“.. The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
Today at Mass, the priest spoke about how, so often, our experience of the Holy Spirit in our day to day life seems “coincidental”. He described several instances from his own life, a couple of them quite humorous.
For example, say you’re having trouble understanding something about your faith; you “just happen” to pick up a “random” book or listen to a “random” podcast, and suddenly all becomes clear. Or you’re praying about a difficult decision; a friend calls you “out of the blue” and casually says something to you and the correct decision becomes instantly obvious. Or you’ve been asking God to confirm something you’ve already decided, but you’re worried about it; you hear a homily or sermon that affirms that decision, and instantly your turmoil evaporates.
You get the picture. I’m sure you’ve had lots of times like this. I certainly have. I once even got confirmation like that from the insert in a “random” Chinese fortune cookie I picked up at a restaurant. God can use everything and anything in his creation; He’s sovereign over every circumstance, he knows intimately every detail of our lives and knows exactly what we need.
Certainly, we should not rely overmuch on such serendipitous means to guide us most of the time. Our normal life’s duties and the regular practice of our faith should be the main ways for us to know how to live our lives. Regular persistent prayer, meditating on Scripture and (if you’re Catholic) frequenting the Sacraments ought to be what we rely upon as sources of guidance day to day.
However, it might be important to be attentive to the little things that happen around us in addition. We should not just dismiss them all as merely coincidental or random, even if they’re explainable by regular means. God is creative; he can and does communicate to his children in surprising ways. For the Holy Spirit is always desiring to communicate to us his Truth. God’s love and wisdom are always operating in the circumstances of our lives. And Jesus, the Good Shepherd, always desires for his “sheep” to hear his voice lest we wander off and get lost.
Our stance in this world ought to be one of expectant attentiveness – listening always for Jesus’ voice. We should continually be tuning in to the Spirit’s communications, even if they’re just whispers – or even, sometimes, “winks”.