Guide to Goodness

Our Participation in the Eternal Exchange of Love

Andrei Rublev’s Icon of the Holy Trinity

We can be easily led astray these days unless we are grounded in truth.  With so many voices shouting for our attention, we can start ignoring the quiet whisper of the Divine within.  We know silence and prayer are crucial to foster this connection allowing us to stay in tune with our mission, use our gifts well and bear goodness. The Spirit is always here to guide us. It our our job to leverage the seven gifts we have been given so we can participate in the external exchange of love.

Today, we celebrate the Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, the central mystery of Christian faith and life – the mystery of God Himself. God has revealed his innermost secret: He is an eternal exchange of love, between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  And He has destined us to share in this exchange of love. We celebrate that God is love (1 John 4:8) and we are made for this love. We belong to God and have an eternal home.

This mystery reveals to us the truth about man and the fact that we are made in God’s image and likeness.  Contemplating the Trinity helps us realize the full truth about ourselves. Meditating on our profession of true faith is the surest guarantee we live a life of meaningful purpose.

In Are You Living Dead or Alive, we learned that as confirmed believers, we are given a super-power within us, the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is identified as the advocate and the spirit of truth (John 15-16).  The Spirit calls us on our unique path of holiness and is our helper and guide.

The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord.

Focus on His truth Isaiah 11:2

Accepting the gift of the Holy Spirit allows us to have a relationship with God and Christ, tethering us to them.  Our acceptance allows us to live out our uniqueness and our mission to become holy, loving God truly and our neighbor mercifully and being a part of the eternal exchange of love. 

A ship has sails and rudder; the wind blows into the sail, getting the ship to proceed as it should, so it advances by its sails and takes its general direction. Yet this direction could be too vague and could lead the ship astray at times. So, there is the rudder, to guide it exactly in its due course without straying in any way. Your soul is the ship, your heart represents the sail, the Holy Spirit is the wind; He blows into your will and your soul goes forward, proceeding towards the goal God proposes for it. Your mind is the rudder to prevent you, in the strength and vivacity of the movement given to your heart, from departing from the straight line determined by the divine goodness.

The Venerable Francis Mary Paul Libermann, C.S.Sp., founder of The Holy Spirit Fathers (Spiritans), beautifully describes the relationship of the human heart, soul, and mind in concert with the Holy Spirit in action.

There is unity and variety in the Spirit. We can celebrate in our diversity, but be unified under our faith to participate in God’s love.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.  To everyone the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. We are all one body but are made up of many parts. 1 Corinthians 12

We use the term “gifts of the Holy Spirit” because the Holy Spirit graciously bestows them to us, and they are present to us all in a state of grace.  These gifts help us attain perfection virtues, both the theological virtues (faith, hope, charity) and the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance). If we are to live our mission, which is to participate in the eternal exchange of love, we need to embrace the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in our life.

  • The Gift of Fear fills us with awe or wonder and to be aware of the glory and majesty of God.
  • The Gift of Piety begets in our hearts with reverence to have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church.
  • The Gift of Fortitude strengthens us and provides the courage to overcome fear and to be willing to take risks as a follower of Christ.
  • The Gift of Knowledge enables us to be able to learn more and more about God.
  • The Gift of Understanding helps us to comprehend how we need to live as followers of Christ.
  • The Gift of Counsel endows with right judgment to know the difference between right and wrong and to choose what is right.
  • The Gift of Wisdom embodies us to love spiritual things more than material ones.

These gifts help a person to share in the very life and nature of God, now in this life and eternal life. I invite you to take some time this week contemplating the gifts you have been given and actively grow your relationship with the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit only comes where invited, and we need to cultivate it.  Cardinal Mercier provides us a way to submit to the Holy Spirit and enjoy the revelation of the secret of sanctity and happiness:

Every day, for five minutes, control your ears imagination and close your eyes to the things of sense and your ears to the noises of the world, to enter yourself. Then, in the sanctity of your baptized soul (a temple of the Holy Spirit) speak to that Divine Spirit, saying:

Oh, Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul. I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what to do… Direct my every choice. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your will.

Reading the prayer out loud has been a powerful practice for me and I hope you give it a try.  Let us pray constantly that the Holy Spirit will set our hearts on fire with the love of the Holy Trinity so that each of us can fully live the Gospel message and carry on the mission of the church in accordance with our vocation.

Over the next few weeks, Smitten with Goodness will dive into each gift so we can open these gifts that we have been given to us and fully accept them into our lives.  When we do, we will live alive and participate in the eternal exchange of love and bringing goodness to our world. 

Smitten with Eternal Love and Gifts of Goodness,

Cynthia

6 thoughts on “Our Participation in the Eternal Exchange of Love”

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