[gtranslate] Surrendering to the Holy Spirit: A Reflection on Don Dolindo’s Commentary on John 14 - Eglise Catholique Saint James (Saint Jacques)

Surrendering to the Holy Spirit: A Reflection on Don Dolindo’s Commentary on John 14

Surrendering to the Holy Spirit: A Reflection on Don Dolindo’s Commentary on John 14

In this profound reflection from his commentary on the Gospel of John, chapter 14, Don Dolindo Ruotolo offers a beautiful meditation on the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and shaping our spiritual lives. Drawing upon Jesus’ words to the apostles, Don Dolindo reminds us that even when we feel lost or confused on our journey towards holiness, we can trust in the gentle providence and illuminating grace of the Holy Spirit. This article invites us to surrender ourselves to God’s love and to have faith that, even when we forget or struggle to understand the spiritual nourishment we receive, the Holy Spirit is at work within us, bringing to life what is withered in our hearts and leading us along the path to perfection.

In misunderstandings, trust in the light of the Holy Spirit. In turmoil, rest in God’s peace. In trials, gaze at eternity. March like soldiers of God towards eternal conquest.

“The apostles were a bit disoriented by Jesus’ words; they didn’t fully understand them and didn’t know how to put them into practice. But Jesus wasn’t speaking just for them to understand everything right then and there; He was speaking to all people and to His future Church, of which they were the first fruits. So they shouldn’t have been troubled by their current lack of understanding, but should have waited with faith for the illuminations of the Holy Spirit. Holiness, after all, isn’t a dead building constructed through human industry, but is like the germination, growth, flowering, and fruit-bearing of a plant, which takes place under the sun’s rays, through inner life. The soul is instructed by her guide, and she has the impression of forgetting everything she hears and she cannot see how to put what she hears into practice. What she hears, however, isn’t a lesson, but a sowing; it’s not a dry study of spiritual or psychological problems, but it is like the opening up of a horizon and the outlining of a path, which then requires guidance and a vehicle to follow.

“The soul, like the apostles, almost always forgets what she hears or reads, and, poor thing, doesn’t know how to begin and continue her path to perfection. She shouldn’t get disoriented or rack her brain, but, offering herself entirely to God, should trust in the lights of the Holy Spirit. That’s exactly what Jesus told the apostles: These things I have told you while I was still with you; that is, I wanted to say: I’ve told you many things to make the most of the time I’m with you, but don’t worry if you don’t remember them, or only remember them in part; the Holy Spirit will come, whom the Father will send in my name, and He will teach you everything, explaining what you didn’t understand, and will remind you, as needed, of everything I’ve said, and that you’ve forgotten.

“We can continually observe this gentle providence in the formation and perfection of the soul: we hear or read something vital, we’re thrilled, and then we forget almost everything. That spiritual nourishment isn’t lost, but is like the fertilization or watering of a plant: it remains in us, and, under the healthy rays of the Holy Spirit’s action, it emerges in the withered parts of the heart, and brings them to life. Sometimes it transforms, becomes a thought that seems to arise from us, and is instead the elaboration that comes from the grace of a vital thought, making it like a suitable sap for our particular dispositions, and for the goals that the Lord wants to achieve in our life. When the soul gives herself entirely to God in the gentle slavery of love, far from worrying about her path to perfection, she should entrust herself to the grace of the Holy Spirit and trust, with the firm will to respond and do everything He inspires, in the light of the one who guides the soul on the path to holiness.”

(From Don Dolindo’s commentary on St John, chapter 14)

Inspired by Don Dolindo’s beautiful words from his commentary on The Paraclete, let’s turn prayerfully to Our Blessed Mother:

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit, and Queen of the Apostles, we come before you with humble hearts, seeking your powerful intercession. You who were overshadowed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35) and bore the Word made flesh (John 1:14), pray for us, that we may be open to the gifts of the same Spirit.

As Don Dolindo so beautifully reminds us, it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us everything (John 14:26) and guides us into all truth (John 16:13). Therefore, we beseech you, O Mary, to obtain for us a fresh outpouring of the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2), that we may have wisdom to discern God’s will, understanding to grasp divine truths, counsel to choose the right path, fortitude to persevere in trials, knowledge to grow in holiness, piety to love God more deeply, and fear of the Lord to humbly reverence His majesty.

May these gifts transform our withered hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) and empower us to walk the path of perfection, trusting not in our own strength but in the gentle providence and illuminating grace of the Holy Spirit. O Mary, help us to surrender ourselves entirely to God’s love, as you did at the Annunciation (Luke 1:38), confident that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).

Through your maternal intercession, may we become living temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), bearing spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and radiating the love of Christ to all we meet. Amen.

Author Note: If you would like to read more about Don Dolindo’s spirituality, check out my book “Don Dolindo’s Spiritual Guidance.”

Photo provided by the Author.

Don Dolindo Ruotolo, D.D. (1939). Commento alla Sacra Scrittura (33 volumi), Apostolato Stampa. Napoli.

Seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary through prayer