I always feel consoled everytime I read these words of St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (8, 26)
And two verses later, we read an even more consoling and reassuring passage. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to his purpose.” (8, 28)
We know that all of us exist for a purpose designed by God, our Creator and Father. No one exists by accident, even if by human standards one may be considered born out of an accident, as in a consequence of rape, for example. Therefore all of us are guided by God’s providence where even our weaknesses, mistakes, sins, etc., can somehow be taken advantage of to lead us to him.
Of course, we have to do our part. We have to try our best to know, love and serve God. But given our weakness, many times we do not know how to relate ourselves to God. We may not know what to say in our prayer, or worse, we may not even know how to pray at all.
But God, in the Holy Spirit, will always come to the rescue. As St. Paul said, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
The working of the Holy Spirit in us is truly mysterious. We can never fully capture the intricacies of his interventions in our life. Even in those special, privileged instances when one goes through extraordinary experiences like ecstasies and private revelations, as experienced by some saints, no words, no human ways of demonstration can fully describe them.
But the Holy Spirit makes up for what we are unable even to understand so that in the end we get to believe in something revealed to us but which we could not fully understand, and we would be led to where we should be.
For this, we have to be born again, this time in the Spirit and not just in the flesh. As Christ himself told Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (Jn 3, 8)
So it is possible that we may not even be aware that the Spirit is shaping our life and directing our every step and act. As long as we are born again in the Spirit and do not make any formal rejection of the Spirit in our life, we may commit many mistakes in our thinking and acting, but still the Spirit will guide us to where we should be.
That, I suppose, is what St. Paul meant when he said, “all things work together for good to those who love God…” (Rom 8, 28) God’s providence works beyond our human understanding, even as he expects us to know him well and understand his will and ways as much as we can.
This realization, I believe, should calm down our over-anxiousness about whether everyone is doing things right. Yes, we have to follow certain laws, rules, policies, culture, lifestyles, etc., all meant to guide us, but let’s remember that God’s inscrutable ways often transcend them. They do not necessarily negate them, but they simply go beyond them.
Again, let’s just be game in this life. When we see errors and sins in us and in others, we of course should try to correct them when we realize them, but let’s never forget that in God’s providence, they also serve a purpose! So, we should not worry too much.
Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, Talamban, Cebu City (firstname.lastname@example.org)/WDJ