Work of the Holy Spirit in a cooperating person
In this module we shall reflect on our collaboration with the Holy Spirit in unfolding the mystery of our vocation. The two partners in the event of consecrated life are the Holy Spirit and the person who responds to the call. Holy Spirit is the protagonist and active agent in a cooperating person in effecting the “new bond between the person and the One and Triune God, in Jesus Christ” (RD 7b), leading him/her progressively into full configuration to Christ (VC 19).
There is already the presence of the Holy Spirit in the baptized who draws them inwardly to love God with their whole being and love each other as Christ loves them (LG 40). The love with which the Holy Spirit floods their hearts impels them to live more and more for Christ and for his body, the Church (PC 1b).
The action of the Holy Spirit in the person called is illustrated in the different verbs used in Vita Consecrata (no.19) and Potassimum Institutionis (no.19).The working of the Spirit in the life of the consecrated person before, during and after the profession of evangelical counsels is illustrated by several verbs as given below. You may resonate them within yourself to relive your own experience of the action of the Holy Spirit in your life.
- Enabling to recognize the appeal of the choice, the divine seduction.
- Awakening the desire to respond fully.
- Guiding the growth of the desire.
- Helping to mature into a positive response.
- Sustaining the response as it is translated into action.
- Shaping and molding the hearts of those who are called.
- Configuring them to Christ, chaste, poor and obedient.
- Prompting them to make his mission their own.
- Putting them at the service of their brothers and sisters.
- Inspiring them to undertake special tasks in response to the needs of the Church and the world.
- Teaching, reminding, guiding.
- Anointing, giving desire, appreciation, judgment, choice.
- Assisting in weakness and sustaining.
- Giving a filial heart.
The action of the Holy Spirit deep in the heart of each person is of another order than that which psychology or visible history is able to describe, though the Spirit certainly works through those dynamics enumerated by these sciences (PI 19).
These action verbs clearly show the way God works in the interior of those who are called, respecting their autonomy and freedom and at the same time empowering and guiding them for an authentic response.
Thus, aided by the Holy Spirit, a person is invited to respond freely to the call of God and undertake to live the evangelical counsels (LG 46b). It requires a profound and free self-surrender (EE 1b).The verbs used to explain t
- Undertake voluntarily (EE 1).
- Freely consecrating and giving of self to God (RD 7).
- Freely assumes this form of living (RD 7).
- Give a personal response of love in their turn (RD 9).
- Make Christ the whole meaning of their lives (VC 16).
- Strive to reproduce in them the style of Jesus’ life (VC 16).
- Embrace chastity, imitate Christ’s poverty and accept Christ’s filial obedience (VC 16).
- Senses the need to respond by unconditionally dedicating his/her life to God (VC 17).
- Consecrates to God all things present and future and places them in God’s hands (VC 17, 18).
- Let themselves be seized by God’s love and Abandon everything to follow him (VC 18)
- Strive to become one with him, taking on his mind and his way of life (VC 18)
- Allow themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit to become conformed to Christ (VC 19).
- Bear witness (VC 20).
- Open the hearts to the promptings of the Holy Spirit (VC 25b, SAFC 20).
- Deepen the awareness of having been called and chosen by God and offer everything that they are and have. (VC 25b).
- Be plunged into the fire of love, the Holy Spirit (VC 25b).
- Cooperate with the Holy Spirit and remain open (VC 25b, SAFC 10).
- Respond in love to the love of God (SAFC 22d).
- Free, willing and generous response (VC 64b).
he action of the persons called to consecrated life illustrate the role of the human partner. See how these verbs resonate within you as your action steps in living your vocation.
The action verbs proper to the person called to consecrated life requires freedom and willingness to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, a “fiat” to the project of God. The adverbs “freely”, “voluntarily” and “unconditionally” imply conscious and generous response on the part of the one called to consecrated life.
It is interesting to note the reciprocal relationship and interaction between the Holy Spirit and the person as he/she progresses in his/her consecrated life. It is like the Holy Spirit coaching the consecrated person for this form of lifewhich makes Christ present to the world. “The more the consecrated persons allow themselves to be conformed to Christ, the more Christ is made present and active in history for the salvation of all” (PC 1c, SAFC 9).
Jesus and apostles led by the Spirit
In the Gospels we see Jesus letting himself be led by the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:1) and acting by the power of the Spirt (Mt 12:28; Lk 4: 18, Heb 9:14). The early Church preached Jesus as one who was anointed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38) and taught the apostles through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:2). Jesus promised the Spirit to his disciples before his passion and death (Jn 15:26) and conferred the Spirit on them at Pentecost (Acts 2).The partnership of disciples with the Holy Spirit in their journey of life is beautifully narrated by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. The apostles lived their lives and carried their mission constantly with the awareness of the spirit of the Risen Lord active in them. It is interesting to note that the ownership of important decisions was presented to the people as “we and the holy spirit have decided…” (Acts 15:28; cf. also Acts 5.32). It is looking at how Jesus and the apostles lived and worked that we learn the art of collaborating with the Holy Spirit to discover and live our unique vocation and unique mission in life. The consecrated person and the Holy Spirit dance together to the beautiful rhyme of love.
Capacity for self-awareness and taking responsibility for one‘s own actions are important qualities of a human partner to work with the holy Spirit.
Cultivate mindfulness. You can improve your mindfulness by:
- Noticing your thoughts, feelings, and actions without judgment or criticism
- Observing what’s happening around you
- Being fully aware of your senses moment to moment
- Living in the here and now without resorting to old patterns and automatic reactions
- Exercising acceptance of your own experience, whether good, bad or neutral.”
Occasionally stop your activities for a moment and be mindful of what is going on in and around you. If you are new to the practice of mindfulness, you may need an alarm or other signals to remind you to be mindful. It will help you to de-identity with your thoughts and feelings and learn to choose your response in various situations of life in accordance with your vocational values.
To free from self-victimization and affirm self-determination: Make a list of what you do because you “have to” (for example, “I have to get up at 5.30”) and change the “I have to” into “I want to” (for example, “I want to get up at 5.30”). See the difference for yourself and enjoy choosing to do things in life. You will then become “respons-abe” and cease to be a victim living your life and activities as a burden.
To move from pessimism to creativity: When you tend to wail in pessimism in moments of difficulties, change your “why” (for example, “Why it is always me!”) to “how can I” (for example, “How can I deal with this situation/person better?”). See the different flow of energy as you engage your inner self to address the challenges of life.
Enjoy being mindful.
– Mathew Vattamattam cmf
 Cf. PC 1b. The action of the Holy Spirit in the person called is a gentle persuasion of love, Note the terms used such as “under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit” (PC 1a), the grace to respond (EE 5), “under the action of the Spirit” (PI 7b), “accompanied by the specific gift” (VC 30). It reminds of the experience of prophet Elijah who encountered the “a light murmuring sound” (I kings 19.12) or Jeremiah who found himself :seduced” (patah) by God (Jer 20.7).