"I can’t believe I do that. I can’t believe I think that. Are other people afraid of that? I don’t think that’s normal. How do I prevent this reaction? How I do get rid of that? How do I stop thinking that? It seems logical to believe that, doesn’t it? But now that I think about it, it seems impossible to NOT arrive to that conclusion? How do I have a better attitude? Isn’t this the very definition of not having faith? Do I have any faith? How will I know if what I am doing is good, right, and okay?"
Our past has wounded us. Ok, check. Got it. We have interpreted our own beliefs because of these wounds. Got it. Great, I know this, I thought. Now I can move on.
As if growth was that easy. The truth is that, over time, our egos have become a trusted source of information. Despite the fact that you’ve taken the long road—full of broken bones and hearts, you figure, you got this far! Who cares in what condition you did it, right?
Breaking the habit and learning to choose God’s love over ego’s bait is a process, it’s not something achieved overnight. In the midst of that realization and struggle, I was looking for something to help ground me. But as luck would have it, it turns out when you are on a spiritual journey, you will find that the universe responds when you ask for help.
Resting across from me at a writing session was Marcella’s phone and a screensaver that said, “Make Me New.” We spoke about it a little and she quickly offered to share the image with me.
Day in and day out, I’m working on leaving the past where it’s meant to be and in every struggle where my ego refuses to let me believe that times can be better, that things can be different, and the old wounds are just around the corner—I retreat and ask God to make me new, one more time.
Written by: Antonella Saravia
I must’ve learned the sign of the cross in kindergarten. Maybe even earlier. And, all these years, I’ve never paid much attention to the last piece of it: the Holy Spirit. Sure, I say the words as I touch my shoulders, and, yes, I recognize the symbol of the doves. But for so many years of my life, that’s as far as it went.
When I was 15, I went on a retreat with my family, and the strangest thing happened at the end. During the closing Mass, I sat in the back of the room, listening to the priest standing at the altar. One minute, everything was normal. The next? I couldn’t understand a word he said.
He was babbling non-stop, with a sing-song rhythm to his speech—if you could call it that. My first instinct was to look around at my brothers. “What is he doing?” I wanted to know. But, being true teenagers, we erupted in laughter instead. Horrified, my mom shushed us and motioned for us to leave as quickly as possible.
Once outside, she explained what happened: the priest was speaking in tongues, a gift of the Holy Spirit.
And it borderline terrified me.
But when I joined a prayer group earlier this year, I was stunned to find just how much emphasis is put on the third person of the Trinity. I’ve heard things like:
“When you pray, you are putting 1% of the effort. The Holy Spirit puts the other 99%.”
“Like a surgeon operating on you under general anesthesia, the Holy Spirit is working on you in ways you can’t ever comprehend in the moment.”
“Sometimes, you may feel showered with a profound sense of peace. That’s a gift of the Holy Spirit.”
All these concepts have taken my imagination on a rollercoaster ride trying to picture how it works. A partner? A surgeon? A Gandhi-like figure sending me rays of light? But I’m learning to trust that understanding will come to me over time.
Hearing someone speak in tongues may still make me laugh nervously, but I’m paying more attention to the final words as I make the sign of the cross. Because the more I learn about the Holy Spirit, the more I recognize its power over my spirit.