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Father Muench Says...

Witnessing the Holy Spirit in our lives

June 14, 2017

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, I would like to spend some time with you considering the Holy Spirit as the Holy Spirit has profoundly influenced my life.  We have just celebrated the Pentecost and also recently had Confirmation here in the parish.

The Holy Spirit entered my life in Baptism and Confirmation.  I am certain the Holy Spirit reached out to me leading me to my vocation, to study to become a priest.

My long adventure of study and preparation for the priesthood through the year of seminary study were never easy.  The Holy Spirit brought into my life wonderful priests and professors – inspiring directors – and great classmates and friends to stand with me.  This was the kind of support that made a great deal of difference in my life.

The Holy Spirit brought God’s grace and love alive in my life as a support for my decision to accept ordination as a priest.  This was a decision to be ready to accept ministry as a priest for the Diocese of Ogdensburg.  I know only too well how I have relied on the power of the Holy Spirit over the years of my priesthood.  Also, I know well the good things I have been able to accomplish through the constant power of the Holy Spirit.

Every time I join with you and the people of my parish to celebrate Mass the Holy Spirit fills us all with peace, love and challenges us as we join in prayer.  We are challenged by the Spirit to be transformed in God’s love, to take that love to those who need us.

I must add one thing here.  I continue to be so saddened that too many who are participating at Mass do not realize or recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit with them.

Further, I am saddened that too many no longer join us at Mass anymore, no longer opening themselves to the power of the Holy Spirit.

I know no answers for this situation.  I do know from own experience how much I have found support and guidance from the Holy Spirit.  How I wish that all will discover and experience the Holy Spirit. 

Here, I would like to share with you something that St. Augustine wrote in describing a Christian. He said that a Christian is not someone who lives a life of following rules and regulations; rather a Christian is someone who lives by the constant promptings and directives of the Spirit of God who is within, around and upon us. 

Personally, I know that there have been innumerable times I have experienced the Holy Spirit supporting and helping me.  The Spirit has never failed me. Let me tell you, I know only too well that I never take any credit for something I do – a writing or a talk.  I know only too well that the Holy Spirit has been there for me.  I am eternally grateful to God’s love as expressed for me through the power of the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit continues to help me to do what I must, to help others in need, to lead me to say the right thing.

Today, I am anxious to convince you and all others that you all continue to experience the power of the Holy Spirit as an everyday part of your life.  I believe it is all about being honest and humble so that you realize how much you need God, so that you realize how much you need the Holy Spirit to guide you to make the right decisions.  Turn often to the guidance and leading love of the Holy Spirit.

One more thing in this regard: when Jesus came to the apostles after his Resurrection, he said to them, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me so I send you.”  Then Jesus calls down the Holy Spirit upon them, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

The Holy Spirit enters my life and yours as God’s forgiveness.  We are a blessed people. Our God loves us so much that Jesus came among us and died for us to demonstrate God’s love and forgiveness.  We are a forgiven people God never gives up on us. 

This is the involvement of the Holy Spirit in our lives every minute.

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