There have been a few times in my life when I have felt like I was filled with the Holy Spirit. Friends of mine refer to it as instinct, or a gut feeling. Perhaps, as some of them believe, it is just a matter of semantics, or perhaps it is an unwillingness on their part to admit to a spiritual aspect guiding their lives and their decisions. I have felt this presence of the HS when I said yes (to myself) to start a conversation about ordained ministry. I felt it again upon my first visit the what would be my seminary home for three years and I felt the presence and guidance of the HS upon my first call to serve as a priest. Have all those positive responses on my part to the HS' presence and guidance led to a happy-clappy experience? Has it all been peace and joy and good times? No. Life is not like that, but I have never regretted those decisions.
Jesus leaves the desert today, fresh from his encounter with his Adversary, and we are told that he is filled with the power of the Spirit. He has the gumption to go to his home town and is, as with most attempts to go home again, rebuffed. This Spirit that filled him gave him the strength to face his nay-sayers and give them the opportunity to become part of this new thing that was developing with him at its center. Jesus' journey was not an easy one: not all happy-clappy, joy-filled and peaceful. Life is not like that.
Listening to the HS, being filled with the HS has more to do with being on the right path, doing the right thing, having the confidence to face what we must and do what is necessary, and accept the consequences of those decisions. Scary? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.