The Word Among Us

Easter 2012 Issue

Expert Advice

Wisdom from the Saints on Yielding to the Spirit

Expert Advice: Wisdom from the Saints on Yielding to the Spirit

In the previous article, we described four simple steps that will help us yield to the Spirit and sense his working in our lives. As you can probably guess, we didn’t come up with these steps on our own.

Men and women have been following them for centuries, testing them out, refi ning them, and sharing their experiences with later generations. So let’s listen in on their advice, and see if it can help us as well.

Quiet Your Heart.

In order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one’s soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence, but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in God. —St. Faustina Kowalska

Cast away your troublesome cares, put aside your wearisome distractions. Give yourself a little leisure to converse with God, and take your rest awhile in him. Enter into the secret chamber of your heart; leave everything outside but God . . . and when you have shut the door, then truly seek him. —St. Anselm

Prayer grows from an ear, mind, and tongue that have lived in silence with God, for in the silence of the heart God speaks. —Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Form Your Mind.

Anyone who thirsts for God eagerly studies and meditates on the inspired Word, knowing that there he is certain to find the one for whom he thirsts. —St. Bernard of Clairvaux

My God, how great you are, how wonderful in all your works! Teach me your will that I may begin and end all my actions for your greater glory. Speak to me, O my God, and let me know your will, for I am ready to fulfi ll every one of your commands. —St. John Neumann

God will speak to you by such inspirations, such interior lights, such manifestations of his goodness, such sweet touches in your heart, such tokens of forgiveness, such experience of peace, such hopes of heaven, such rejoicings within you, such sweetness of his grace, such loving and close embraces—in a word, by many voices of love—that he will be well understood by those whom he loves, and who seek for nothing but him alone. —St. Alphonsus Liguori

Write It Down.

Write down the vision; Make it plain upon tablets. . . . For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not dis­appoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. —The Prophet Habakkuk (2:2-3)

I shall meditate as I have been accus­tomed, in the little Italian church on Twelfth Street . . . and I shall rest happy in the presence of Christ on the altar, and then I shall come home and I shall write . . . and try to catch some of these things that happen to bring me nearer to God, to catch them and put them down on paper. —Dorothy Day

The good thoughts which God gives you in prayer are relics. Gather them carefully together in order to translate them into acts and you will gladden the heart of God. —St. Vincent de Paul

Keep It Fresh.

One way of recalling the mind easily during prayer and of keeping it more tranquil is not to let your mind race during the day, but to hold it close to the presence of God. Being in the habit of coming back to him from time to time, you will find it easy to remain peaceful during your prayer time, or at least to bring your mind back from distraction. —Brother Lawrence

I will abandon myself fully to the Holy Spirit, allowing myself to be led wher­ever and whenever the Spirit wants, accompanying the Spirit, for my part, with effective and strong resolutions and serious discernment. . . . The Holy Spirit descends upon us with great gentleness, never with a racket. —St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Aspire to God with short but frequent outpourings of the heart; admire his bounty; invoke his aid; cast yourself in spirit at the foot of the cross; adore his goodness; treat with him of your salvation; give him your whole soul a thousand times in the day. —St. Francis de Sales