As I was praying my way through the New Testament, a phrase kept popping up and really challenging me. St. Paul writes, “In humility count others better than yourselves (Phil 2:3).” In this particular scripture and many passages like it, I was confronted with my illusions and the limits of my personal perspective. My eyes opened to see an aspect of myself that had remained hidden because it showed me the deep roots of sin which went beyond the surface of exterior actions. In short, the Word of God created a holy agitation in the depths of my heart.
Sometimes an inspiration either in the scripture, in a homily, or in the writings of the saints stirs the heart and disrupts our typical patterns of understanding. In such moments, it is as if the Holy Spirit dislodges our perceptions and creates the explosive possibility of being drawn into deeper ways of understanding and relating to the Lord. In this way, the different aspects of our faith are not meant to be pleasant sedatives which tell us how good we are, but rather a living encounter with the person of Jesus Christ which leads us to conversion.
We must allow the Holy Spirit to constantly amaze and challenge. In secular literature on leadership, it is often stressed that the best leaders are those who have an on-going attitude of adaptation and learning. Building on such natural wisdom, the science of the saints is an on-going path of formation by the Holy Spirit in which each day holds the potential of encounter and contemplation. The saint is the constant learner, but not simply in a natural manner of curiosity. Rather, the saint is the one who consistently allows the Holy Spirit to expand his or her’s horizon, the one who holds the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit constantly before his or her’s gaze.
In this way, both the great and the everyday saints are those learners who have allowed their attention and energy to be molded by the Holy Spirit. As we allow the Holy Spirit to shape our interior life, our conscience is elevated, purified, and made to participate in the Divine creativity of God’s word. Discernment and active listening to the Father’s voice lead to action and discipleship as we are “compelled by the Spirit (Acts 20:22)” to participate in the mission of Jesus Christ.
Today, let us allow the Holy Spirit to disrupt our lives. Let us allow the scripture and the teaching of the Church to agitate the comforts of our limited perspectives and open us to the living dynamism of the Holy Spirit.