I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Ask the Holy Spirit to show how God works in our lives

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God is the invisible power behind every good thing that happens, which is supported by the readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the first reading, God explains to King Cyrus, a Gentile king, that God has anointed him, grasped his hand and subdued nations before him.

Remember that God chose the Persian King Cyrus as the leader to return the Israelites to the Promised Land and even to help them rebuild the temple. God does all of this in and through Cyrus, even though Cyrus doesn't know God.

God wants all to know He is the Lord "and there is no other, there is no God beside me. It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun people may know that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, there is no other."

Remember, God allowed the Israelites to be taken into captivity because they had fallen away from Him. Now God uses a Persian king to restore them to Jerusalem. Throughout all of this, God was observing, guiding and inspiring persons to accomplish His restoration of His people.

It's obvious that God would like for King Cyrus to realize his apparent success has nothing to do with his power as king, but everything to do with God, who has a plan for both King Cyrus and the returning Israelites.

In the second reading, St. Paul tells the Thessalonians of his gratitude for how God has been working in their hearts. Paul is edified by what God has done in His people: their works of faith and their labors of love. Paul wants them to know that God has brought about their transformation. He reminds them that God chose them and filled them with hope in Jesus Christ.

He says, "For our Gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction." When Paul remarks that the Gospel didn't come in word alone, that is an understatement. He was very much aware what it meant to preach the Gospel with power under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

When the Gospel is preached with power, people are touched by the Holy Spirit, who relates the Gospel to their daily lives so that their behaviors change. They develop a new confidence that they can and are changing inwardly in a way that makes them happy and filled with joy.

Perhaps, just like King Cyrus, you don't see how God is using you to build up His kingdom. Perhaps you think that you aren't making a significant contribution to His kingdom. If that's your feeling, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how He is using you to build up your family and your Church community. The more you understand what He is doing in you and what He wants to do through you, the happier and more energized you will become.

Pay attention to the movements of the Holy Spirit in your life. Several weeks ago, we had the parable of the owner of the vineyard going out several times a day looking for laborers. Perhaps He asks you several times a day, but you haven't paid attention. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you more alert to His inspirations.

God has many talented and gifted leaders, but they are asleep to the Holy Spirit. They don't even know how gifted they are.

Ask the Holy Spirit to douse you with His gifts and to show you how He can use you. Join one of the many renewal groups in your parish or in a neighboring parish. These groups include ACTS, Christ Renews His Parish, Cursillo, Life in the Spirit Seminar, a lectio divina group, or perhaps a Bible study group.

Again and again I have seen individuals discover their leadership gifts when the Holy Spirit opened their hearts and inundated them with inspiring and life-changing gifts. One individual, whom I will call "Joe," said to me, "I would like to help you Father, but I just don't have any gifts."

I said, "Joe, this Wednesday we are having leadership training in the Little Rock Scripture Program, and I would like you to come." He replied that he could never be a leader, and I replied that I didn't say he could, but just come. He came, and became an inspiring leader. The group was so lively we had to put them behind closed doors. Next, he made a Life in the Spirit Seminar, and again was stunned to discover how much he liked it and how much he loved helping others to discover their gifts. He became so lively and joyous that his family thought he flipped his lid. He didn't flip his lid. The Holy Spirit did for him.

These readings are all about how God wants to open our eyes to see what He is doing in our lives and what more he would like to do if only we would ask the Holy Spirit. You might want to seek the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the last 25 years more than 100 million Catholics have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. In 2008 Pope Benedict expressed the desire that every Catholic be baptized in the Holy Spirit. You will bring the Holy Spirit much joy. 

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