O Holy Spirit, Soul of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I ought to do, and command me to do it. I promise to submit myself to all that You ask of me, and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Only let me know Your will. Amen.
The Holy Spirit Bends Our Stubborn Hearts and Will
Note: Meditations for Days 1 through 8 are based on the book Come Creator Spirit, by Rev. A. Biskupek, SVD, now out of print.
We all naturally like to follow our own ideas. As life goes on, we may even find ourselves holding on more and more stubbornly to our own ways of thinking and doing. Unless checked, this will have a negative effect on our relationship with God and with those around us, with whom we live and work. The Holy Spirit who understands us so well, comes to our aid. It is the action of His grace that can bend our stubborn heart and will, bringing us into harmony, peace and union with God and neighbor.
Bowing, genuflecting and kneeling are very common forms of Catholic worship. They symbolize the readiness of our will to submit to the authority and will of God. The interior attitude is much more important than the external act, and without it the latter has no value. Our human will must conform to the holy will of God. We owe this submission to God not just because He is our Creator and we are His creatures; we owe this to God because He is our loving Father and we are His beloved children in Christ Jesus.
Stubborn, unyielding self-will has its root in the pride that led to catastrophe even in paradise. The battle cry of Lucifer, “I will not serve,” has its echo in the life of people down through the ages. Today we hear this awful echo in the lawlessness, corruption, sin and violence of our times. We hear it in those who say, “This is my body, and it is my choice to abort.” Proud, unbending self-will flaunts itself against God all over the world, and unfortunately, we see it doing immeasurable harm even in some who claim to be serving God.
It is the Holy Spirit who comes to convict the world of sin. The Holy Spirit is the One who convicts us of the sin lurking in our own hearts. Through His enlightening and purifying action in our hearts, He gives us fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom. This gift makes us realize the sovereign authority of our Creator and our absolute dependence on Him. Above all, it is by an increase of love in the human heart, a love that enlightens us to eternal truths, that the Holy Spirit bends the human will to conform to the will of God. As fire makes the iron soft and malleable, as it fuses two pieces of iron into one, thus the Holy Spirit’s fire of love makes the human will so pliable that we become one will the divine will. Without such bending of the will, the Church could not accomplish her mission, and the religious state would be an impossibility. In fact, any kind of Catholic life or Christian community has to be based on submission and charity, and the curbing of personal desires and ambitions for the sake of the common good, as well as on the willingness to bear one another’s burdens. A narrow-minded, stubborn insistence on one’s own will or one’s own ways of doing things does the greatest harm. Rigidity of will is the source of endless frictions, violations of justice and charity which disturb the peace and unity of the community. Such things directly oppose the activity of the Holy Spirit, and He cannot be pleased with it. A certain amount of accommodation and compromise is necessary in the interests of harmony and peace. Bending one’s will out of love for God and neighbor is the way to perfection and peace in community. It also opens the way for the full operation of God’s power and love.
May the Holy Spirit bend our will, may He by His power and sweetness overcome our rebellious spirit, so that in and through Him we may be more and more under the direction of His wise and loving guidance, and made one with the holy will of God.