"Who was I to be able to hinder God?"

"As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?"
(Acts 11:15-18)

In today's readings, Peter comes to a profound realization: God's plan is bigger that what he was capable of imagining.

Are we open to that same insight?

One of the great dangers of living life as a 'religious' person is the possible of building your own spiritual prison cell; we can become so convinced of our own understanding--so certain that our will is already in union with the Divine Will--that we shut the Holy Spirit out of our life.

Of course, we cannot simply be blown by every false wind of innovation and personal insight. Yet, if we are not careful, our preconceived ideas can insulate us from the real movement of God's will in our lives.

How do we find balance? Clearly we constant discernment, of which there are two key elements:

First, discernment requires humility before God. If you imagine that you are a good Catholic or a good Christian, you are probably wrong. May the Lord save us from those often well-intentioned souls who read through their catechism and now think they are ascended masters. Those who think they have it all figured out are generally furthest from the truth.

We, as disciples, live constantly on the threshold of an infinite mystery...if you do not have a sense of awe and humility--even inadequacy--before that mystery then you have lost the path. Ask the Lord to help you find it again.

That brings us to the second vital element: prayer.

We need to spend time with God: in his word, in the liturgy, but also simply sitting with Him in quiet honesty. If we do that, we will begin to see the power if the Spirit manifest in our life in new ways...possibly as a direct and immediate response to our prayer, but, just as likely, as seeming 'coincidences' in our daily life.

Peter had vision. You may have a chance encounter, or hear someone speak a fortuitous word. In any case, you will have opened yourself up to follow the Lord where he may be leading you. As Christians, we don't believe in coincidence; we believe in providence.

So, pray that the Lord will open your eyes and your heart to where Divine Providence may be guiding you next!

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