I was at a RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) workshop some weeks ago and a participant shared that the Holy Spirit only became a force in her life years after her Confirmation when she actually became an RCIA sponsor.
Her confirmation came and went and the Holy Spirit was not, as yet, a force in her life until, in explaining it to others the mystery of the Holy Spirit came alive for her.
Is it the same for you and for me?
Are we missing out on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives through ignorance and apathy? Or perhaps through not taking the promises of Jesus seriously or taking God for granted?
* gives life ( John 7:38 );
* gives gifts ( 1 Corinthians 12 );
* counsels, reminds us of scripture and teaches all things ( John 14:26 );
* encourages ( Acts 9:31)
* steps in on our behalf ( Romans 8:23 );
* intercedes for us with groaning, prompting us to pray (Romans 8:26)
* builds us up and searches our hearts ( Romans 8:27 );
* leads us to obedience ( 2 Corinthians 3:5 );
* brings to mind ( 1 John 2:20, 27 )
* energizes and makes effective ( Acts 1:8 ).
* talks to us (Acts 13;2, 16:6-7, Revelation 2:7)
The Gifts explained (adapted from Catechist magazine)
WISDOM: opens us to the wider, deeper view of things that come from God. As we grow in awareness of God’s loving presence everywhere, in, and all around us, permeating our reality, we become open to new and greater possibilities.
UNDERSTANDING: gives us deeper insight into life and faith. It helps us to “stand under” with humility, not “over”, in haughtiness and pride. It helps us to be tolerant, patient, and kind towards ourselves and others in times of weakness, suffering, and confusion.
COUNSEL: frees us from the pain of making difficult decisions by ourselves. We turn to the Holy Spirit and to others for advice and guidance. We make sound judgments and responsible choices.
FORTITUDE frees us from fear and strengthens us to live our faith openly. It gives courage that enables us to choose what is right and stay on the God-ward path through challenges, difficulties and disappointments, knowing all will be well.
KNOWLEDGE expands and broadens our mind and heart so that we are open to learning from good people, books, life experiences, and prayer. We are better able to see the goodness and perfection of God in all things.
PIETY inspires us to praise God in the Church’s prayer life and in our own private prayer. The gift of piety helps us to discover God’s holiness in the Church, its worship and its people. It helps us discover the holiness in ourselves.
WONDER /AWE/ FEAR OF THE LORD helps us to have a healthy fear of separating ourselves from God and from our fellow Christians. It allows us to stand in wonder and awe before God’s majesty, power and goodness, and to deeply respect the presence of our loving Creator in the universe, nature, other people, ourselves, and in our life experiences.
The Holy Spirit in the Church
Often we think of the Holy Sprit alive and active in our individual personal lives and we forget that the Holy Sprit is active also in the Church.
At Pentecost the Church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit in wind and flame on a group of frightened people, transforming them into persons daring to live outrageous lives for Jesus. It is through them that the Church has spread throughout the world.
The stories of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are given to us in the Acts of the Apostles. Here are some:
Acts 4:31: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldly”.
Acts: 5:32: “we are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit…”
It was through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the very first council of the Church was held in Jerusalem. The ground-breaking outcome was delivered in these words, “It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves” (Acts: 15:28).
It was through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council. This council opened the windows and doors of the Church to let the Holy Spirit blow through. Unlike most councils that were convened to deal with a heresy this one was held so that the Church could look at itself and see how it was answering the call of Jesus, “Go make disciples of all nations”.
It is through the inspiration of the Sprit that the Catholic Church here in this Archdiocese is in the process of Synod implementation, daring to think afresh.
Come, Holy Sprit, let your fire fall! – Sr Marie Young, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office