By Lucy Johnson
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit”~Acts 2:4a
As the Beatles’ song from the 60s suggests, we get by with a little help from our friends. We know that we have a friend in Jesus, but even Jesus told us that He had to leave so that the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) could come. On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples this: But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)
Peers or Parents?
In the book The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, the author summarizes studies that suggest “our environment plays as big – if not bigger – a role as heredity in shaping personality and intelligence.”
Further, he states, “the environmental influence that helps children become who they are – that shapes their character and personality – is their peer group.” Do peers have a greater influence than parents?
As I was digesting this, I stumbled across St. Alypius.
I had never heard of St. Alypius, or at least don’t remember hearing about him, but he could be considered the best childhood friend of St. Augustine. St. Alypius was a peer – a confidant. Both future saints suffered from worldly desires and temptations. Both were cured on the same day as they read from Paul’s letter to the Romans; passages which they took to heart and transformed their lives.
While I credit my hero St. Monica with her son’s conversion, one needs to consider St. Alypius’s effect on St. Augustine.
In my own life, some family members have not chosen the paths I would choose for them. This has given me self-doubts as a mother and a wife. Was I not intentional enough? Where did I fail in passing on beliefs and values?
Recognizing the peer influence on others regardless of how they were raised can provide some comfort. With Saint Monica as my role model, I can love them and pray that they choose friends wisely, especially heavenly ones.
Come, Holy Spirit
Today, we celebrate the best friend of all – our Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the one Jesus promised God would send. The Holy Spirit walks with us daily, whether we know it or not.
The Spirit provides gifts of knowledge, understanding, counsel, courage, piety, fear of the Lord, and wisdom. By using these gifts, we also receive the fruits of the Spirit, which are peace, patience, love, joy, generosity, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control.
What a friend we have in the Holy Spirit.
Lord, we pray that our “friends” group and those of our children include the Holy Spirit, whose guidance and inspiration will be with us forever. Come Holy Spirit. Fill our world with love, joy, and peace. Guide our children on the right paths and be with them when they stray. St. Monica, help us to love and pray as you did. Amen.
Call to Action
Spend some time today reflecting on how the Holy Spirit has worked in your life. Share one story with someone who may benefit from your experience.
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