Finding God in Yourself and Your Gifts

by Julianne McCullagh

Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence, and wonder and awe in your presence.

There was a bit of a debate in Molly’s prayer group. “Where is this outpouring of the Spirit that we just read about in this Scripture passage? Was it a one-shot thing and now we are on our own?” Nancy wanted to know.

“No,” said Theresa. “Jesus said he would be with us always, until the end of time. He promised to send us his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to guide us.”

Acknowledging Our Gifts

“Well, maybe the Spirit is more active than we realize,” said Sue. “For instance, four of us have kids who are being confirmed this spring—each of us has been confirmed. Right there in the Rite of Confirmation,we are promised the Holy Spirit will be our helper and guide. We’re also promised gifts such as courage, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, awe, right judgment, and reverence. I remember when I was confirmed, how I waited for this burst of energy, so I could go out and boldly proclaim my faith—kind of like the first disciples at Pentecost.” She sounded a little disappointed.

“Do you think you never got those promised gifts?” Sheila asked the whole group.“What about courage, Sue? Don’t you think it took courage to go against the school board when it threatened to cut the library funding?”

Nancy lit up.“I can’t think of many activities more reverent than Molly’s hosting this prayer group week after week.”

The others, in rapid fire, named manifestations of other gifts. “Sheila comes every week with knowledge from books or articles on Scripture.” “Annette unfailingly has a kind word of understanding and wisdom about daily concerns we bring up.” “I never knew anyone who could cut through the baloney on issue faster than Theresa. Sounds like ‘right judgment’ to me.”

“What about awe?” They were silent for a minute, until Grace patted her growing belly because her baby had just kicked. They looked at each other and laughed. Molly said, “All you have to do is open your eyes once in a while—and how can you help but be awed?”

“Do you think this kind of discussion may be how the Holy Spirit acts as our helper and guide?” Theresa asked as she put out a plate of blueberry muffins. “We’re not standing on a rooftop and proclaiming, but the Holy Spirit seems to be at work in what we have to do.” The gathering was filled with energy and laughter, evidence that the Holy Spirit is still pretty busy enkindling hearts.

 Julianne McCullagh

Julianne McCullagh

Julianne B. McCullagh is Director of Family Life Ministry at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Lewisville, Texas.

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