Spiritual Training

The power of the Holy Spirit can’t be denied to those with an open heart for the unexpected. If we welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives we can do wonderful things. How do we go about doing that?

At the basic level, there is prayer; through it, we build the relationship with the Trinity. Then, there is spiritual training; this would be equivalent to professional development.

In the secular world, people who aspire to be experts in their field crave professional development because it: a) increases their knowledge b) sets them apart from others, c) allows them to speak with authority, d) people trust their expertise and e) allows them to discern the truth. Christians should have the same craving and expectations for spiritual training, particularly when this training gives us the tool to evangelize; to promote the Word of God.

Many of us Catholics hesitate to evangelize or have discussions about faith because our spiritual training is lacking. Worse, we may misinform or misrepresent the Church’s teachings because of our incomplete knowledge and understanding.

Lack of spiritual training can also leads to us to feel intimidated, confused or persuaded by those with more apparent knowledge or expertise even if they themselves are misinformed.

The good news for us is that there are many ways and opportunities to participate in spiritual training. Besides prayer, we should spend time studying the bible and reading faith-based materials. We should attend mass weekly and participate in the sacraments of Communion and Reconciliation. In addition, we should regularly attend religious conferences or retreats.

Four years ago my Catholic faith was in the dumps. I was miserable and uncommitted to my faith. A weekend retreat, however, changed all that. On that Christ Renews His Parish weekend, I felt the Holy Spirit descend upon me and it inspired me to become an expert on my faith and to be a servant.

This past weekend, I have the opportunity to attend the Fullness of Truth Conference held in Buda, Texas. Over 800 people came together to pray and listen to the wisdom of three wonderful speakers: Dr. Michael Barber, Dr. John Bergsma, and Dr. Scott Hahn. They inspired us, gave us knowledge and tools to increase our expertise and evangelization skills.

Each of us is responsible for building up our Church and our faith. God knows that our humanity makes those tasks difficult. Therefore, God sent his son to die for us and left the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, to help us and guide us.

Invest in your faith. Be a life-long learner. Become an expert. Share your faith.

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.

Tragedy and Death

“Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12: 8-9a, 10

This week’s Boston Marathon attack and last night’s blast at a Texas fertilizer plant are public reminders of how fragile our existence in this life really is. Death is ever present; it always has been; it will always be. During these tragic moments some may ask “why would God let this happened?”

We live in a world where evil does exist. There are bad people in this world and tragic events are part of life. Evil and death have been among us since the fall of Adam and Eve. God does not create death; the Bible tells us so “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world.” ~ Wisdom 1: 13; 2: 23-24

These tragic events are also reminders of the mercy and love God has for us. Some may ask “where was God during these events?” He was in all the people whose first action was to kneel to pray for the souls of those who lost their lives; he was in the first responders’ skillful actions to save lives; he was in all the people who provided aid, comfort, condolence, and empathy for those suffering pain. Moreover, he was in His son Jesus Christ whom he sent to die for us on a cross so that we may be freed from death and evil and enjoy everlasting life.

My heart and prayers go to the victims and their families of these tragic events.

“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” ~ Romans 12: 9-10, 12

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.