Yes, I do like to go sailing. That's my dad's boat to the left. It's a small little boat, but it sure is fun to sail on a big lake. I could not help but to segway this into a discussion of the Holy Spirit however.
My spiritual director at Kenrick is a real sailor. He once told me a story that when he was younger, he and some friends sailed from California to ... I don't know where ... oh yea, Florida. He accidentally ran into Cuba because his navigator had mutineed on him somewhere off the coast of Mexico. Yeah, a bit crazy of a story, but it serves a good point too. My spiritual director is also really focused on the role of the Holy Spirit in our spiritual lives. So, here is the bulletin insert I wrote for Pentecost Sunday that includes my favorite analogy from John of St. Thomas in regards to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
Bulletin for Pentecost Sunday
Do you want to be a row boat or a massive powerful sailing ship going across the seven seas? That is the question, oddly enough, which we need to ask ourselves when we consider the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
About 10 days ago, Bishop Jackels quizzed our Confirmation students on what were the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Think about it … they are Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Piety, Fortitude, and Fear of the Lord. The list comes from the book of Isaiah 11:2-3 and is an essential aspect of living the Christian life.
The best analogy I have ever heard for how the Gifts work is that of boats. The virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity enhance our own faculties, or own nature so we can know, seek and love God as the Trinity. If you are operating only with Faith, Hope, and Charity, you are like a row boat trying to get through a vast ocean one stroke at a time.
As you begin to grow in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, you eventually unfurl sails so as to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit which is like the wind that powers the ship.
One of the best living illustrations of someone who has large “sails” is the martyr, such as St. Maximilen Kolbe who gave his life for another man in a concentration camp in World War II. To give of your own life for Jesus Christ is not a natural or innate response in us. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, sometimes calls people to make radical decisions that give an incredible witness to the power of the love of Jesus Christ in our day.
Let us continue to pray after Pentecost to have an increase of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives so we can be witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet.