Personal Relationship with the Holy Spirit
As we get ready for Pentecost (Sunday, June 5), we reflect on the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is the tangible grace of God the Father- He is a Spirit, and a Person. Pentecost means "50." It's 50 days after the celebration of Jesus' Resurrection from the dead. Before His ascension, Jesus said, "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]." (John 16:7, AMP) Pentecost means 50. The Hebrew number 5 signifies grace. Grace is originally a Greek word, where we get the English word, charism. See, the Paraclete is the Holy Spirit- the Helper, Advocate, the One that stands up for you when no one else will. How does He vindicate and stand up for people- by showering more graces and gifts on them. When Elijah was persecuted, he experienced more and more signs and wonders from God. The more Jesus was persecuted, the more people were healed and set free of evil spirits. They sinned, blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, saying He cast out devils with devils. But, the One that does the miracles is the Holy Spirit. It's been said that God the Father is in Heaven, Jesus ascended into Heaven, but the Holy Spirit is actually on the earth. Surely, each person of the Trinity is present when the others are, and Jesus is present to His Church through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, but there is a sense in which it's the Holy Spirit that is most present on the earth. Jesus said, "it's better for you that I go..." How can this be? The Jesus that we love, leaving earth? Because in God's plan of salvation, it's the Holy Spirit that leads us to Jesus. He leads us to the new birth experience in Christ, and fills us with His presence. Without the Holy Spirit, there are no sacraments. But, without an emphasis on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, and the whole life of the Church, becomes (experientially) dead ritual. Of course, the rituals themselves were inspired by the Holy Spirit, so they are not pagan, never totally lifeless. However, they will not have the efficacy, they will not bear as much fruit as God wants them to without a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. It's the difference between attending Mass with a priest who has grown cold in his relationship with God, and going to Mass with Padre Pio or Fr. Fernando. Mass is Mass, Jesus is present, but it is not as efficacious, doesn't bear the same effect on the people as when the Holy Spirit is truly welcomed. When the minister is walking in the Holy Spirit's anointing, it 'rubs off' on the people and encourages them to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit also. You can tell when a priest, a person is in love with Jesus, and following the Holy Spirit. Jesus was so full of the Holy Spirit, that when He walked by, the sons of Zebedee threw away their livelihood into the sea and ran after Him! There was a holiness, a power and a presence about Him- the anointing of the Holy Spirit that came when God the Father said, "this is My beloved Son." (Matt. 3:17) When the woman with the hemorrhage touched the hem of His garment, power flowed out of Him tangibly- which He felt- and she was completely healed. (Luke 8:40-48) It was after He was baptized, and He heard personally from the Father. Many people have been baptized, but it was as infants- even if it was as a child or adult, it wasn't personal. That is, the grace, the Person of the Holy Spirit was not welcomed in the personal faith, the heart of the individual. Sacraments require personal faith to operate with fruitfulness. "The sacraments are efficacious ex opere operato (“by the very fact that the sacramental action is performed”) because it is Christ who acts in the sacraments and communicates the grace they signify. The efficacy of the sacraments does not depend upon the personal holiness of the minister. However, the fruits of the sacraments do depend on the dispositions of the one who receives them." (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, see CCC 1127-1128, 1131) Perhaps you're reading this, and you see that you have not personally received the Holy Spirit into your life. You don't feel you can say with Micah, "Truly, I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord!" (Micah 3:8) Maybe you have been baptized, maybe you haven't. The Holy Spirit comes to anyone that welcomes Him, anyone that repents of their sins and asks Jesus to be the Lord of their lives. He came to the house of Cornelius BEFORE they were all baptized. (Acts 10) Whatever the case may be, just turn to the Lord and ask forgiveness for your sins and failures, to ready yourself to receive the pure and wonderful Holy Spirit. Prayer of Salvation (for renewed faith in Jesus Christ) + Lord Jesus Christ, come into my heart. I desire that You be the Lord of my life, so that I may be a Child of the Light. To know You as my personal Savior. For I know and believe that You died on the Cross for my sins. You rose again from the dead on the third day, and You are coming again in glory. I believe in Your forgiveness, and I desire that You help me to refrain from any temptations that would keep me separated from Your everlasting love. Amen. Now, you can ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit and fill Your people with a fresh wave of grace!
Prayer for Baptism in the Holy Spirit +
Lord God, I confess that I am a sinner. I confess that I need Your Son Jesus. Please forgive me in His Name.
Lord Jesus, I believe You died for me and that You are alive and listening to me now. I now turn from my sins and welcome You into my heart. Come and take control of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.
Thank You for loving me, for forgiving me and for coming to live in my heart never to leave me or forsake me.
Now, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, Who will show me how to live for You and acknowledge You before men as my Saviour and my Lord. I love You, Jesus. Amen. Hallelujah! Let us ask and keep seeking for more of the Holy Spirit, as we prepare for Pentecost. Dan Devine, M. Div.
"When the Holy Spirit comes, here is the miracle! He presents people with a different face for God: a God who is an ally, not an adversary; a good Father who did not spare even His own Son for them; in short, a God who shows them favour." -Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., Sober Intoxication of the Spirit.
"Lord, dip me in the kerosene of your Spirit and set my heart ablaze that I may burn for you!" -African-American revivalist
"If I had 300 men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and were determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, I would set the world on fire.” -John Wesley