Filled With the Spirit: What Does It Mean?

The following is a story of a profound lesson on what it means to be "filled with the Spirit".

While attending a class which focused on the study of Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, a fellow student once posed this question to the professor, ‘what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?’ The professor, a Dominican Friar, paused briefly in contemplation and answered the student in one word, "FREEDOM".

He then went on to explain his answer this way:

He said that man proceeds through life in stages.

He is first directed by others. For example, babies, toddlers and the young need to be directed by others. Some people remain in this stage of being OTHER DIRECTED, while most outgrow this stage and move on to the next.

The 2nd stage is one in which man is SELF DIRECTED, or perhaps more accurately stated, believes himself to be in charge of his own destiny. It is this stage that will produce feelings of anxiety and restlessness.

The 3rd stage is one in which man is able to attain total FREEDOM. This stage is one in which man relies neither on himself nor others but rather places God in charge of his life, or more aptly stated, becomes GOD DIRECTED and FREE.

So we can ponder these three stages - OTHER DIRECTED, SELF DIRECTED, AND GOD DIRECTED. The latter requires a strong faith that God knows what is best for us, and that He alone is in charge! Do we trust in Him? It’s our choice!

How Can We Know God?

Be still! The Psalmist tells us in Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

St. Anselm tells us this at the very beginning of his work entitled, Proslogion, a discourse on the existence of God:

“Come on now little man, get away from your worldly occupations for a while, escape from your tumultuous thoughts. Lay aside your burdensome cares and put off your laborious exertions. Give yourself over to God for a little while, and rest for a while in Him. Enter into the cell of your mind, shut out everything except God and whatever helps you to seek Him once the door is shut. Speak now, my heart, and say to God, "I seek your face; your face, Lord, I seek." . . .read more @ http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/anselm.html

“For You hast formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.” These are the words of St. Augustine which he wrote in his work entitled, “Confessions” . . . read more @ http://www.leaderu.com/cyber/books/augconfessions/bk1.html

We are a restless and anxious people. Consider the words of 20th century theologian and bible scholar, Rudolf Bultmann, in his work, entitled, “Paul’s Demythologizing and Ours”.

Bultmann says this in referring to man’s anxious state, “An illustration of this may be seen in the way our attempts to secure visible security for ourselves brings us into collision with others; we can seek security for ourselves only at their expense. Thus on the one hand we get envy, anger, jealousy, and the like, and on the other compromise, bargaining, and adjustments of conflicting interests. This creates an all-pervasive atmosphere which controls all our judgments; we all pay homage to it and take it for granted. Thus man becomes the slave of anxiety (Rom 8:15). Everybody tries to hold fast to his own life and property because he has a secret feeling that it is all slipping away from him.”

The Universal Prayer

The following prayer is contained in a small booklet which was given to me by a wonderful Dominican Friar at the conclusion of receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation. He directed me to a prayer, entitled, "The Universal Prayer", listed on page 30 of the booklet, and suggested that it be incorporated into my daily prayers.

The prayer booklet is entitled, "The Pocket Prayer Book", edited by Rev. Victor Hoagland, C.P., published by Regina Press, New York, 1998 copyright - ISBN: 0-88271-059-1.

It is a prayer that I would like to share with as many as possible! Please feel free to pass it on.

THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship you as my first beginning, I long for you as my last end, I praise you as my constant helper, and call on you as my loving protector.
Guide me by your wisdom, correct me with your justice, comfort me with your mercy, protect me with your power.
I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.
I want to do what you ask of me: In the way you ask, For as long as you ask, because you ask it.
Lord, enlighten my understanding, Strengthen my will, Purify my heart, and make me holy.
Help me to repent of my past sins and to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses and to grow stronger as a Christian.
Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am: A pilgrim in this world, A Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those under my authority, my friends and my enemies.
Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, Greed by generosity, Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself and reach out toward others.
Make me prudent in planning, Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.
Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer, Temperate in food and drink, Diligent in my work, Firm in my good intentions.
Let my conscience be clear, My conduct without fault, My speech blameless, My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me, Keep your law, and Come at last to your salvation.
Teach me to realize that this world is passing, That my true future is the happiness of heaven, That life on earth is short, and the life to come eternal.
Help me to prepare for death with a proper fear of judgment, but a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death to the endless joy of heaven.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

attributed to Pope Clement XI
AKA Giovanni Francesco Albani
Born: 22-Jul-1649Birthplace: Urbino, ItalyDied: 19-Mar-1721Papacy: Roman Catholic Pope, 1700-21

Fr. Larry Richards

I stumbled upon Fr. Larry Richards a while ago while visiting a nearby parish, I noticed a display of CDs in the vestibule. One of the CDs was entitled, "The Mass Explained", by Fr. Larry Richards. I listened to his presentation and liked his sort of tough guy but gentle style. In fact I liked it so much I was determined to find other works by him. This quest took me to his website - http://www.thereasonforourhope.org/.

I ended up purchasing the video version of "The Mass Explained" along with one entitled, "Knowing God's Will".

I strongly urge everyone to visit this site and take a moment to register (it's free), so that you can gain access to some very edifying, informative, and well done short videos by Father Larry Richards. The videos are only a few minutes in length. After registering, please take a minute to watch some of the videos. You'll find them by clicking on the My Account tab and then going to the Archives tab and eventually clicking on Hope For This Week link. They're all good! My favorite so far is one entitled, "A Story About Love".

Let me know what you think.

Enjoy, and God Bless!

Learned of this website on EWTN

Check out this great site. It is a wealth of information for Catholics and Non-Catholics alike. The videos on the homepage and the Real People - Real Stories page are extremely well done.

The Mission: Catholics Come Home, Inc. is an independent non-profit Catholic apostolate that creates effective and compassionate media messages and broadcasts them nationally and internationally, in order to inspire, educate and evangelize inactive Catholics and others, and invite them to live a deeper faith in Jesus Christ, in accord with the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. (http://www.catholicscomehome.org/)

The Need: Here is the evidence that the need for Catholics Come Home is great:

In 2005, Catholics accounted for nearly 23% (64.8 million) of the U.S. population, yet according to the CARA Catholic Poll (CCP), only 33% of U.S. Catholics attend Mass on a weekly basis. That means that approximately 42.7 million U.S. Catholics are not even regular worshipers!

The number of Americans identifying themselves as non-religious/secular increased 110% from 1990 to 2000. It is now 13.2% of the total population.3 Comparing this statistic with the previous one, non-religious-secular individuals outnumber active, Mass attending Catholics by 58% (13.2% vs. 7.59%). Imagine the negative impact these individuals have on culture and public policy.

As many as 100,000 baptized Catholics in the U.S. drift away from Church each year.4
One-third to one-half of Catholic marriages now ends in divorce.4
72% of Catholics have not tried to win a convert to Christ.4

For every four Protestants, there is one convert. For Catholics, the numbers were 250 to one. That is about one convert for every 807 Catholics.4

If every Catholic brought one person into the Church each year, it would only take only three years to be a totally Catholic society.4

Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, reiterated the present state of the world's spirituality when he addressed a congress of ecclesial movements on March 9, 2006. He pointed out the obstacles that face the Church's evangelizing efforts.

An expanding secularization and an authentic dictatorship of relativism (Benedict XVI): This sad truth manifests itself in a suppression of any public religious expression and the belief that truth is relative only to the individual who wants to believe it. Immoral acts such as abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage are seen as legitimate choices and the rights of a free society. The new god of the secular world is the feeding of one's appetites.

In the vacuum left by the suppression of traditional Christian religion an invasion of religious sects and New Age attitudes and lifestyles has occurred. Pseudo religious phenomena such as magic and the occult have now come into vogue. New age philosophies propose that individuals are the center of their own universes and no rules apply to anyone.

Lack of religious formation: Children are being brought up in faithless households without Christian values or boundaries to their behaviors. The liberal press, television, and other media have become the new source for education and values, emphasizing money, power, and social position. While many parents are distracted pursuing their own goals, the TV has become their children's default educator.

3 World Christian Encylopedia's Comparative Study of Churches and Religions in the Modern World

4 Claveau, Victor The 7% Solution, A Guide to Evangelization at the Parish, Community or Diocesan Level ( http://www.catholicscomehome.org/ )