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Guidance of the Holy Spirit

On the Guidance
of the
Holy Spirit

(The Spiritual Doctrine)


You could not love Jesus
if you did not possess the living source
of holy and pure love,
namely, the Holy Spirit.
Our divine Redeemer said,
‘He that believes in Me,
out of his belly
shall flow rivers of living water.
Now this He said of the Spirit
which they were to receive
who believed in Him.’

when God enkindles in you
the flames of divine love,
holy, pure, and without stain,
let yourself disappear
in the infinite Good,
and, like an infant,
sleep the sleep of faith and love
in the arms of your
heavenly Spouse.
—St. Paul of the Cross


When a soul has given itself up to the leading of the Holy Spirit, He raises it little by little, and directs it.  At the first it knows not where it is going; but gradually the interior light illuminates it, and enables it to behold all its own actions, and the guidance of God therein, so that it has scarcely anything else to do than to let God work in it and by it whatever He pleases; thus it makes wonderful progress in the ways of God, growing closer to Him in the spiritual life, and being of benefit to others as well.


The principal means by which we come
to this direction of the Holy Spirit are:


To obey faithfully God’s will so far as we know it, though much of it is hidden from us, for we are full of ignorance.  By making good use of the knowledge we do have of the will of God, He will give us more light and truth over time, along with the desire and inspiration to fulfill it.  Let us fulfill His will—God’s designs for our life—so far as He has made it known to us, and He will gradually manifest His providential plan more fully by the light and love of the Holy Spirit.

To renew often the good resolution of following the will of God in all things, and to strengthen this intention in our mind and heart.

To ask God to help us to do His will, by following the Holy Spirit in all things.

To watch with care the different movements of our heart and soul and mind.  By such attention we shall gradually come to perceive, by the light of the Holy Spirit, what is of God and what is not.  That which proceeds from God in the depths of a soul which is in a state of grace, is peaceable and calm.  That which comes from the devil is violent (causing agitation), and brings with it trouble and anxiety.


Other Important Considerations
Concerning the Guidance of the Holy Spirit:


Without (supernatural) faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6)  In order to please God and fulfill His will, we need faith in God and in the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit coming to us directly or through others who are guided by the Holy Spirit. 

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)  The guidance which we receive from the Holy Spirit, by means of His gifts, presupposes the faith and authority of the Church, acknowledges them as its rule, admits nothing which is contrary to them, and aims only at uniting us to Christ and His Mystical Body—the Catholic Church—by the exercise of faith and the other virtues.

Now, if we do not experience the guidance of the Holy Spirit, perhaps we have not done what we can to dispose ourselves for it.  If we are altogether exterior, scarcely ever entering into ourselves, and examining our conscience only very superficially, looking only to the outward man and the faults which are manifest in the eyes of the world, without seeking to discover their secret roots (the capital sins) and to become acquainted with our own predominant vices and sinful habits, without investigating the state of our soul and the movements of our heart, is it any wonder that we rarely, if ever, experience the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which is wholly interior.  How can we know anything of it?—we do not even know our own interior sins which come from our own thoughts and desires.  If we do not seek to remove the clutter and become more aware of the interior, how can we hear or receive the supernatural impressions, the inspired thoughts and desires, of the Holy Spirit which are quiet and gentle?

On the other hand, if we have done all that we can to dispose ourselves for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and still have little to no experience of it, we must be patient and persevere in the practice of prayer, virtue, and the sacraments, dying to ourselves and our sin, to our own ego and pride and self-will, until God gives us  the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit more fully.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may lift you up in due time (in the time of visitation).” (1 Peter 5:6)  Also, we would do well, when providence provides, to lay bare our soul to another Christian, a spiritual and interior person, who can enlighten us about the things of God and the way to heaven, which is to say, the Way of Christ.  A soul which acts thus, can hardly fail to receive, sooner or later, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, either directly or through another who is led by the Spirit of God.


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