Last weekend, we celebrated Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to the apostles. They were filled with the Holy Spirit as God’s spirit descended upon them.  The Solemnity of Pentecost is a time to consider our vocations as Catholics.

We too in these modern times experience this perfect gift, the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit through the sacraments. These gifts are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and the fear of the Lord. These gifts can spread the good news of the Gospel, bring glory to God, and guide others to encounter God.

Pentecost reminds us to ask the Holy Spirit for inspiration and guidance daily, not just once a year. Seeking the Holy Spirit’s help regularly, not only on special occasions, is important. Remember to pray for the Holy Spirit’s power, guidance, and inspiration every day, not just on Pentecost.

One important use of these gifts is to help us discern God’s call for us. There are several categories of vocation in the Catholic Church including marriage, single life, priesthood, (holy orders) and religious life. In each of these ways of life, God calls us to respond to his call, and our relationship with God, freely and generously.

How do we respond to God’s call? We need to be willing to set aside our own plans and priorities and make room for God to speak. Where do we make this room?

Perhaps on a retreat or spending time in silent reflection each day. Reflecting on the readings of Pentecost is another option, as is talking with a priest or spiritual director. Photo is of the Retreat Center at Daylesford Abbey

The Pentecost readings show us that there are different spiritual gifts, forms of service, and workings. These all come from the same Spirit, Lord, and God. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit, to love God and others.

The next steps begin with-

  • Be attentive. When God spoke to Samuel, he didn’t immediately recognize it was God.pentecost
  • Be humble. When Samuel finally understood that it was God calling him, he responded with humility and reverence. …
  • Be obedient, to the yearnings within us, to the insights we gather from God.
  • Be persistent, continuing to discern and explore different vocation options.
  • Pray for guidance and for strength to follow God’s promptings.

The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These are hallmarks of a happy, fulfilling life in service to and with others.

Norbertine priests at Daylesford Abbey have discovered and embraced this vocation of service. Reverend Carl Brachoss, O Praem. asked time and again  “where am I going and why am I staying here.”

father carl norbertine daylesford abbey “At a time when I needed guidance the most, I was not practicing my faith. I was journaling a lot and reading about spirituality in other religious traditions. Eventually, I reconnected with my faith through an experience of serving with other college students at Habitat for Humanity. There I found a connection between generous service, vibrant and participatory liturgy, and Christian community.

I could not believe I had found this all-in-one place. The seed for my religious life was planted. I had just turned 26.

I began to get to know other members of the Norbertine community at Daylesford Abbey. I began to understand the charism of St. Norbert as reflected in Daylesford’s mission focus on healing and reconciliation. I understood the community’s wish to use healing from division as a source of strength and focus for their ministry.

St. Norbert wanted to use the Eucharist to unite enemies, which is still important today. I have known this in my own family life, and I am grateful to be serving in a community of people who take that mission to heart.

fr john norbertine daylesford abbeyRev. John Novielli joined the Norbertine Order in 1960 and the Order quickly accepted him. The novitiate was in Paoli, PA, just 25 miles from Philadelphia where he grew up. However, the transition from city to suburb felt like a huge distance.

He says, “I found God in a special way there and met other young men who also wanted to become Norbertine.” I donned the white habit of Saint Norbert and was given the name of Brother John Joseph.

The gifts of the Spirit continue today:

Wisdom: The ability to see things from God’s perspective, exercise good judgment, and distinguish between right and wrong

Understanding: The ability to comprehend how to live as a follower of Christ, perceive, interpret, and discern meaning

Counsel, or Right Judgment, is a special ability to make quick and accurate decisions, especially in tough situations.

Fortitude, or Courage, is the ability to endure, overcome fear, and take risks as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Knowledge: Allows a person to understand the meaning and purpose God has for them

Piety: The perfection of the virtue of religion

∙Fear of the Lord: Puts God in the proper perspective and is akin to wonder or awe.

Our task is to discern our gifts and then put these gifts in service to God and others. Discernment is learning to think God’s thoughts after Him, practically and spiritually; it means having a sense of how things look in God’s eyes. We can get better at distinguishing between right and wrong by praying and reading the Bible.