by Father John Catoir, JCD
We celebrate the birthday of the Church on Pentecost Sunday 50 days after Easter. The Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles, and transformed them from the frightened men they had become after the crucifixion, into the courageous Apostles of Jesus Christ, who fearlessly faced martyrdom.
At every Confirmation ceremony, the bishop invokes the same Holy Spirit with these words: “All powerful Father, send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them wisdom, strength and understanding…”
If you want to benefit fully from these supernatural gifts, you must understand the importance of will training. Grace builds on nature. There is a door between you and the Holy Spirit, but you must open it. To deepen your trust and eliminate all doubt, you must will it.
Doubt is the enemy of trust. It will cloud your mind and undermine your best intentions. Doubt says, “This is too good to be true.” Immediately reject all doubts because they will severely weaken your faith. A strong faith in the promises of Christ demands the full consent of your will.
The will has only one function: to say “Yes” or “No.” Saying “Maybe” is not an option. When you receive supernatural graces, you go beyond the natural order. When the Holy Spirit comes into your soul, He is giving you something that is objective and real; namely, His strength, His love, His joy and His peace.
When Jesus says, “Be not afraid, I have come to save you, not to condemn you,” a holy person listens to His words, and accepts them as the absolute truth. Jesus is expressing His love. He is telling you that your peace of mind is very important to Him. Jesus means it when He says, “Be not afraid.” Turn off fear and needless worry. Align yourself with God’s will and accept His love with a grateful heart.
Jesus instituted all the Sacraments of the Church to help you through life. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, He gives you the chance to rid yourself of guilt. Normally, if you are suffering from guilt and go to confession, you will feel immediate relief from the priest’s absolution. However, some people linger in guilt, and need special help.
The key is in the will to banish all doubt about God’s infinite mercy. God wants your joy to be full. He wants you to make a fresh start. There is no sin too evil for His infinite mercy. After you receive absolution, you must decide that you are forgiven. Feelings to the contrary are not facts.
Take responsibility for your own happiness. Train your will to say, “Yes Lord, I believe, I trust your mercy with my whole heart.” Even if the guilt comes back from time to time, reject it in all its forms. Go against your feelings. Make an act of faith. Thank the Lord again and again for His Mercy.
A rich and joyful life depends on how well you train your will to control your thoughts by rejecting all doubt. Decide to protect your present moment from needless worry, and always put your faith above your feelings.