Life in the Spirit can be, at the same time, empowering and confusing. More than once, people have told me that the Spirit told them to speak to me about a dream or insight they had, and while I listen carefully and respectfully, I am also cautious. The Spirit does not often speak in ways that can easily be articulated or quantified, and we must discern carefully what it is the Spirit is saying to us individually and as a church.
At the same time, there is little doubt that the Spirit is alive and works in our lives, and always has. The gospel of John assures us that we must be "born from above," or "born again," and that this new birth is necessary for all. The lives of the prophets and saints are testimony this rebirth. Elijah, frightened by the demands of his ministry, runs away only to have God find him, feed him and send him again to speak God's word. (1 Kgs 19)
In his Confessions, St Patrick writes about his own rebirth, but it was only after his life work proved so powerful that we treasured his words.
And it was there of course that one night in my sleep I heard a voice saying to me: ‘You do well to fast: soon you will depart for your home country.’ And again, a very short time later, there was a voice prophesying: ‘Behold, your ship is ready.’ And it was not close by, but, as it happened, two hundred miles away, where I had never been nor knew any person. And shortly thereafter I turned about and fled from the man with whom I had been for six years, and I came, by the power of God who directed my route to advantage (and I was afraid of nothing), until I reached that ship. (Confessions)Easter is a time to listen and test the demands the Spirit makes upon each of us.
Today, listen quietly to whatever God's Spirit might be saying to you.
What signs do you look for when testing the Spirit's word?