How does God work in your life?
How is God at work in the world? As Christians we believe that God came to walk the earth 2000 years ago in Jesus Christ, but what about since?
The answer is someone we can easily forget about: the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is the mystery man of the Trinity, and yet He is the key to all that God does – in the Church, in the world, and in each of our lives.
Pope Francis made an audacious claim in his very first interview
as pope: "I am certain: God is in the life of every human person.
We may not realize this enough. God is in the life of every single human being. No matter what we believe or where we live, no matter what we've done, good or bad: God is present in all of our lives. And it is by the Holy Spirit that God is present with us.
So what difference does it make if we believe in God or not, if we do right or wrong, if we pray or don't?
If God is present in all of our lives, this does not mean that He is able to act as fully in each of us. Not because God likes some of us more than others, far from it! Rather because He loves us so much that He respects our freedom. God does not force Himself on us. At the same time, He will take any space we are willing to give Him.
If you give Him an inch, He'll take it!
What are we doing when we have faith, when we pray, when we love people, when we do good in the world and participate in the life of the Church? We are giving God space to come and act in us more and more. The more space we give Him, the more He can do!
Of course, God working in us is not just an immense personal benefit for us, it sends ripple effects of grace to our families, to our friends, to our workplaces and communities, throughout society, the Church, and the world.
And in all of these instances, the way by which God is present in us and active in us is the Holy Spirit. He is like universal WiFi making God present everywhere.
We can't see Him with our eyes, but there are ways of tuning in to His presence. If we are constantly on spiritual "airplane mode
", we aren't able to tap into the divine WiFi that is the Holy Spirit. Spoiler alert: He's much more powerful than 5G!
So how can we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit all around us?
1) First and foremost: Recognize that He's there.
When bread and wine are turned into the Body and Blood of Jesus, it's the Holy Spirit. When we pray and feel loved by God, it's the Holy Spirit. When family problems end in reconciliation and peace, it's the Holy Spirit. When we choose to hope instead of despairing, it's the Holy Spirit. When something we say or do touches someone deeply, it's the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in hearts of good will, whether they believe in Him or not! Even when we are conscious of Him, He is far more powerful than we can imagine!
But the more we become aware of His presence and action, the more we can see what He is doing in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
So if the Holy Spirit is at work in all this, what's our part?
2) Second: Let Him in. The more we let the Holy Spirit in, the more He can work in us. Invite Him to come live in you. Let Him into the tricky situations in your life.
Ask for His help. Ask Him to lead you, to guide your decisions in life, to bring peace to a tough situation, to put God's love in your heart so you can share it with others. Ask Him to go and comfort someone you know who's grieving. Ask Him to help someone you see who's in need. Ask the Holy Spirit to set you on fire to be a channel of God in the lives of other people and to help you see how they are channels of God for you.
Every day, all throughout the world, God is alive, present, and active. Divine WiFi is all around us, whether we know it or not. What can you do to access Him more and more and let Him work in you, sending ripple effects all across the globe?
Come Holy Spirit, open us to You.
Work in us by the power of Your Love!
Set our hearts ablaze.
Julian would be happy to hear from you, with any questions, insights, or suggestions you may have regarding this blog series. He can be reached at [email protected].
Julian Paparella is a theology student at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies in Rome. Born and raised in London, Ontario, he has worked in pastoral ministry in Montreal and Paris, especially with young people. Julian strives to communicate our faith in a way that resonates with everyday life, helping people to better experience God today. He is married to Marion.