Come Holy Spirit! In anticipation of Pentecost

This is my column for this month’s Catholic Free Press. May the Holy Spirit give you strength and consolation as he fills you with God’s love and leads you to new life.

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Towards sanctity: the Spirit’s call from fear to love

Sometimes I think I should have been born a house cat. Indoor cats crave comfort and security above all else and this is my priority too.  Have you ever noticed the lengths cats will go to find that perfect spot to sleep? It’s always on the softest pillow, the coziest quilt, the laundry basket full of clothes just drawn from a hot dryer.

jenny and rameses

That pursuit of comfort drives my actions. I will choose to look frumpy rather than wear clothes that bind me in any way. I opted out of going to a favorite spot to watch the spring bird migration because it was cold and rainy. Making comfort my top priority has turned me into a notorious homebody. I’ve become complacent and rigid.

This makes it all the more difficult for the Holy Spirit to affect change in me. How can I grow in sanctity if I am unwilling to give up comfort and security in favor of challenge and growth?

come holy spirit

The apostles were fishermen. Before Jesus came their sphere was small, their lives parochial and secure. They were fearful, illiterate, not well-traveled—hardly the makings of a group of men who would change the world. And yet they change it they did, not on their own power but through acceptance of the Holy Spirit into their lives. Once infused with the Spirit, their lives were transformed and so were the lives of all whom they encountered. Being faithful to the Spirit sanctified their lives, established the Church and made it possible for countless millions to achieve salvation.

st. paul preaching in athensComfort and security were not priorities for St. Paul once he came to know Jesus Christ. He recounts in 2 Corinthians 11:23–28 all which he willingly suffered for the sake of the Gospel: shipwrecks, beatings and dangers of many sorts (even from his own people), all the while anguishing over the churches he had helped establish. It eventually led to his martyrdom as it did for many of the apostles. Yet he writes in Acts 20:24, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

00 cover drop shadowAs I contemplate the coming Pentecost, I must examine my own life: is my top priority allowing the Holy Spirit to work in me? Or is it comfort and security? God gave me a call to become an author and despite the many difficulties (especially my doubts), I answered it, but only up to a point. When the call became uncomfortable, I resisted. Writing in the comfort and privacy of my home was easy; sharing it with others is another matter. The Spirit is challenging me: will I step out, pushing through doubts, shyness and fears of rejection and failure in order to share my work to others? Will I forsake comfort to travel to faraway places? Am I willing to push myself physically? Am I allowing the Spirit to lead me or am I thwarting him with excuses? It is ironic that I wrote River of Grace to share about a life transformed after great loss and yet now I resist the Spirit’s prompting to share that message.

We are all called to share the Gospel through whatever means we have been granted by God. And we are all afraid. The apostles overcame their fear by allowing the Spirit to fill them with a love of Christ so firm that they would risk death to spread his Word. Love indeed conquers fear. Complacency, smallness and rigidity are signs of fear whereas largeness, flexibility and growth towards God are fruits of love. Only through love can we be changed and thus, change the world.

Therefore, we must allow Love to have His way. And so we pray, “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. And kindle in them the fire of your love.”

Come, Holy Spirit
(based on reading #521 of To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, compiled by Don Stefano Gobbi)

Come, Holy Spirit
Come fill our hearts
And kindle in us the fire of Your everlasting love
Oh breathe on us, dear Lord
Come breathe on us (now)

Oh, Holy Spirit
Soften our hardened hearts
Help us this day to recall
The love of our Savior
Oh precious Jesus
Suffering servant of all
Taking upon Him the wounds
Inflicted by all our sins

Come Holy Spirit
Rain down your fire from heaven
Purify every heart
And show us our poverty
Shower your rain on us
Filling each thirsty heart
That we may go forth refreshed and renewed
Singing praise to God

Come Holy Spirit
Fill us with praise
That we may proclaim the greatness of the saving heart of God
Sing praises to His Name
Sing praise to Him (His Name)

©1999 Susan W. Bailey

“Come Holy Spirit” is available on iTunes and on my CD, Teach Me to Love.

Click to Tweet & ShareBecause of Pentecost we all can receive the Holy Spirit. So let’s sing together: “Come Holy Spirit!” http://wp.me/p2D9hg-1K8

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Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

 

 

 

Talking about faith, grief, writing, music, healing and forgiveness

Just a quickie – I had an extensive interview with Patrick Alog on his Music Showcase program on Archangel Radio and we covered a ton of stuff! He did a great job and I am grateful to be able to share about my books, the role of faith in my life, Louisa May Alcott and reading and writing, losing and gaining back my music, and the power of forgiveness.

You can listen here: http://www.archangelradio.com/catholic-music-showcase-featuring-the-music-of-susan-bailey/

And you can listen to the music from the album profiled (River of Grace The Soundtrack) here: http://www.susanbailey.org/books-and-music/river-of-grace-the-soundtrack/

Click to Tweet & Share: Talking about faith, grief, writing, music, healing and forgiveness on Archangel Radio http://tinyurl.com/hhrokz2

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Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

“Bathe yourselves in mercy” in this Song of Divine Mercy based on St. Faustina’s writings

Following on the heels of Easter Sunday is the Sunday of Divine Mercy. Based on the writings of Saint Faustina, here is “Song of Divine Mercy”:

divine mercy image

Click to Tweet & Share: “Bathe yourselves in mercy” in this Song of Divine Mercy based on St. Faustina’s writings http://wp.me/p6vomf-1yl

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Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

 

Celebration in Song: “Come Holy Spirit!”

teach me-600From my first CD called Teach Me to Love I present a fun and uplifting song, “Come Holy Spirit!”

Of all the songs recorded for this album, “Come Holy Spirit!” was the most fun. At the time of its recording in 2000, my husband Rich was co-leading the youth choir at our parish of St. Luke the Evangelist. Made up of teenagers (along with Rich, co-leader Sarah Connors and percussionist Joe Jaworski), the youth choir sang at the Sunday night 6:30 mass. Continue reading “Celebration in Song: “Come Holy Spirit!””

Celebrate with Song: “Teach Me to Love”

Andy Morffew Singing in the Rain with words featuredCelebrating second chances in song

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“Teach Me to Love,” recorded in 2000, is one of my favorite songs for several reasons.

@Peta_de_Aztlan Mother-Teresa-collage
@Peta_de_Aztlan Mother-Teresa-collage, Flickr Creative Commons

It’s about Blessed Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa died right around the same time that Princess Diana died. With Diana dominating the headlines, there was very little attention focused upon what had been a living saint. It was then that I sat down and wrote “Teach Me to Love” so that I could honor this woman small in stature who loomed large in her service to the poor. Continue reading “Celebrate with Song: “Teach Me to Love””

A room of one’s own: what if your “room” could be portable?

What happens when you get the urge to create?

  • Do you retreat to a music studio to write a song?
  • Do you go to your specially designated study to write?
  • Do you paint your latest masterpiece in a light-filled studio?
  • Do you shut the door when you enter your room?

Why do secret hideaway places draw us like magnets?

I wanted a room of my own when I first discovered Louisa May Alcott as a kid. There was an illustration of Louisa in her special room where it was quiet and she could think. When she had finished writing her latest poem or story, she could indulge in her other favorite passion, running, by racing out the door to her room that led outside.

drawing by Flora Smith from The Story of Louisa May Alcott by Joan Howard
drawing by Flora Smith from The Story of Louisa May Alcott by Joan Howard

Getting away from the noise

Louisa’s family was noisy; quiet and privacy were hard to come by. Journals were a community affair with the parents writing notes in the margins. Louisa’s father Bronson often encouraged the children to read from their journals during the evening meal. Louisa was criticized by her father for writing too much about herself.

No wonder then that Louisa spent much of her life seeking out rooms of her own.

Finding a separate space

I used to think that a separate space away from everyone was necessary in order to create. A busy household with younger children makes finding quiet time difficult. It’s even more difficult when your home is too small to afford a separate space.

This was when I began to learn that any space could be a room of my own.
The physical space was not the key; it was the rituals you established that created that space.

512 louisa writing in the appletree
illustration by Flora Smith, from The Story of Louisa May Alcott by Joan Howard

With that kind of mindset, a room of one’s own can be portable.

You might think it’s a waste of time to explore tools and work routines.

It is time well-invested. In the end, it saves time.

Why?

It took me hours, days, weeks, even months to figure out what worked for me. I searched diligently for those t00ls, those routines that would catapult me away from the world into my creative “zone” in an instant.

Now I snap into my “zone” with no effort at all, wherever I happen to be, so long as I have my tools (which for me are the Nook and my iPhone – see previous post) and routines.

My room is portable.

I can set up anywhere, anytime, in quiet spaces and noisy ones too. The rituals and tools I use act as a trip wire, sending me into my head for a delicious time of writing.

ADDENDUM: I just found this post about other writers and their own “rooms” – check it out at www.penheaven.co.uk/blog/getting-down-to-writing/

What tools do you use to create? What are your rituals that help you to create?
Where is your room?

Click to Tweet & Share: A room of one’s own: what if your “room” could be portable? http://wp.me/p2D9hg-CU

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