Diocese of Trenton’s Departments of Catechesis, Evangelization and Family Life, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry.  For additional Faith at Home resources, visit dioceseoftrenton.org/faith-at-home.

 

 

 

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