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Receiving the light of the Holy Spirit to make the right life choices


Jacob Lund | Shutterstock

Edifa - published on 05/23/21

The Holy Spirit helps direct our vision, and allows us to see situations as God sees them.

Where will the “ray of light” of the Holy Spirit that the Pentecost liturgy urges us seek come from? Let us first dismiss the idea of some miraculous illumination: “I will pray very strongly to the Holy Spirit, and then, when I open the Bible to any page, I will find the answer to my problems!”

Indeed, the light of the Holy Spirit is first of all the light of reason and faith, two divine lights that the Lord gives to all his children, and the point is not replacing it but using it correctly: the “ray” that we seek is the one that will lead our vision, allowing us to see situations as God sees them, in their natural and supernatural state.

An example: at the end of his formal education, a young man may ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten him on his future orientation. He is not asking him to choose in his place between becoming a doctor or an engineer, but to put him back into the spirit of his baptism so that his decision is part of an unconditional willingness to follow Christ. And for this, the Holy Spirit must “rectify in him what is distorted, heal what is wounded, soften what is stifling, and warm what is cold.” But how can we receive this light from the Holy Spirit?

The three instances to turn to for all Christian decisions

Jesus has shown us three places of his bestowal, and therefore, three instances to turn to for any Christian decision.

  • The first is the conscience of his disciple, the ability to judge situations in the light of God: “You will receive the Spirit of Truth, which will bring you to the whole truth” (John 14:26). 
  • The second is the word of God, which “cannot be abolished” (John 10:35). 
  • The third is the Church, as Jesus established it on Peter and the Apostles “graced with power from above” (Acts 1:8).

Concretely, this means that, in order to make a decision before God, our departure point must be the fundamental intention of following Jesus in any event (a good retreat can be beneficial). Then, among the various reasonable hypotheses, we must look for the one that seems most consistent with what the Scripture tells us, to lead us to Christ. No doubt the Scripture does not speak directly about being a doctor or an engineer, but it does speak of the implications of eternal life involved in these two professions.

Finally, we must verify whether the decision is consistent with what the Church experiences and teaches today. Of course, it is not up to the bishop to decide whether we should be an engineer rather than a doctor, but we are nonetheless part of a Christian community, whose fundamental choices are to be integrated into our personal choices.

Let us think, for example, of the importance of the Church’s presence in the health professions, or the importance of its social doctrine in the life of a company. This is where a vocation is at the same time a mission, and if it is perceived in this triple reference to the Holy Spirit, we can be sure that He will be there with His “seven sacred gifts,” to enable me to experience it “for the glory of God and the salvation of the world.” 

Father Max Huot de Longchamp

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