When is the last time you were given “counsel”? When is that last time you offered “counsel”? When you hear the word counsel – what do you think of?
I think of an attorney giving legal advice. But more often, I think of giving advice.
But, before I write about a Work of Mercy, I read a little about it first. I prepared to write this post about Counseling the Doubtful on Divine Mercy Sunday. I came across a brief summary on the Spiritual Works of Mercy at The Divine Mercy website. I thought, “Perfect. There are no coincidences – let me read what this article has to offer.”
The article stressed the importance of listening.
Yep, that’s the Holy Spirit talking to me for sure. I talk – a lot. I don’t listen enough.
I love the counsel this article gives. In order to give counsel to others, we must first be in tune with the Holy Spirit. We must take time to listen to His voice. We must nourish our soul and our relationship with the Lord. I am reminded of the Scripture passage:
Be Still, and know that I am God . . .
Before we can “Counsel the Doubtful” we must be counseled ourselves. As theDivineMercy.org article states: first we must listen and reflect in prayer; then we must discuss our prayer life with a Spiritual Director.
How many of us have a Spiritual Director? I don’t. Although I have been thinking a lot lately about how nice it would be to have one. Maybe this is the Lord pushing me to go on the search. He does say “Seek and you shall find” right?
I love how much the author,Dr. Robert Stackpole, stresses listening.
Listen to the person who is in doubt.
Listen to the Holy Spirit.
Listen to your Spiritual Director.
Then, after you have listened to those three, pray some more. Then we may be ready to give good counsel.
Isn’t this such great advice? Stackpole is reminding us of Matthew 7:5:
Hypocrite! Take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.
I notice that Matthew doesn’t instruct us not to take the splinter out of our brother’s eye – but he certainly stresses to look at ourselves first.
Stackpole explains how we must look at ourselves. That we must take our introspection seriously. We must take time to examine our actions, our thoughts and our goals. We must take time to listen. More time must be spent listening than giving counsel.
In an effort to listen more – I am going to attempt taking the “Heroic Minute” Challenge.
Two Catholic Bloggers Debbie Gancila Gaudino at Saints365 and Allision Gringras over at Reconciled To You will be beginning the 14 Day Heroic Minute Challenge on Monday April 4 – based on St. Josemarie Escriva’s concept of the Heroic Minute. I figured I would share this with you incase you also want to take the challenge! It’s about starting the day early and starting the day listening and talking to God!
Perhaps if I start with this “heroic minute” I will take more time to listen to the Lord throughout the day. Then perhaps someday I will be able to give good counsel to the doubtful. Until then . .
What is the best counsel you have been given in times of doubt?