The Holy Spirit is at Work

Nov 14, 2016

The Holy Spirit is at work – we just must be willing to listen…

I recently read an article that has weighed heavy in my heart and as such felt it important to share my experience with you.  The article was in the Compass and was titled, “Jesus and the art of difficult conversations”.  It was written by my friend Julianne Stanz, the director of the diocesan Department of New Evangelization.  In the article, Julianne shares the scenario that many of us have probably encountered:  You are at a family gathering or meal (Thanksgiving, Christmas?) and someone you care about makes an unkind remark about faith or the Catholic Church in general, something you care deeply about.   Julianne walks the reader through handling situation by using Jesus as our model.  Easy, right?  Not at all!  I am the oldest of five children all raised lovingly in the Church.  I am now the only practicing Catholic.  In fact, I am probably the only Christian in the bunch.  That’s hard, it hurts, but keeps my dad and I in prayer intentions.

With that being said, it probably comes as no surprise that I struggle with conflict especially when it is about something that means the world to me.  I love our Lord, and love Holy Catholic Church.  Picking on them is like picking on one of my children.  I wrestled with Julianne’s article and her suggestions for private dialogue with the person who just “picked on my best friend”.  This would be more than hard…  I don’t think I could do it, it would be far easier to just avoid talking to that person about faith… in fact, maybe we shouldn’t talk about faith as a family at all?  NO!  This matters so ….I read the article a second time and prayed on it a few more times and then lo and behold the Holy Spirit spoke to me.  In my case the Holy Spirit sounded a lot like Julianne with her sweet Irish brogue. 

This is what I heard: “Buck up buttercup!” (a phrase I’ve heard more than once come out of Julianne’s mouth), then the Holy Spirit went on… “Do you think our Lord had it easy?  Do you think he “avoided” tough situations?  NO.  What about Our Lady?  Do you think she had it easy?  Do you think she wandering around in her blue veil looking lovely holding flowers in her arms like Miss America?  No!  They suffered.  They went out of their comfort zone and you need to too!” 

You may ask, how do you know it was the Holy Spirit and not in fact what you think Julianne would say to you? 

You don’t – but that’s the point…

The Holy Spirit works through all of us in ways that we don’t understand. 

Long story short – be open to those voices – they are there for a reason….


Mary Parnell Carter

Director of Religious Education