The Holy Spirit uses saints, authors, and kin to teach Caitlan Rangel how God desires us to grow in holiness through His gift of wisdom.
For years the Holy Spirit has drawn me toward Saint Teresa of Calcutta (our family affectionately calls her Mama T). I think one of the reasons is the way she lived the Spirit’s gift of wisdom.
In 2014, Pope Francis did a series of general audiences on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He described the Holy Spirit’s gift of wisdom:
And wisdom is precisely this: it is the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God. It is simply this: it is to see the world, to see situations, circumstances, problems, everything through God’s eyes. This is wisdom. Sometimes we see things according to our liking or according to the condition of our heart, with love or with hate, with envy.... No, this is not God’s perspective. Wisdom is what the Holy Spirit works in us so as to enable us to see things with the eyes of God. This is the gift of wisdom (Pope Francis, General Audience, 04/09/14, 1).
The Spirit’s wisdom is a gift, so it cannot be taken or earned. But, God is good and draws near to us. He pours out his gifts upon and within us so that we might come close to him.
Let’s reflect together on three ways the Holy Spirit encourages us to live holy wisdom in our everyday lives.
In the same general audience, Pope Francis continued:
This [wisdom] comes from intimacy with God, from the intimate relationship we have with God, from the relationship children have with their Father. And when we have this relationship, the Holy Spirit endows us with the gift of wisdom. When we are in communion with the Lord, the Holy Spirit transfigures our heart and enables it to perceive all of his warmth and predilection (2).
We image who we spend time with. How much time do you sit, as daughter, with your Father? When you sit with him, do you trust his love for you? Do you allow his love to transform you (often in the smallest movements and over time)?
Sometimes our vision of our daily lives gets blurry. We become so entrenched in our to-do’s that we fail to see the Spirit at work.
Recently, I was in such a mode. I was on the phone, walking through the grocery store. No cart, trying to hold all the items in my arms — as if that ever works. The person on the phone with me listened as I talked out a situation I was discerning. She called me out of my fog when she said, “Caitlan! Pay attention to the signs of the Spirit!”
The Spirit is at work. Do we have the clarity of vision and faithful attentiveness to see?
Embrace the Day
We practice holy wisdom when we listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to embrace the day that God gives to us. To embrace the people, circumstances, sufferings, and joys of our lives as part of God’s plan.
C.S. Lewis wrote about this movement toward wisdom — toward seeing as God sees.
The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination (1943 letter from C.S. Lewis, included in Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C.S. Lewis).
I don’t know about you, but in my life, people are most often the “interruptions.” A child who needs help getting on her jacket, or is thirsty for a drink of water. My husband, who wants to talk or ask for my opinion on a matter. A friend who I haven’t spoken to for a while, giving me a call. The dishes, laundry, writing, or cleaning up crumbs do not matter more than these. It’s in these people, these situations, that God invites us to stretch, grow, and see with his eyes.
Back to Mama T
The Holy Spirit prompted Mother Teresa, and she listened. She knew that God gave her all those that came to her — the sick and dying, the child, the stranger, the friend. God gave them to her to love. To look upon with his eyes of love. She said,
"The cup of water you give to the poor, to the sick, the way you lift a dying man, the way you feed a baby, the way in which you teach an ignorant child, the way you give medicine to a leper…your attitude and manners toward them—all this is God’s love in the world today.”
God, you know our days are filled with sticky hands and snotty noses, cries for attention and boundary pushing, schoolwork and chores, work and play. Give us your holy wisdom to see you present in all of these things. There is nowhere we can go where you are not; you meet us where we are. Come, Holy Spirit.
About the Author
Caitlan Rangel relishes in the ordinary being the extraordinary, fresh air, morning coffee with a little cream, and stolen moments of quiet. Her greatest joy is being anywhere with her husband and three children, especially when mountains are involved. Caitlan writes to empower parents to be the primary educators of the faith with Pathways Formation Suite, and blogs at Pure in Heart.