How well do we open ourselves up to the moving of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives? I know the Deacon and I have both seen those times when we have gone to the hospital to visit someone and we have bumped into another parishioner in the hallway. This other parishioner is shocked that we are there when they needed us, and the reason we were there was for something totally different. Yet God made the connection happen.
I would like to share with you a time the Holy Spirit changed my plans several times. It was the summer of 2004, when I did my CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) course in Colorado Springs. I was really stretched that summer. I had a weekend off from my chaplain program and wanted to go to the Royal Gorge Bridge tourist site. One of the advantages of going somewhere to do CPE was you got to see a part of the country you may never have seen before. The weekend I planned to go, it was rainy, I was not going to go to an outdoor tourist site when it was rainy (this was change #1). The next weekend I was planning to get an early start to get there, I got a call that they had to move me to another room, so I had to wait and talk to someone in the office (that was change #2). When I got to the Gorge, I never planned to stay 3 hours, yet I did. I went to the bottom of the Gorge, I crossed the bridge a couple of times (that 3 hours was change #3). Now after all of that, I was walking back to my car. The man walking about 5 feet in front of me, dropped dead.
He was all alone. It took about 15 minutes for first responders to get there. Sometime after that his family showed up as they were going to their car. I stepped into my role as Chaplain and was with the family. I went to the hospital praying the whole way that the Lord would help me be of some kind of help to this family. I was with them at the hospital for several hours as the widow came down from Denver. They asked me to come to the wake and funeral. The son even called me up at the funeral. They were not Catholic and were African American. These often can be boundaries for us, if you are not like me I do not reach out. Yet I felt a strong desire to do what I could. In reflection later, only then did I see if any one of those things that I saw as ‘delays’ or ‘changes to my plan’ did not happen, I would not have been there for that family.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have done ministry over at Coborn’s. Just bumping into someone from the parish who says, “I’ve been meaning to come and see you…” Can we be open to how the Holy Spirit may want to be moving in our lives? Or are we so set that things need to happen in our time or in our way?
The Holy Spirit can move in our lives in many different ways, are we willing and open to it? My mother used to talk about waking up in the middle of the night and having someone come to mind. She would say, “I just know God was calling for me to pray for that person right then.” She would admit that most of the time, she did not know why the person may have needed prayer, just that God was calling her to pray.
Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit
and they shall be created.
And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit,
did instruct the hearts of the faithful,
grant that by the same Holy Spirit
we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations,
Through Christ Our Lord.