How faithful and loving is the Holy Spirit as He carefully directs our souls. I am convinced that in Heaven we will be astonished at all that He has done for us at every moment….the inspirations, the graces to resist temptation, the soothing comfort when we are troubled, the wisdom to solve difficulties that come our way.
And yet, He cares about other things too…like friends.
When I was a young mother, we moved to a new town. I didn’t know many people for quite some time, and I didn’t know anyone at all with whom I could share my Catholic faith. This was especially painful since I had just left a community of Catholic friends and a most beloved pastor in my former parish.
Thirsting to hear Jesus spoken about, I would often watch Protestant television shows. Our cable network didn’t carry EWTN at the time.
While reading a book one day, I came across a beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit. It was actually the Veni Sancte Spiritus. Suddenly I had an idea. Although I had not prayed much to the Holy Spirit previously, I would make a 30 day novena to Him, using the Veni Sancte Spiritus.
And so I did. I prayed this prayer each day for 30 days, with the intention that the Holy Spirit would send me a friend with whom I could share my Catholic faith.
When the 30 days were up, my phone rang. It was Paula, the neighbor who had moved next door a couple of months before. We had exchanged small talk over the fence a few times, but I really knew very little about her. So, I was quite surprised to hear her voice on the phone.
She had called to tell me that she was attending a Life in the Spirit seminar at her church. I had already attended one a couple of years before, and so I knew what she was talking about. But I was amazed that she had called out of the blue to tell me about it. (Holy Spirit, is that you?) Then she suggested that we attend an upcoming charismatic conference together.
Paula was one of those people who is a magnet for friends. Outgoing and absolutely hilarious, everyone knew and loved her. Before long, the Holy Spirit had sent me more friends than I could ever have wished for.
To make a long story short, Paula and I had many faith related adventures throughout the next dozen years. We even met with our cable company and got them to pick up the four hours of EWTN which were available at the time. Much to my surprise, I found myself being towed by Paula to the founding meeting in our diocese for a women’s prayer breakfast ministry. Throughout the six years I served, I made many more friends and was blessed to meet speakers from all over the country and to pray with some of God’s most devoted children.
It was shortly after I left this ministry that Paula went back to work. Her kids were then in high school. At the same time, I found myself drawn to a more contemplative, quiet way of life. I looked into third orders, and after much prayer began attending meetings with the Discalced Secular Carmelites. Eucharistic Adoration had also become a frequent and much loved part of my prayer life.
And so the Most Beloved Holy Spirit answered my novena in a wondrous way. He tossed me out of my comfort zone into a whirlwind of people and active ministry. (As they say, be careful what you pray for 😉 )
As He drew me back to my true preference for solitude, quiet prayer and adoration, He confirmed my beautiful vocation to the contemplative Order of Carmel and I made my First Promise in 1998.
But among that group of extraordinary women who became my friends for a time, I learned that with God’s Grace, I could do things I never dreamed possible. It was an exciting, energizing and delightful time in my life. I am forever grateful for those years.
My life these days is quiet and simple…focused more on our growing family which now includes grandchildren. My husband and I moved to a rural town several years ago, and I have lost touch with Paula and most of the women who were my friends twenty years ago.
But I am surrounded by the beauty of nature, and best of all, a perpetual Adoration chapel is only 15 minutes away. It is there that I regularly meet with my very Best Friend, the One I had been seeking all along.
I am thinking of beginning another 30 day novena to the Holy Spirit this Pentecost. And although I don’t expect tongues of fire, I have a feeling that the answer will come in, at the very least, a “little Pentecost.”
Come Holy Spirit, and knit my soul to Thee!