I’ve heard from some priests that those who are going to be moved this summer are going to be announcing their move at their parishes this weekend.I’m glad to ssy that neither Fr. Schaab nor I are moving this year, but we both know what it is like to get a phone call asking if we would be willing to go to a new assignment. I mention that this week because as the Easter season goes on, Jesus is preparing his apostles to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. We don’t know how or when it will come at times, but we need to be willing to listen to God’s word to us as He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. For priests, when we are moved is one of those ways that can be clearer than some have, but also more challenging as it entails where you work, where you live, and who you live with even. You had to make some decisions already to be getting this call. But this time of year many others have such challenges also.
Consider graduations. Whether it is from grade school, high school, or college, it marks a big change in your life. Where will you be going next? And what options do you have? Are we open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this decision or not? One way we can consider this is have we only been asking what we want to do or have we also been considering what we feel we should do. Sometimes they will be very much in line with each other, but other times what the Holy Spirit is asking might be more challenging and not as focused on personal goals and desires but also consider the good for others too. I remember one family I knew from a parish where one daughter was graduating from college and another from high school, the college graduate was going to be going on to graduate school and the high school graduate was going to be going to college, but both were delaying for a year and were going to work for the poor on another continent first. They were in a more favorable situation then some to be free to make this choice, but I know when I heard this I wondered if I would have been willing to do what they were doing if I was in their situation? And how would I make that decision?
While everyone isn’t being asked to do that same thing, it can be a good example for us to consider if we are even open to such a possibility if the Holy Spirit were asking us. For this example I would imagine that if a person had never been on some type of a weeklong mission trip, or even helped on a regular basis with a charity, or given up a Saturday to help a group that feeds the poor or shelters the homeless, if they had never done any of these I don’t think they would have even considered doing a year of service to others in a strange land. How have we listened to the Holy Spirit on smaller matters if we are going to be clear about big ones? We need to consider what affects our decisions and what influences we allow in. Just like I don’t think you should be applying to the Julliard School if you’ve never played a musical instrument or acted in a play, we should probably consider how the Holy Spirit may be guiding us in small decisions before we expect to hear Him clearly on the big ones.