The forms of the Presence of mind

Thoughts about holiness of life
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1. When would we need the presence of mind in our everyday lives? The presence of mind is usually interpreted as the capacity of solving difficult situations. In this essay I interpret the presence of mind as the presence of the Holy Spirit. How many of those situations can we recall also from our own lives when one of our good deeds have not been realized because we recognized too late what we should have done? In the first part of my essay I describe a few examples of this. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay here.)

 

2. Forms of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Appearance of the Holy Spirit may happen in a million ways – exemplifying the infinity of God’s creativity. The Holy Spirit may pour out, may sweep everything away, may wash everything clear and may re-create everything. However, the silent everyday work of the Holy Spirit is much more frequent than the pouring out storm of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is as much disciplined as It cannot be controlled. The Holy Spirit lives in a permanent and intensive love relationship with Christ and the Father. It invites us into this love relationship, too. This love relationship has a quite important role in that what way the Holy Spirit is creating and sustaining the power of the believers’ community and the church. We can experience the help, comfort and power of the Holy Spirit in the most amazing and unexpected moments of our lives. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay here.)

 

3. The continuous presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives: the holiness of life. The continuous, strong and realized presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives brings the holiness of life. In this status, our deep and sustained love relationship with the Holy Trinity becomes so strong that our lives settle into their right directions so that this love relationship may remain intact. Pope Francis writes about this in his "Rejoice and Be Glad" exhortation: "Trust-filled prayer is a response of a heart open to encountering God face to face, where all is peaceful and the quiet voice of the Lord can be heard in the midst of silence. In that silence, we can discern, in the light of the Spirit, the paths of holiness to which the Lord is calling us." (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay here.)

 

 


 

 

Introduction. As I wrote in my first essay in September, I will go along a whole course of a spiritual retreat with my essays until summer. With the Christmas post we have arrived at the end of the first week of the four weeks’ long spiritual retreat: Christ may have been born within us, we may have been given places in the House of God and we may have realized that we were the Children of God. My four essays covering the second week of the spiritual retreat confronted us with our sins. Both our community sins and our own personal sins have been examined, we have thought about the conditions of our good choices, and we have answered the question what is the most important decision of our whole lives. Until the coming summer we will go along the second two weeks of the four weeks’ long spiritual retreat: praying throughout the whole earth life of Christ, our Lord.

-----------------we reached this point in our prayer--------------------------------------------------------

 

1. When would we need the presence of mind in our everyday lives?

 

The presence of mind is usually interpreted as the capacity of solving difficult situations. ("Composure is the status of spiritual strength when the person does not get embarrassed at surprising, unexpected and extraordinary occasions and he handles them appropriately. – Hungarian Explanatory Dictionary, 1862") It happened a couple of years ago at the Oscar Award Gala that a wrong piece of paper had been put into an envelope and under the pressure of the moment it was in vain that one of the award presenters realized that it could not be the right name. Due to the time pressure (and the other presenter’s urge) the wrong name was read out and the prize was given to the wrong person. Although almost every member of the committee that had awarded another person was sitting there in the hall, none of them took the responsibility to stand up when the wrong name was announced and tell that a fatal mistake had been made. The same paralysis had possessed everybody at a Christmas service when a Jesuit novice, who left the order later, brought a huge Halloween pumpkin and placed it in the manger instead of the baby Jesus. The choir stopped singing and the provost thought it was the Apocalypse...

 

„Man is not enlightened
when he has a great idea but when someone looks at him.”

(Henri de Lubac: Catholicism)

 

In this essay I interpret the presence of mind as the presence of the Holy Spirit. If we consider the presence of mind like this then it is by far sure that not only in extraordinary situations it will be obvious whether the center of our spirit is at its place or not. How many of those situations can we recall also from our own lives when one of our good deeds have not been realized because we recognized too late what we should have done? Sometimes I myself am such a "staircase thinker" (i.e. the most beautiful sentences come into my mind in the stairway after leaving that I should have said during the visit...). Let me tell two banal stories as examples. It was half past six, there was already no-one at our institute in the university. There were three hundred students waiting for me downstairs to start my opening lecture about networks. One last time I relieved myself. But: the bathroom door got stuck. I became trapped. I was banging the door in vain, there was nobody to hear me, and my mobile phone was left on my desk in my room. I was prying the door open and kicking it – all in vain. I got on my knees. I started to pray: "My Lord! I very much deserve to spend the whole night here because You certainly have a thousand good reasons why to do this to me. But please, have a look at those three hundred people who are waiting for me downstairs – in vain. Please, let me out if it is possible!" I grabbed the doorhandle: the stuck door opened wide... When I went down to the students I told them the story why I was late by a few minutes, and how I’d got stuck in the bathroom but unfortunately I was still too much frightened to not tell them that part that I’d got on my knees and prayed and the door opened only AFTER THAT... Or my story at the day before I wrote this essay: at a red lamp I gave five hundred Hungarian forints to the bagger due there (this is the smallest banknote in my country, worth of approx. 2 USD). He was very happy, since he usually only receives coins but not banknotes. "Sir! Why do I deserve this big present?" I said: "It is so bright and sunny today. Let you also have a beautiful day!" Ten minutes later I realized what the right answer was: "Sir, you deserve it because Christ has redeemed you, too!" At last let me tell a positive example, too, that happened to Péter Grendorf, the priest of my Lutheran church. The classroom which had been booked for the Bible class has been occupied just before his very eyes. He had to wait for the headmistress who could give him another room. At first he got upset just like everyone else does in such situations but at last when he could speak to the lady he received the Holy Spirit and he asked only this infinitely gently: "Where can we go, please, Madam?" And the lady said blissfully: "Wow, you Lutherans are so great people!" This might also be a way how to handle such situations...

 


 

2. Forms of the presence of the Holy Spirit

 

"the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace,
patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity,
mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity.
(Galatians 5:22-23)

 

Appearance of the Holy Spirit may happen in a million ways – exemplifying the infinity of God’s creativity. As Péter Mustó, the Hungarian Jesuit monk phrased it: "How the Holy Spirit operates is always a surprise. The Holy Spirit does not defend itself because it is impossible to hurt it. The Holy Spirit is the carrier of the integrity in us." It is the perfect purity of the Spirit what provides It with this sacredness and integrity. The Holy Spirit may pour out, may sweep everything away, may wash everything clear and may re-create everything, just like it happened at Pentecost and as it may happen to any of us in any moment. However, the silent everyday work of the Holy Spirit is much more frequent than the pouring out storm of the Holy Spirit. In most of the cases we do not even recognize the work of the Holy Spirit. „The activity of the Holy Spirit usually does not aim to provide us with beautiful ideas or cast a special light in us, moreover It does not want to give us anything at all. The Holy Spirit acts so that It attracts us towards the Father.” (Into Great Silence, thoughts of Carthusian monks) We can realize only after years or decades how many things the Holy Spirit has changed in us – by long-suffering, peacefully, nicely and quietly. The Holy Spirit is as much disciplined as It cannot be controlled.

 

"For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1Corinthians 2:10)
"the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings" (Romans 8:26)

 

As an inseparable part of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit lives in a permanent and intensive love relationship with Christ and the Father. It invites us into this love relationship, too. This love relationship has a quite important role in that what way the Holy Spirit is creating and sustaining the power of the believers’ community and the church. The firstfruits of the Holy Spirit bring inconceivably new qualities into the creation again and again. Kindly smiling, my spiritual advisor in the past summer, Márta Papanek said to me at the end of my thirty days’ long retreat: "Be alert, Peter, because the Holy Spirit likes working overtime". She was right... The Holy Spirit does not take a break. We can experience Its help, comfort and power in the most amazing and unexpected moments of our lives.

 


 

3. The continuous presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives: the holiness of life

 

"God is a spirit; and they that adore him,
must adore him in spirit and in truth."
(John 4:24)
"Now the Lord is a Spirit.
And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
(Corinthians 3:17)

 

The continuous, strong and realized presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives brings the holiness of life. In this status, our deep and sustained love relationship with the Holy Trinity becomes so strong that our lives settle into their right directions so that this love relationship may remain intact. Pope Francis writes about this in his "Rejoice and Be Glad" exhortation: "The Holy Spirit bestows holiness in abundance among God’s holy and faithful people (6) Holiness, then, is not about swooning in mystic rapture. As Saint John Paul II said: 'If we truly start out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he himself wished to be identified' (96) Trust-filled prayer is a response of a heart open to encountering God face to face, where all is peaceful and the quiet voice of the Lord can be heard in the midst of silence. In that silence, we can discern, in the light of the Spirit, the paths of holiness to which the Lord is calling us. Otherwise, any decisions we make may only be window-dressing that, rather than exalting the Gospel in our lives, will mask or submerge it. (149-150) Growth in holiness is a journey in community, side by side with others. (141) Each community is called to create a 'God-enlightened space in which to experience the hidden presence of the risen Lord' (142)" Amen.

 

 

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