September Reflection for Open Door – Jean Noon
Signs of Spiritual Progress
While here on earth we will always live with uncertainty. Our trust in God’s loving care must be sufficient to enable us to be at peace with a lack of absolute certitude in discerning God’s will for us. However, as we mature, the development of certain personal attributes will give us confidence that we are discerning God’s will correctly in our life. These signs of spiritual progress are listed below.
- A growing awareness of greater trust in God. More often than any other teaching, Jesus insists on blind faith and trust in God. Faith and trust are the keys which unlock the infinite treasury of God’s goodness.
- A growing awareness of humble submission of our will to the will of God. As we grow in holiness there is less resistance to doing God’s will.
- A growing awareness of greater gratitude to God. Gratitude is a positive way of practicing humility and counteracting pride and ego inflation.
- A growing awareness of greater intimacy with Jesus. This has been the experience of every Christian saint.
- An ever greater desire and longing for God, for God’s love and for holiness. This desire should become so intense that it dominates all other desires. We want sanctity because this is what God wants for us.
- Our conscious mind becomes more and more centered in God and the things of God rather than in ourselves and our wants. The thought of God becomes more constantly present throughout the waking hours of each day.
- Simplicity of lifestyle. As we progress in holiness our desires for worldly goods and sensual pleasures become less and less. We become content to do with less of good things of earth rather than more and more.
- An ever greater experience of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
To be able to discern progress in any one of these areas of spiritual growth we need to compare our present situation with that of a year ago, or even three or five years ago. Such progress is usually slow and not to be seen from one day to the next. Progress is needed in all eight areas, but genuine progress in any one of them makes it easier to experience an advance in the others. At different times in our life God wills for us to work on first one and then another. By prayer we discern God’s will.
Monsignor Chester Michael (1916-2014) RIP
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) RSV
(favorite Bible quote of Fr. Chet’s)
It is with great sadness that we report that Monsignor Chester Michael peacefully passed away on Thursday at 3pm on July 31, 2014 at age 97 while in hospice care. Rev. Msgr. Chester P. Michael, a retired priest of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, was born in Berkeley Springs, WV, in 1916, ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in 1942, and was a faithful priest of the Diocese for 72 years. Please remember Msgr. Michael and his family in your prayers.
Remembering Monsignor Chester Michael (click for more stories and photos)