Sometimes we are lost in a confusing array of possibilities, unable to comprehend or connect with any sense of meaning. We search for meaning in this life and wonder 'why?' we can never gain an answer powerful enough to satisfy us. We are dominated by depressing thoughts about the past, traumatized and overburden with the difficulties we have faced, the people we have lost, the anxieties of the situations we have been in and are perhaps still in. Understandably the stress this causes us drives us to seek comfort in addictive things, but these same things, comforting at first though they may seem, are also usually destructive. It has been said 'suffering cannot be justified but it can be converted'. It is true, suffering can be converted into meaning and as we gain an insight into the hidden possibilities that this same teaching has for us in our lives, we begin to realize that although we cannot avoid suffering, we can become full of love through the grace of God transmitted by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit brings different gifts to each person, and they produce fruits “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness of patience, kindness, gentleness, self control”, and through these we gain a deep sense of connection to the world around us, above us and inside us. The world outside can seem like a hopeless mess whenever we watch the news, but there is another world, a different channel we can tune into every moment of our lives:
'The Kingdom of Heaven is inside you' Jesus taught, and by 'kingdom' Our Lord meant The Holy Spirit. Receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit means having the life of The Holy Spirit inside you, strengthening you, changing you, enabling you to fulfill God's original purpose in your life by becoming an agent of his everlasting love. There are certain specific ways, according to saint Seraphim of Sarov, pictured below in a famous conversation with a local noble Nicholas Motovilov. While speaking with this extraordinary Russian saint, Nicholas witnessed Seraphim's whole person transfigured in blinding celestial light even as they spoke together in the forest, that we acquire the Holy Spirit: fasting, alms-giving, vigils, and prayer. Of these four possibilities Seraphim taught that prayer is the most powerful and the most easily available. It is a power that helps others as well as ourselves as the saint urges us: "Acquire a peaceful spirit, and thousands around you will be saved." If we learn how to pray, and how to connect with God who is Love, we become recipients of His grace and our lives become transformed from a meaningless chaos of anxiety and stress, into a purposeful progression of passionate loving kindness and inspired holy works. Imagine that! Such a future is awaiting all those who believe in and pray to the God of love; incarnate as Christ; Almighty as God the Father; moving among us as The Holy Spirit. What better response could there be to the trials of the past and the troubles of the present? Prayer is the future and it is available right now!
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