For many of us who are “cradled Catholics,” the Holy Spirit is often forgotten and ignored in our life of faith. It is easier for us to talk about the Father and Jesus in catechesis or in conversation, except for those “weird” charismatic renewal people. It is easier to talk to God as our Father and Jesus as our Savior in prayer. Most of the time, the Holy Spirit is just kind of “there” for many of us. Like many people, the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity often remains in the realm of images like fire, water, wind, and dove. I used to be one of them…
I remembered having a sour note in trying to understand the Holy Spirit from charismatic people who taught the wrong theology in the past. I remembered getting invited to prayer services with many people speaking in tongues, but no one seems to understand each other. I remembered getting pushed down and got questioned (guilted) by those who were present when I did not get “slain by the Spirit.” They acted as if I was not holy enough or did something wrong. Those events left a personal big misunderstanding of the power and working of the Holy Spirit for a long time! However, as I grow older and more in tune with my own faith, especially in my priestly ministry, I have found myself becoming more dependent on His gifts and fruits, as well as His blessings and challenges.
He is the true Consoler and Paraclete given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. When He speaks to the soul; it listens because it knows Him. However, the soul needs time to really calm down, seek silence, and be still before it can truly discern the different voices and listen to His’. The Holy Spirit speaks the truth and of peace, even when our psyche, emotions, and feelings are agitated by the trials of this world. When He admonishes, it is always out of love and gentleness.
He reveals, leads, and fulfills what began in us when we received our Sacrament of Baptism to become sons and daughters of the Father through Christ Jesus.
I remembered the time when I was running away from God‘s will and wanted to do my own things, I could feel deep within my soul the Holy Spirit‘s gentle nudging and loving admonishment. He always has a way of talking to me out of gentleness, in a very indescribable way of being firm yet loving. It was never out of rash or reactive condemnation and judgment!
I always found peace when able to recognize His voice and calm myself down enough to tune into what He had to say, even when I was going through rough times in the past. The Holy Spirit always spoke to me in the form of a gentle breeze after a strong, gusty wind. He speaks to me using the endearing and personal nickname that my grandparents and parents know and often call me at home. It was weird and confusing when I first heard his voice back in the past; but now, it is the familiar, much desired, and loving voice that my soul recognizes deep from within.
The Holy Spirit speaks the truth and of peace. He assists and empowers us with His gifts to carry out our divine mission and purpose as children of the Heavenly Father and disciples of Christ Jesus by making us His loving instruments of peace. He is not simply an instrument of God or the least powerful and favorite of the three persons of the Holy Trinity. He is equal and in complete unity with the Father and the Son! He is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the real love that unites and makes distinctive the Father and the Son. He is the One that is among us now to bring into completion what began with the works of creation and redemption. This is His time: the time of grace, sanctification, mission, and true love. Unquestionably, as Christians, we need Him now more than ever until our faith journey is complete.
Without the Holy Spirit, there would not be the Church because we would be too divided and worried about ourselves. Without Him, we cannot discern and understand the truth and what is right. Without Him, we would be lost in the midst of many different things pulling us apart, and at times, even our very selves because we are conflicted and confused about what we really want and desire. Why? As broken and fallen people, we tend to simply focus on lesser, immediate, and gratifying things.
Through the power and working of the Holy Spirit, we are able to understand, recognize, and embrace who we are deep from within as to become more Christ-like in words and actions, life and mission, as to be able to pray, preach, teach, and share the divine life that is within us with others. He teaches us the true communion we have with one another through Christ and to be able to call to our Heavenly Father, “Abba, Father!” because He is that intimate and loving union of the Father and Son. The Paraclete is real and His power is working within us if we truly humble ourselves, still our souls, and open up our hearts to invite Him in! If each and every one of us humbly opens our hearts to Him, we will be set on fire just like the Apostles and early disciples. We will become instrumental to the life of the Church and complementary to one another. He will empower us and enables our gifts deep from within so we can know and be comfortable with our places in the grand scheme of things. The Divine Conductor is able to use our talents and work beyond our limitations and imperfections to produce a perfect, harmonious, and majestic work of grace.
I believe our world is becoming more individualistic, hurt, and broken because we tend to choose to listen to the wrong voices, worrying only about ourselves and the immediate good of what is in front of us. We like things our ways, desire to be in absolute control, demanding, and very vocal without really giving anything genuine, heartfelt, transparent, and of God. We have said much on social media and are vocal on many issues without saying anything much and substantial at all! This world has divided and makes us stuck in our own very own selves, pitiful, fragile, afraid, and defensive at times, which causes us often times to be envious, jealous, petty, and distrustful. We are somehow always unhappy, and we will remain that way until we allow the Consoler and Paraclete to bring to fulfillment and actualization what has begun in us by the work of creative and redemptive graces.
The Church was born on Pentecost when the Blessed Mother and Apostles received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit‘s life-changing gifts upon them. A small group of people changed the world and set it on fire because they truly believed and dared to love Him! They freed many from the political redundancy and empty hedonism of the time by pointing people to something greater — the fullness of life and grace in God. Their message, preaching, and teaching were contagious and powerful because we dared to believe and professed it with their very own lives. Imagine! If we have just a bit of love and trust like them, we will set the world on fire as well. We are the Church! The questions then become… Do we really believe it? Do we live what we believe? Do we share with others what we have lived and experienced in prayer and worship?
Do not just sit there and complain, waiting for the world to change, my brothers and sisters! We have to change it with our contagious joy, faith, hope, and love. We are truly children of the Heavenly Father, disciples of the Christ Jesus, and instruments of the Holy Spirit… so let us be!
Remember the words of dismissal and sending forth at the end of Mass to go into the world, glorifying the Lord by our lives and make more disciples with our faith.