Jackie Francois-Angel: Thirsting for Life

We thirst to be free, to be loved, for an authentic life. As we read in Romans 6, the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. How do we cast off the sin that keeps us in death? Jackie Francois-Angel’s talk on Sunday morning invited us to ask the Holy Spirit into our lives.

Our Identity Is Not As Sinner

Jackie began by sharing the story of a man she sat next to on a plane ride who opened up to her about all the bad things he had done. She realized that his identity was so wrapped up in being a sinner that he could not imagine a God who loved him, even with his failings. We, too, can become so focused on our faults that we can’t find God.

We are so much more than the sum of our failures. We are not simply our brokenness and weakness. We are the sum of the Father’ s love.

Embracing Our Life in God’s Love

The Holy Spirit is the very love of the Father and Son. As Jackie explained, love is always a communion of persons. Love always has a lover, a beloved, and the love between them. We read in Romans 5:5 that “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

Jackie said that in those very moments when we ache for love, when we feel lonely, pray for the Holy Spirit to come. As St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O Lord.” That loneliness and thirst we feel is, in fact, God knocking at the door of our hearts. It is God desiring to spend time with you.

Actions of the Spirit in Our Lives

In the Litany of the Holy Spirit, we pray:

Grant, O merciful Father, that Thy Divine Spirit may enlighten, inflame, and purify us, that He may penetrate us with His heavenly dew and make us fruitful in good works, through Our Lord Jesus Christ…

The Holy Spirit comes to enlighten us by convicting us of our sin. It is that feeling every time we sin. It is the Holy Spirit that prods our hearts to return to God when we drift away. The Holy Spirit draws us to the Sacrament of Reconciliation when we have sinned.

The Holy Spirit comes to inflame our hearts with a passion for conversion. In many of the saints, we see men and women who did terrible things, but through renunciation of sin and conversion of heart, they became some of the most passionate saints. Jackie pointed out the examples of Alessandro, in the story of St. Maria Goretti that Fr. Mike shared on Friday, as well as St. Augustine and St. Paul.

The Holy Spirit comes to purify us. The image of gold tested in fire is often used. Jackie explained that the goldsmith watches the liquid gold as it is heated. The impurities rise to the top of the liquid gold to be removed. This happens repeatedly until the goldsmith can see his own reflection in the gold. So too, we need to ask the Holy Spirit into our lives to remove the impurities and sins. As St. Therese of Lisieux said, there is no such thing as a half saint; you are either a full saint or no saint at all.

Call on the Holy Spirit

In order to be living witnesses of God’s love and mercy, we must first be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to come into our lives so that we can be truly alive. Are you living a life in the Holy Spirit to be able to preach the Gospel?

Quotables

God will not leave you abandoned; He sends His Holy Spirit as His advocate.

Jesus had to leave towns because people weren’t open to Him. God can’t work in your life if you don’t let Him.

Avatar
Written by Stephanie To
Stephanie To works for the Respect Life Apostolate for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. A lawyer and bioethicist by training, she is passionate about the Catholic faith and pro-life issues. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys making music (playing the violin, playing the handbells, and singing), cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals and KU Jayhawks, and hanging out with friends. You can follow her on Twitter at @stephaniehto.