What does it mean, what does it look like, to let the Holy Spirit into your life?
Whether you are preparing for Confirmation or you’ve already received this awesome sacrament, the Holy Spirit wants to live in your heart. The Holy Spirit wants to guide your life, protect you from bad things, heal you of sin and other problems, draw you closer and closer to God, and bring His love to others through you. He wants to give you insights and solutions to problems. And He intercedes for you in sighs that we can’t understand (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit wants to live in and through you!
But, again, what does that look like?
The characters in Fire Starters, a West Brothers Confirmation story, ask this same question. The two main characters have already been confirmed and they want to help three others prepare for the sacrament, but they come to realize they don’t really know this sacrament as well as they should.
Having a great love for the Holy Spirit, I thoroughly enjoyed the research for this story. I listened to podcasts, read applicable sections of Catholic catechisms, discovered encyclicals on the Holy Spirit, looked up the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, and more. With every story I write, I immerse myself in the Church teaching related to the story themes so that I bring that teaching to life through the story.
When you read this story, you will see what it looks like to reject the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But God never gives up on us, so He doesn’t give up on the characters in this story either. As the story progresses, you will begin to see what it looks like to let the Holy Spirit into your life and to live a spirit-filled life. You’ll see it in the characters’ words and actions, and you’ll come to understand it through their thoughts and dialog as they struggle to understand just what it means.
At Baptism, you became a child of God by water and the Spirit (John 3:5). You also received the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit! In Confirmation, the Holy Spirit increased these graces within you. While these gifts have the power to sanctify and transform you, they aren’t meant just for you. The gifts of God are meant to be shared.
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,”
Jesus told his disciples before He ascended into heaven,
“and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria
and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
You are called, just as the disciples were, to live by the Holy Spirit and to fulfill a specific mission from God. As we draw near to the celebration of Easter and then of Pentecost, I invite you to use faith-filled fiction to develop your understanding of the Holy Spirit, the gifts He longs to give you, and what it looks like to live according to His inspirations. Read Fire Starters and other Catholic stories looking specifically for the action of the Holy Spirit in and through characters.
Some things to look for:
1. In what way does the character display virtue?
2. Does the character turn to God, surrendering to His holy will—especially when it’s most difficult?
3. Can you identify any of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in a character? The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, modesty, self-control, and chastity.
Then I encourage you to ask yourself a few questions:
1. Have I been seeking God’s will in my life?
2. Have I pushed God out of my life through sin?
3. Do I think about the Holy Spirit or pray to Him?
4. What role might God be calling me to?
5. What is the first step I need to take?
Just as you receive Jesus often in Holy Communion, you can invite the Holy Spirit into your life every day through prayer from the heart. Ask for the Holy Spirit and ask often!
"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13).
The Holy Spirit wants to give you amazing gifts: Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. And when you receive these gifts, your life will abound in His fruits because what you receive is not just for yourself. It’s for the world. Our world needs these gifts, and you are called to bring them!
Invite the Holy Spirit into your life daily and be transformed!
Prayer of St. Augustine
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.