Posted on: 2016-05-09

The abiding spirit

The Holy Spirit is the scriptwriter, choreographer and producer of all relationships with God. He was the midwife on the Church's birth day. (Acts 1,2). Saint Paul declared in the Bible "All those who walk in the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God" (Rom 8: 14). Participate in the Holy Mass in the Catholic Church and you would be surprised at the number of times the Holy Spirit is invoked during the celebration, which is the supreme Catholic worship. The number would be far more than you would normally imagine. That is because the Church, long before anyone else understood the role of the Holy Spirit  in her life. Right from the beginning of Mass "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" to the very end, "May Almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit", the Holy Spirit is given the prominence deserving of being the "manager" and "facilitator" of all activities of God in the history of our salvation. The Church confesses this through the mouth of all Christians in the Creed, the condensed formula of the Christian faith, adopted over thousands of years. "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the giver of life who proceeds from the Father and the Son, together with the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets". That part of the Creed justifies the excitement which the mention of the Holy Spirit generates among believers till this day.

The active living Spirit

The Holy Spirit surely deserves such all embracing recognition. That same Spirit overshadowed Mary and made her the mother of Jesus the saviour. The angel told Mary: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born of you shall be called Son of God" (Lk.1: 35). That same child, as he grew up "was seen to be strong in the Spirit" (Lk. 1:80). The upright and devout man, Simeon, had the Holy Spirit in him, was led into the temple by the Holy Spirit, after the same Spirit had assured him that he would not die before seeing the Messiah (Lk. 2: 25-26). The same Holy Spirit descended and rested upon Jesus Christ at his baptism in the Jordan by John (Matt. 3:16-17), and led him into the desert to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:2). So did the Holy Spirit accompany Jesus all through his life and resurrection. Jesus, when returning to the Father, promised his disciples not to leave them orphans... "From the Father I will send you the Spirit of truth. When this Helper has come from the Father he will be my witness, and you, too will be my witnesses, for you have been with me from the beginning" (Jn. 15: 26-27). "I shall send you an advocate. He will remind you of everything I have told you". After him, the Apostles needed the Holy Spirit to endorse their calling and he descended upon them on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). When they needed to appoint deacons to care for widows they chose seven men who were full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom to do the job (Acts 6: 1-7).

The transforming Spirit

Today all Christians must to witness to the presence of that Holy Spirit who "is a spirit of courage not of timidity". Today's rough times call for courageous witnesses of Christ, determined to fight the powers of darkness and evil to a standstill. Pentecost is  celebrated in the Church to also recruit new foot soldiers for the  Holy Spirit through Confirmation. They, along with their predecessors, must be nurtured and sustained through the Scripture, the Holy Mass, Life-in-the-Spirit seminars, retreats, prayer meetings, novenas and good works. The role of the Spirit has also been set into some beautiful hymns that teach us like: "Spirit of God in the clear running waters... fill the earth, bring it to birth and blow where you will. Blow, blow, blow till I be the breath of the spirit blowing in me". The one purpose of all these however is the transformation of human beings, of our earth through us to help our reorientation towards the things of heaven.  Perhaps a major area of transformation into which we need to invite the Holy spirit today is that PRAYER. St. Paul said that we do not know how to pray but the Spirit teaches us to (Rom. 8:26). Recall that the same Jesus who gave the Spirit ACTUALLY taught us to pray in a few sentences as in the "Our Father". (Matt 6:6-15)  How come today our prayer is so full of words, noise and drama? This calls for sober reflection indeed. We must stop being deceived!

Come Holy Spirit

In tough times therefore, we Christians must  make a difference through God's powerful Spirit, bearing  fruits of mercy, forgiveness, charity, joy, peace, patience, honesty and fidelity, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). We must pray and  invoke him to transform our flesh, our greed, our pride and all our weaknesses. The apostle, Paul warned us: "Do not be fooled. God cannot be deceived. You reap what you sow! The person who sows for the benefit of his own flesh shall reap corruption and death from the flesh. He who sows in the spirit shall reap eternal life from the Spirit. Let us do good without being discouraged; in due time we shall reap the reward of our constancy" (Gal.5:7-10). God has given us his powerful Spirit. There is no better time than now for us to justify this power in order to renew the face of today's world.