THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: INTEGRATION
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:30-31).
Ruth Burrows, a contemporary spiritual writer argues in line with the Church Fathers that “God is not glorified by half-persons.” God is never a difficult Person and He cannot give us tasks that are beyond us. And in order for us to be enriched in life and beyond, He has endowed us with multifarious means to tap and equip ourselves. Since God operates from His abundance treasury and has empowered us with multiple graces, He therefore, does not act in half-measures and does not also expect us to act in half-measures. When we fail to understand God, His will and mode of operation, we can miss out in many ways, make a lot of mistakes and end up surviving instead of living.
Jesus says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). This means that the Holy Spirit does not operate in isolation. He works in collaboration with the other Persons of the Blessed Trinity, the Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sacred Scriptures and the human person. The Holy Spirit is the power of God but He does not force Himself on us. We need to create the space for His entrance.
However, for too long, we have been living a divided life. A life St. Paul declares, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me (Rom. 7:15-17). The foregoing life is what we see in many Christians. We see it playing out for instance when a legionary feels she does not need to cultivate a charismatic spirituality because she abhors the Catholic Charismatic renewal movement. Meanwhile the legionary promise is made thus: “Most Holy Spirit, I, (name of candidate).” On the other hand, many staunch members of the Catholic Charismatic renewal movement, do not pay attention to a true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary because Mary is too dull and the Holy Spirit is Power. I thought the Saints who are the practical doctrine of our faith have said through St. Louis-Marie de Montfort that “God the Holy Spirit, who does not produce any divine person, became fruitful through Mary whom he espoused.” Let’s be careful!
The shortcoming we need to identify quickly and seek for the help of the Holy Spirit is minimalism. Minimalism is a special feature of the modern creed that advocates for what is the least do it. The minimalist is always asking, “What is the least I can do?” It is about seeking to do minimally and get little rewards or results. Minimalism is a disease of the modern age, an enemy of excellence and the father of mediocrity. Unfortunately, this trend has invaded our Church and spiritual life. On the other hand, some of us are aware of the enormity of the tasks in the spiritual life but we procrastinate. Something is grossly lacking and what is the way out?
There is something our teachers did not teach us in schools but thanks be to God for the Church. What we need now in order to harness all that we have been learning outside the Church and in the Church is integration. Integration is the ability and art of blending our perceived different parts to a unified whole. It is about paying attention to the whole rather than disperse piecemeal or fragmentary aspects of life. Meanwhile, it is not a short term activity but a lifelong affair. A serious disciple of the Holy Spirit will always listen to his/her spirit’s promptings that is informed by the Holy Spirit to connect with other supernatural agents and agencies of the spiritual life: the Holy Mass, the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Word of God.
Integration has several models and the simplest could be the inner urge to integrate our human person’s fragmented aspects of Body, Soul and Spirit.
Finally, failure in integrating even the immediate needs of our human persons reflects also in our difficult in integrating our various spiritualities of the Holy Mass, the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Sacred Scriptures. Be blessed always.
- Must you belong to all pious societies in the Church before you can respect the various and essential gifts of God? What is your attitude towards other spiritualities, devotions and apostolates that you are not part of their groups?
- What effort are you making to respond to the prayer of St. Paul: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely (wholeness); and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thess. 5:23)?
Text for further inner work: Rom. 7:14-25 and Mark 12:30-31