Empowerment is the ability to operate in the power of the Spirit, and to exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit, remembering that the greatest gift is love (1 Cor 13:8)
The soul’s delightful Guest
ICCRS Councillor for Oceania
(Used with permission from ICCRS Newsletter)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states…”The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is God, one and equal with the Father and the Son, of the same substance and also of the same nature. Yet he is not called the Spirit of the Father alone, but the Spirit of both the Father and the Son.” (73)
The Creed of the Church from the Council of Constantinople confesses: “With the Father and the Son, he is worshipped and glorified.”7 (245 CCC)
The Holy Spirit is a PERSON of the Trinity not some ghostlike figure
He is ALIVE and active today. Love is His personality as He is the divine lover, the personification of the love that exists between the Father and the Son.
At the sequence during the Mass of Pentecost He is the “soul’s delightful guest”. “….Infinite Love is not a passing visitor who pays us a call and then goes away. He establishes in us his permanent dwelling and lies in intimate union with our souls as their eternal Guest.” He dwells within us, not as a separate being in one part of our nature but as our very life. He is known as the ‘breath of God’ and should He stop breathing, we would cease to exist.
It is impossible to fully answer the question “Who is the Holy Spirit”. ‘Mr Google” gives an option of over 20 million books of authors attempting this challenge.
As God, the Holy Spirit is mystery and therefore impossible to fully understand or explain. We are invited to enter into a relationship with Him and it’s through this relationship that He is revealed to us, we experience His presence and ‘know’ Him.
Also the Holy Scriptures give us a glimpse into His Person, His ministry and work to assist us to identify Him in our own lives.
The coming of the Holy Spirit is a Promise of the Father. “Wait” Jesus said” for what the Father has promised. It is what you have heard me speak about: John baptised with water, but not many days from now, you are going to be baptised with the Holy Spirit”. There is nothing we can do to ‘get’ the Holy Spirit. He is purely a gift of love from the Father. We can’t earn Him by sticking to formulas, keeping laws, reciting certain prayers. We simply ask and have faith that God will keep His Promise. St John tells us that God will not ration His Gift of the Holy Spirit. (Jn3:34) The Promise you have received is the Holy Spirit without measure.
The Holy Spirit is the source of Life and the Presence of God within us
St Paul tells us “Do you know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16). We live and move and have our being in God alone. The presence and action of the Holy Spirit is constant in our lives. He is always present. The Holy Spirit isn’t about feeling good or being on a constant high. He is about hunger to know God, and to grow deeper in God’s love.
He knows that major sin in our lives will separate us from the love of God and therefore He convicts us of our sin, brings us to genuine repentance and gives us the grace to overcome the sin patterns in our lives. No sin is greater than the mercy of God however the Holy Spirit is also a “gentleman” and will not push His way in where He is not wanted.
Psalm 51 tells us that the Holy Spirit has the power to sweep us clean. You can hear in this psalm attributed to King David, the agony he is experiencing as a result of his sinfulness. In verses 10-12 he cries out “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit away from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain within me a willing spirit”.
We are all sinners and the Holy Spirit is within us to reveal to us our sin, if we give Him permission. He will do this in love, never with condemnation and He will always lead us deeper into the presence and love of God.
The Holy Spirit brings empowerment with His gifts
At the beginning of His public ministry Luke tells us that “Jesus full of the Holy Spirit returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1)
It was through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit Jesus preached, taught, proclaimed the Kingdom of God. It was through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit He healed and set free. It was through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit He revealed the face of God to humanity. It was through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that He was able to embrace the Cross and His destiny. And before ascending into Heaven He commissioned us “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth”. (Acts 1:7-8) It is through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit we have been commissioned to continue to build the Kingdom of God.
Empowerment is the ability to operate in the power of the Spirit, and to exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit, remembering that the greatest gift is love (1 Cor 13:8). As Charismatics we are well aware of the gifts listed in 2 Corinthians 12 and we can eagerly go through them and choose those that God has given to us. A temptation is to ‘rate’ the gifts in area of importance and feel a bit special if we’ve got one of the more obvious power gifts. This temptation will lead us on the path of self glory. When the Holy Spirit works through us we should take the time to reflect and ask ourselves did the Praise and Glory go to God or did we give ourselves (even secretly) a pat on the back for a job well done? Paul admonishes …’I say to everyone among you, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think …..’
We must remember they are God’s gifts, He works through us and all gifts are given to meet the needs of others and to reveal the unconditional love of God.
His presence brings transformation
The Holy Spirit came as transformer in the forms of tongues of fire at the first Pentecost.
He is the one who changes people lives. Any task no matter how big or small when performed through the Holy Spirit is transformed into an occasion to reveal the glory of God.
Administration becomes opportunity; chance encounters become Divine appointments; a simple prayer can become a miracle; a smile the occasion to show the love of God.
The Holy Spirit is within us now to transform us
Don’t ever assume you know how He’ll move. We should constantly be in awe and surprised by the Holy Spirit. Recently the Holy Father said “Listen up. If the Church is alive, it must always surprise. A church that doesn’t have the capacity to surprise is a weak, sickened and dying church. It should be taken to the recovery room at once”.
In Old Testament times the Spirit dwelt in the Ark of the Covenant / the Temple. Now Almighty God through His Spirit dwells in us.
Wherever we go we carry His Name
Wherever we go we carry the Presence of God
Wherever we go we carry His Testimony, His love for His people
Talking on the phone, driving the car, eating, watching TV we are witnesses to the Spirit of God in us. We must be careful not to drag the Lords reputation into the mud by what we say, what we do, where we go etc.
The movement of the Holy Spirit is constant and he is moving powerfully through the world today. “God’s purpose for the Church and the world is the full role of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is speaking through the moral issues facing the Church/World today. He’s speaking through the unrest in the Middle East, the Ebola crisis facing Western Africa. Our invitation is to ‘hear’ what He is saying to us through these circumstances; to hear with a pure heart and not through our filter of judgement or opinions. As with Elijah His voice may not be in the hail, the thunder or the earthquake but be that still small voice We are invited to open wide the windows and doors of our listening and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. We could be very surprised to hear what He is saying – but what joy, hope and courage will gladden our hearts.
There’s no need to fear the future. The Holy Spirit knows every inch of the road ahead, every curve, and every pothole. We fear if we attempt to walk it on our own. He yearns to participate in every part of our lives. Talk to Him …… Listen to …..Develop a relationship with Him.
The Holy Spirit is real! He is Alive! Our journey with the Holy Spirit “the soul’s delightful guest” will be different for each of us. It is a mystery we are invited to live – Love’s most intimate relationship.
I’ll finish with the words of Archbishop Luis Martinez in his classic book The Sanctifier “The Holy spirit must be given His proper place – The place that rightfully belongs to Him in Christian life and Christian perfection. Devotion to the Holy Spirit must become ………something not superficial and intermittent, but constant and profound, filling the depths of souls and impregnating lives with the sweet unction of infinite love. “
Come Holy Spirit!