The great challenge every Christian has to face is that of submitting one’s life to the rule of the Spirit of God. The other choice is to live according to the passions of the flesh. St Paul is a man who understands how easy it is to be good-willed and yet wrong in one’s understanding of a particular matter. We first meet him in the Acts of the Apostles when he is getting permission to arrest and persecute the young Early Christian Church. He thought he was doing God’s will in this! However, he eventually discovers just how wrong he was and subsequently becomes a Christian and one of the greatest evangelists the Church has ever seen.

Paul’s early life was guided by his pride. He thought he knew all there was to know about the things of God and he acted accordingly, but he had utterly failed to allow himself to be guided by the Spirit of God in this judgment. The same sort of process can happen to us if we do not consciously submit ourselves to the guiding wisdom of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. This requires great humility and the willingness to seek out the wisdom of the Spirit of God through prayer and the reading of the Scriptures. Furthermore we have the Teachings of the Church and the lived witness of the lives of the saints to guide us as well. As Catholics we should be availing of all of these sources of help for guidance in our lives. Only when we do this will we be able to fully discern god’s will and receive the grace to be able to live it.

In the Gospels we constantly see Jesus returning to prayer, seeking his Father’s wisdom concerning the next step in his ministry. We need to learn form the humility of Jesus and recognize that if it is good enough for the Son of God to submit his life to his Father, then it ought to be good enough for us as well! There is protection in uniting our minds and hearts with the will of God that we will not find in our own wills or strength. This is precisely why the Scriptures always applaud as wise those who place their lives under the grace of God in submission to his will.

Do I tend to live and act as an independent spirit or am I willing to live according to his will – in submission to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Lord Jesus, open my heart to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and grant me the grace of humility in ever-growing abundance so that I will submit my life to his power and grace.