Discerning God's Will - The Guidance of the Spirit


Perhaps my final word on knowing the “will of the Lord” before I leave this topic for another is what follows.

With the celebration of the Day of Pentecost upcoming this Sunday it is appropriate to mention the Holy Spirit’s guidance in helping us to know the will of God. You will remember that it was on the Jewish Day of Pentecost, 50 days after the Lord’s resurrection, that the promised sending of the Holy Spirit came upon the believers. This same gift of the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence was then promised to all those who upon hearing the Gospel repent and are baptized!

Although in rare circumstances the Holy Spirit made personal, direct, and specific instructions for the Apostles in Scripture, this is not the manner in which we have been instructed in the Faith to seek the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives.

The primary work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to bear witness to the incarnate Christ, who lived, suffered, died, rose, and ascended into heaven for us. It is this Third Person of the Holy Trinity who calls us through the Gospel so that we might have faith in Christ. It is he who gathers us into the community of believers – the Church. It is he who enlightens our minds and hearts so that we see Christ for who he is and what he has done for us. It is he who along with the Word that makes the Sacraments effective. And it is the Holy Spirit who through the Word makes us holy.

When we have a choice to make, Christians are free to use their God-given wisdom as informed by the Bible to make our choices. Often there will be more than one choice that is pleasing to God – that is, that will honor God and serve our neighbor and family. Look for the fruit of the Spirit in your lives which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Since You Asked…

What is the significance of the Day of Pentecost?

A principal Festival, The Day of Pentecost (Jewish harvest festival) was the occasion when the promised gift of the Holy Spirit was sent and poured out on the expectant church. It accordingly marks the culmination of the Easter Season. It occurs 50 days after Easter Sunday. Jesus had promised his followers that when he departed from them (the ascension, not the crucifixion) that he would not leave them as orphans. In fact, until his return at the end of the age, it would be to their advantage that he was departing, for then he would send the Holy Spirit as one called alongside them to comfort them, teach them, guide them, and empower them, even as the Holy Spirit continued to sanctify them (to make holy).