Life has been very busy of late. Soccer season has started and spring is debating whether or not to come to South Carolina. Life has also been full of anxiety and hardship.
Our son has been battling anxiety and it has gotten bad enough that we have had to apply for him to be taught at home. He will still be a student in the public school, just in their home bound program. Your thoughts and prayers for our son are greatly appreciated.
My wife and I continue to struggle with her mother’s death. It has been 5 months already, but the wound is still very fresh. It has been an emotional struggle as well as a large financial struggle too.
I can only imagine the way the apostles felt as they gathered in the upper room after Jesus’ death. The pain and frustration they felt. They believed that he was the Messiah. And they watched him die on the cross.
There must have been some doubts when Mary and others came to say that Jesus was risen. They had to feel that someone had stolen Jesus’ body. They must have wanted to believe that Jesus had risen. But it must have been difficult.
Then the unthinkable happened. Jesus appeared to them in a locked room! He came to tell them that it was going to be ok. He came to give them hope and guidance. And he came to tell them that he was sending them a guide to help them through life: a Comforter.
They remained in this Upper Room. Waiting and watching for the coming of this guide.
And then it happened. A rushing noise was heard and then tongues of fire appeared and landed on them. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit. This was the birth of the Church.
We continue to experience that coming of the Holy Spirit through the sacraments. Each sacrament changes us in a special way. It leaves an indelible mark on our souls. We can try to remove that mark, but nothing can wash it away.
We should open our hearts and minds to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Everyday the Holy Spirit urges us toward the path we should be walking on. Listening to these nudges can be a life or death matter. There have been times when my life was put in danger and by following the urges of the Holy Spirit I managed to survive.
Those same urges have led me to get involved in situations and to help people that I may have otherwise passed by. There have been situations where those urges have helped to save others from danger.
The Holy Spirit has also provided comfort in times of great distress. When I have been the lowest, when life seemed so dark, the Holy Spirit inspired someone close to me to call or reach out. The Holy Spirit saved my life when I was determined to end it. When I was about to die, someone was inspired to visit me and save me.
The Holy Spirit is the force that keeps the church walking on the path Christ left for us. Many churches have worked to suppress that urge and to stifle the moving of the Spirit. We must work to open up our hearts and the hearts of those in our churches to the leading of the Spirit.
Remember this quote from Saint Silouan the Athonite:
Many think that the saints are far from us. But they are far from those who distance themselves from them, and very close to those keep the commandments of Christ and have the grace of the Holy Spirit. In the heavens, all things are moved by the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is on earth too. He lives in our Church. He lives in the Mysteries. He is in the Holy Scriptures. He is in the souls of the faithful. The Holy Spirit unites all things, and therefore the saints are close to us. And when we pray to them, then the Holy Spirit hears our prayers, and our souls feel that they are praying for us. (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, XII.3
Until next edition, may God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit continue to bless you and lead you!
The Right Rev. Gregory Godsey, OSFoc is the Managing Editor of Convergent Streams. He is the Presiding Bishop of the Old Catholic Churches International and the Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Saint Maximilian Kolbe (AL, FL, GA, and SC). He is also the Director of the Office of Communications and Media Relations for the OCCI. He lives in North Augusta, South Carolina with his wife and son.