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Dependency on the Spirit

Theologians tell us that the main mission of Christ was to give us His Spirit. This means that the Spirit should be the focal point of our spiritual lives. The Spirit should be our mentor, our inner guide, the inner force in our lives, the power in our lives, the center of our personal energy. We have only to admit our powerlessness to live a fully human life, recognize that a Higher Power exists within us and turn our lives over to the Spirit.

When we are not sure what to do, we should pray to the Spirit for an intuition to enlighten us, relax for a while and wait for enlightenment. This spiritual exercise will help us to encounter the Spirit and develop the virtue of dependency on the Spirit.

Another spiritual exercise is the Jesuit practice of the Examen. It is not an examination of conscience. Its goal is to gain the enlightenment needed to cooperate with and respond to the presence of Christ’s Spirit in our lives. Here is how it works. Take 10 minutes each night to review the events of your day. Ask yourself: “Where was the Spirit in these events? How are these experiences leading me to God and others in love?” Pray for guidance.

What should our attitude be toward the Spirit? One of expectancy. If we expect the Spirit to work in our lives, the Spirit will. Expectancy is the mindset that prepares us to be open to the Spirit and to be aware of. our many encounters with the Spirit. The Spirit is alive and working in all the positive moments of our lives, in all our insights and understandings, in our feeling of strength and renewal, in all our caring and loving of others, in the beauty of nature, in the intimacy of prayer, in the sacraments. These are all Spirit moments. And in our bleakest moments, we are never alone.

Very simply, spirituality is a life lived with, in and through the Spirit. Present within us, the Spirit is always ready to burst into our consciousness, always ready to surprise us. The potential for Spirit empowerment is always present.

With this realization, we can encounter life more dramatically. We can ask ourselves: “Where will the Spirit burst out in my life? When will the Spirit surprise me today?” This mindset frees us. We are no longer event-dependent or circumstance-dependent for our experiences of joy or growth; we can take our lives into our own hands, aggressively seeking Spirit moments. When we are online and interactive with the Spirit, great and wonderful things can happen.

Thus far, we have considered the virtue of dependency on the Spirit as it affects our interior life. However, as Cursillistas we are called to be contemplatives in action. How does this virtue affect our life of evangelization?

The Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement states that there can be no evangelization without the cooperation of the Spirit. We are instruments in the hands of the Spirit. Cursillistas “should pray unceasingly to the Spirit and to submit themselves prudently to His guidance as the principal source of their plans, of their initiatives, and of their work in the field of evangelization.”

Why? Because it is the Spirit Who “acts through all evangelizers who allow themselves to be possessed and led by Him; who puts on their lips the words which of themselves they would never be able to find; who explains to the faithful the deep meaning of the teachings of Jesus and of His mystery; and who predisposes the minds of the hearers to be open and receptive to the Good News.” 

Holiness and Virtues

This program begins with a discussion of holiness in general and the Cursillo virtues that lead to holiness.The concept of holiness may embarrass us, leave us lukewarm or fire us up. It all depends on our perception of holiness. A positive perception converts us to become seekers of holiness. An ambivalent perception produces half-hearted quests. What is our perception of holiness? Is it really positive?

Like a diamond, holiness is many-faceted. No one description will define holiness. Each description will catch one facet of holiness. However, taking all the descriptions together will give us a deep insight into this very rich concept. So, let us try to describe holiness in various ways, and even give a working definition.

Holiness is process, not a state of perfection. It is our process of striving to live the ideal vision, the Christian Vision. It is our process of becoming contemplatives in action by living the total Cursillo tripod. It is our process of stretching ourselves to embrace Christ’s entire Mystical Body with all its wounded humanity. It is our process of entering more deeply and identifying with Christ’s life, death and resurrection—the ultimate process that leads us to become other Christs. It is our process of fulfilling our own heart wishes to love and to be loved, to share our life experiences and to grow.

Holiness is logic. We might reason: A basic flaw exists in our human nature that alienates us from ourselves, God, others and creation. If we want to live a fully human life, we must admit our powerlessness, realize that there is a Higher Power Who can help us overcome our human condition, and decide to turn our lives over to the Spirit’s empowerment. Perfectly logical!

Holiness is wholeness. One way to look at the basic flaw in our human nature is that we have holes in our psychic lives. Holiness can be looked upon as striving for our own unique wholeness. We are all wounded. We all need healing. Paradoxically, striving for holiness is the process of becoming more fully human. Holiness is the pursuit of the meaning of life and the fullness of life.

Holiness is commitment. Once we discover the presence and empowerment of Christ’s Spirit in our lives, commitment takes place. We conclude that such a Higher Power is worth knowing better, worth being very close to. We commit to living the interior life, a personal relationship with Christ’s Spirit.

Now here is a working definition of holiness that we can apply to our spiritual lives: holiness is the process of acquiring the virtues that we experienced deeply on our Weekend, through human effort and Spirit-empowerment. Those Cursillo virtues are God-centeredness, openness to community empowerment, dependence on the Spirit, compassion, courage to act and to lead, faith and discipline.

Two points about this definition. First, human effort is necessary. It demonstrates that we have the right intentions and prepares us to receive the Spirit’s empowerment. We have to exert human effort while we are mindful of our powerlessness—a tricky balancing act. Second, think of Cursillo’s seven virtues as spiritual muscles that we need to develop with spiritual exercises to live our Cursillo spirituality, to grow in holiness.