We all like to be in control — especially mothers, I think. We even try to control the action of the Holy Spirit in our own lives and in the lives of our children because we don’t always see events through the eyes of faith. Of course, most of us would deny trying to box in the Almighty, because we at least realize how ridiculous this sounds.
Yet, because we really do not like to change, we do end up resisting even God. We like our comfort zone. We especially don’t like the rug ripped from under us, and that approach is usually how God must snag our attention.
The Holy Spirit is Not Stagnant
The Holy Spirit is not stagnant. He is not the God of the past, but God of the present: alive, a dynamic powerhouse seeking to heal, transform, and draw us ever closer to His heart.
When I researched the problem we all have submitting to God, I found an insightful homily by Pope Francis from May 29, 2013. He called our resistance to change
“being stubborn; this is called wanting to tame the Holy Spirit, this is called becoming fools and slow of heart.”
Throughout his pontificate, Pope Benedict praised the Second Vatican Council for its teachings on the interpretation of Scripture, religious freedom, and relations with non-Christian religions. Benedict lamented what he described as widespread distortions of the Council’s teachings, blaming the “council of the media” as being responsible for “many calamities, so many problems, so much misery.” Benedict explained further,
“Vatican II can be properly understood only in continuity with the church’s millennial traditions, not as a radical break with the past.”
We Resist the Holy Spirit
Preaching on St. Stephen’s words before his martyrdom, Pope Francis addressed those who resist, twist, or ignore the impetus of the Second Vatican Council, which he described as “a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit.” He applied St. Stephen’s words to those who resist change, “You stiff-necked people … you always resist the Holy Spirit.” Again on the road to Emmaus, it was Christ who lamented, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”
“The followers of Christ are slow to grasp and respond to the will of God, we fail to trust Christ completely, we do not wish to be moved by the Holy Spirit in new and surprising ways.”
We are all afraid of change, especially when it calls for submitting to the sanctifying action of the Holy Spirit in our own lives. Finally, I have an inkling of what the Holy Spirit is really up against when I peek at my own fear and rigidity.
Father, forgive us for trying to control You; grant us humble and contrite spirits so we may follow Your lead.