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Father Muench Says...

Be mindful of the workings of the Holy Spirit

May 30, 2018

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Let me begin with “a tip of my hat” to my editor and friend, Mary Lou Kilian, who is now moving into retirement. Thank you, Mary Lou, for your years of dedication to the North Country Catholic. Ever since I became a priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, I have recognized the importance of the North Country Catholic to the Diocese of Ogdensburg. Thank you, Mary Lou, for continuing that importance of the North Country Catholic. In addition, thank you for your demand for excellence.

At this time, I also want to give a sincere welcome to Darcy Fargo, who will be our new editor. Thank you for joining our efforts, Darcy. I look forward to working with you.

Today, I would like to share some of my thoughts as we continue our celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit in this time of Pentecost. During Pentecost weekend, Bishop Terry R. LaValley came to our parish to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on our young people. The Sacrament of Confirmation reminds us of the continuing action of the Holy Spirit in us all. May we all be inspired to live our lives actively involved in our Catholic Church and as good Christians in the Spirit of Jesus.

Each day, I believe, as we remain open to the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, we will truly make a difference in our world. This is not something we can schedule, rather the Holy Spirit presents us opportunities that are often surprises to bring God’s peace and love into our world.

I know that many evenings – as I look over the day’s activities – I wonder, “how did I ever think to do this or that today?” I am often surprised at some of the good things – sometimes little things, but good things – that are truly great that I did this day. I know only too well it is the Holy Spirit, the power of the Holy Spirit, that gave me the wisdom and the opportunity to bring peace or love into the life of someone else. Remember, bringing happiness to just one person makes the world a better place.

However, I know only too well that there are other times when I end the day and must honestly say to myself, “I should have…” There were too many times that I have not listened to the Holy Spirit, times when I have missed the opportunity to follow the Spirit’s guidance to help someone, even in a little way. “I should have” talked to someone, “I should have” visited someone, “I should have” spent time with that person, “I should have…” I’ve had so many opportunities to do good, and in so many of those opportunities, I have made a difference. Yet there were still so many times when I refused to listen to the Spirit.

I have told you this story before, yet here it is again: Years ago, a man came to visit me at the rectory on a Saturday morning. He was inquiring about becoming Catholic. As we talked, he explained to me that he was truly impressed by a co- worker who was a Catholic. He was so impressed by the way he lived his life, even in the little things. He told me that “I want what he has.” I knew the man he was talking about. I knew that if I had called up that fellow (I didn’t) – to tell him how he had impressed someone, he would be surprised. He probably would have told me that he was just an ordinary person, an ordinary Catholic, who was just trying to live his faith as well as he could. Obviously, he was someone who took his faith seriously. Can you imagine someone be so impressed with the way you lived your Catholic faith? I hope there are many.

The Holy Spirit has one other task: to convince us, each one of us, that as members of the Catholic Church, as members of the Body of Christ, we are important. God needs us. The Holy Spirit brings us the power to make us truly important in the Lord’s plan to transform our world and make our Church alive. Yes, we are an important part of Christ’s plan.

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