As we approach Pentecost this weekend, it is important for us to see what a precious gift God has given us in the Holy Spirit. This feast dates back to the first century and finds its beginning in the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Disciples nine days after the Ascension of Jesus. In all actuality, Scripture shows us that this Spirit has been promised to us by God since the earliest times. The Old Testament is filled with references to the Holy Spirit beginning with the second verse of Genesis where it is said that the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. When the Church blesses the water to be used for Baptism it says, “At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed upon the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness”. The prophets are continually making reference to the Spirit. The prophet Joel tells us that God will POUR out His Spirit upon us. The prophet Ezekiel says, “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life”. There are too many references to the Holy Spirit within the Old Testament to cover in this short article.
The prophet, John the Baptist, when seeing Jesus tells us that He will BAPTIZE us in the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself promises us the gift of the Holy Spirit. He tells His disciples, “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Right before His Ascension Jesus tell His disciples, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Paraclete, Advocate or Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” There are so many New Testament references about the promise of the Gift of the Holy Spirit that we could not list them all here.
After the Ascension of Jesus, His Disciples, and His mother Mary all gathered in the Upper Room (Cenacle) to pray. They were saddened by His leaving and seemed lost as to what to do next. I think that it is so important to remember that the Blessed Virgin Mary was there praying with the Disciples. She is the Chosen Spouse of the Holy Spirit and her prayers are so very powerful. As I grow in my own faith and openness to the Holy Spirit, I grow in my love and adoration of Mary. The Disciples were so blessed to have her join them in prayer. We too are so blessed to have Mary join us in prayer.
At his Ascension Jesus told His Disciples to go out to every nation and spread the Good News. The Disciples were totally unable to do this command and just sat in the Upper Room and prayed. They prayed for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit for nine days (this is the source of our own nine day novenas) and on the feast of Pentecost it came to them. Luke, in Acts Chapter 2 tells us, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” This Holy Spirit empowered them to be able to do the command of Jesus and to go out to the entire world to proclaim the Good News. You only have to look at the Disciples demeanor before and after Pentecost to see how this Holy Spirit can really EMPOWER us. The Church considers Pentecost its birthday, because the Disciples were now empowered to form the Church.
So what does all this mean to us today? We are given that very same Spirit that the Disciples were given and it should EMPOWER us too. We are given the Spirit in Baptism and are called to see it released more within us at Confirmation. The truth is that many people do not know the POWER that is within them. Do you? St. Paul tells us that Spirit that is within us is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Now that is a powerful Spirit. So why do we not always see this? I believe that quite simply it is because we don’t know about it that much and don’t ask to be baptized, or fully immersed, in the Holy Spirit. It is like someone gives you one million dollars and puts it in your savings account. Unless you know that it is there, and ask to use it, it just sits there. We need to learn that not only is the Holy Spirit within us, but we need to learn how to use it. A good study of the Scriptures and Lives of the Saints can help us with that. Even better is just learning to call upon the Holy Spirit. When is the last time you did that, and when is the last time you prayed to the Holy Spirit? Also, ask your mother Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit to join you in prayer for the Holy Spirit just as she joined the Disciples at Pentecost. Another great source to opening up to this Spirit is by attending a Life in the Spirit Seminar. Many parishes offer this, especially through their Charismatic Prayer meeting. Seek one out; it will change your life. I know that it changed mine.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.