Be attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit

| Deacon Kevin Manthey | January 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

Mary statue_webWithin the last several weeks, I have listened to the testimonies of two cardinals regarding the conclave in which Pope Francis was elected. Both of these cardinals attested to the spirit of prayer that permeated the conclave, and that the Holy Spirit clearly indicated who they ought to choose. One of the cardinals also emphasized the importance of obeying the sign they were given — in this case, voting for Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

The events of the conclave reflect the events of this Sunday’s Gospel reading. Through the life of the prophet Simeon, St. Luke shows us there are three steps to being faithful to the promptings of the Holy Spirit: living in communion with the Spirit, hearing the Spirit, and acting on the promptings of the Spirit.

First, the prophet Simeon “was righteous and devout . . . and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” Simeon was living a life in communion with God.

Second, “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.” Simeon was attentive to God’s voice.

Third, “He came in the Spirit into the temple.” (Other translations read “inspired by the Spirit, he came into the temple.”) Simeon obeyed the Spirit, which moved him to enter the temple the day Mary and Joseph came to present Jesus to his Father. (The words of the prophet Malachi in this Sunday’s first reading were directed in a particular way to Simeon: “Suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek.”)

Life in the Spirit is an adventure that draws us out of ourselves and turns us toward God and others. It is not only for prophets and cardinals, but also for everyone who has received the gift of the Holy Spirit in baptism and confirmation. If we are living in communion with Jesus Christ, we are, necessarily, in communion with his Father and his Spirit. The best ways to foster this communion are through daily prayer (speaking heart-to-heart with the Lord) and the sacraments.

Something that can help us be attentive to the voice of the Spirit is meditating on the Scriptures while being open to letting the word transform, refine and purify us by its power. The more we are open to giving ourselves to our Lord and to our neighbor in daily thoughts, words and deeds, the more open we will be to answering God’s calls — whatever they might be.

Like the prophet Simeon and the cardinals of the conclave, we can be faithful to the Holy Spirit by living in communion with God, listening for his voice and acting on his words.

Deacon Manthey is in formation for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His home parish is St. Michael in Farmington, and his teaching parish is St. John Neumann in Eagan.


Sunday, Feb. 2
The Presentation of the Lord

  • Malachi 3:1-4
  • Hebrews 2:14-18
  • Luke 2:22-40


What does it mean to live in communion with God? What can we do in our lives to better hear God’s call for us?


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Category: Sunday Scriptures