The Holy Spirit Comes Softly

Carmelite Musings

By Sister Mary Scholastica, O.C.D

The solemnity of Pentecost has come and gone and the Easter season is now officially over. Ordinary time, here we come. However, the Holy Spirit should never be delegated to a day nor a season.

I’m not sure when I developed a friendship, a conscious connection with the Holy Spirit. It just happened. It’s hard to pinpoint. All of sudden it was there, but it wasn’t sudden. There’s a movie called Love Comes Softly and I’ve always liked the title. Love comes SOFTLY. The Holy Spirit came “softly” into my life.

It may seem a bit odd to call a Person of the Trinity a friend. He is God, after all. Yet, that’s the amazing thing about it all. God is God and we can never fully know and understand Him yet He is also very familiar to us. He’s literally by our side every moment of every day. If that’s not “familiar”, I don’t know what is!

He never forces Himself in. Our great consolation is that He looks for any opening. A wide-open door of course is lovely but if the door is locked, there are windows and other cracked openings that serve as possibilities of entrance. How blessed we are for this.

Back to the “softly” part…. His presence is almost tangible. It’s gentle. He guides us. He prompts us all the time. It’s a matter of being tuned in. We start to move with confidence because we know that He is faithful. And so the outcome whether “good” or “bad” in our eyes, is still good because it’s the outcome of His choosing.

The Acts of the Apostles speaks of the Holy Spirit preventing Paul and his companions from going into a territory when they were on mission to spread the Gospel. He also re-routed them. Then they knew to go to Macedonia because of the people who were waiting there for them. For some reason this year, these readings struck me in a deeper way. The Holy Spirit “prevented”, “blocked”. These words sound negative. We like to think of the Holy Spirit as opening things up, not blocking things. He does both. And thank God He does. To be this tuned in to the Holy Spirit and how He is moving, guiding, prompting. Wow.

Do you know what this kind of life leads to? The same life that everyone else experiences: hills and valleys, sufferings, blessings, challenges, joys. However, there is a big AND here. Someone who lives this receptive to the Holy Spirit is entering into the daily moments of life with a completely different lens. Experiences a freedom and joy that this life by itself cannot give. It’s a transformative life and by their very presence, impacts the lives of all those around them for the better. It’s an onward, upward, forward kind of life. How amazing is that?!

So as we continue to journey through ordinary time, remember to continuously invite the Holy Spirit in. He comes. Softly.