Growth in the spiritual life involves moving from a self-guided to a spirit-guided life. On the surface, the activities of a spirit-guided life may not seem dramatically different. We all still need to do the everyday aspects of life which are required by our particular vocation. We may still keep the same job and in many ways our lives will seem similar to the way we lived before.
What keeps us from fulfilling our potential, our vocation to sanctity and a spirit-filled life, is that our spiritual antennae is not able to pick up the sensitive inspirations of the Holy Spirit because it has been disordered by the effects of sin. Sin keeps us from having the inner stillness in which we are able to sort through our thoughts, feelings, and desires and discern what is the work of the Holy Spirit and what is the work of the devil.
In addition to sacramental confession, good spiritual friendship is an important aid to learning discernment. When we have a support network of people who can help us listen to the promptings of Spirit, we learn over time what is a genuine inspiration vs. what is not. Discernment should always be done the in the context of the Church, the community of believers united through the Eucharist. Spiritual friends become others selves through which we learn to explore the deep things of God.
As our friendships grow and mature, our relationship with the Holy Spirit likewise matures. In spirit-guided life shared in community, what will change dramatically is the quality of our lives. Our reliance on the Spirit will grant to us an other-centered curiosity in which the world becomes a place of newness and discovery. Instead of being hostile and unforgiving, work will prove the opportunity to explore new possibilities and adventures. This is not something that happens by force of the will, but rather about being receptive to others.
So today, let us pray for spiritual friendships and seek to nurture them in our lives. Let us patiently seek to discover good Christians who can walk the path of holiness with us, committed to the vision of being saints in heaven.