Category Archives: Holy Spirit

Do We Value the Holy Spirit?

“’No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.” (1 Co. 2:9-10 NIV)

St. Paul says that no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God, but in the Holy Spirit, we may come to understand what God has freely given us – words taught not by human wisdom, but by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

In contrast, St. Paul also says that the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they must be spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. 2: 14)

The Holy Spirit gives me a sense of belonging to God – a feeling of security, knowing that the God of all creation is my Father. He is not distant and out of reach. He has made himself available to me by becoming one of us through his son, Jesus, the Messiah. I can see how much he loves me by how he sacrificed his life through the tortuous death of Roman crucifixion. His Spirit gives me the desire to overcome my selfish nature, and love and serve my wife, family and others as much as I am inclined serve myself.

The Holy Spirit helps me to understand that I am to be a good steward of the responsibilities and circumstances in my life, including family, work, and relationships with others. He has taught me to have courage and trust in God when faced with the life threatening illness of cancer, the family challenge of a disabled child or the circumstances that threaten a presumed career path.

The Spirit gives us knowledge and understanding in our perspectives, conduct and relationships. He enables us to see the natural order of God’s creation. Some people see conflict between science and faith, but the Spirit shows us that science is simply the discovery of the mysteries of creation.

How remarkable! Who can equal God’s love for us and the gift of the Holy Spirit which is our enabler in love, wisdom and truth?

I once read that the contrast between living life in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and not doing so is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Jesus said, “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:13)

As we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost this week, are you experiencing the personal presence of God the Father and God the Son enabled by the gift of the Holy Spirit?

Cut to the Heart

471996785Have you ever experienced something someone says to you that “hits you right between the eyes” or “cuts to the heart?” 

This happened to the people who were in Jerusalem from many different nations to celebrate the Jewish Feast of Pentecost.  While there, they witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples and early followers.  The Book of Acts reports that they were amazed to hear the disciples praise God in the many different languages that they represented.

When they asked what this all meant, Peter stood up and boldly stated that Jesus was commended to them by God, performing many signs and wonders, but they had him crucified by the Romans.  God raised him from the dead which Peter, the disciples, and another five hundred followers personally witnessed.  God was now pouring out his Spirit just as the prophet Joel foretold and as Jesus had promised.

Peter then declared, “Therefore, let the whole House of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”  When they heard this, “they were cut to the heart,” and asked what must they do?  Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:36, 38)

The Book of Acts says that three thousand people were added to their number that day.

Forty years ago, I was cut to the heart when I had a personal encounter with Jesus at a healing mass and asked him if he would take the sin in my life.  He did, and just like Peter said, I received a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which became a watershed moment in my life.

As a result, God and his Spirit gave me a new thirst for reading and understanding scripture.  He gave me a desire to be reconciled with anyone I might have offended.  He gave me a new love for my Catholic faith.  His presence began to impact all areas of my life including my work life.

David was cut to the heart when Nathan, through a story, revealed to David his sin of committing adultery with Bathsheba and sending her husband Uriah to the front lines to be killed in battle.  David repented of his sin and God forgave him. (2 Sam. 12)

The Gospel of Luke reports that tax collectors and soldiers were cut to the heart by the preaching of John the Baptist.  They asked John what they must do.  He told the tax collectors not to collect any more taxes than was required, and the soldiers not to exploit their authority over people. (Luke 3:10-14)

The Holy Spirit convicts us of our wrongdoing and opens our eyes to the truth.  Jesus called the Holy Spirit our counselor and advocate, and the Spirit of truth. (John 14:16)  Peter told the crowd on Pentecost that the promise of the Holy Spirit was for them and their children and “for all who are far off.”  That’s us.

If you are not experiencing the fullness of God’s presence in your life, ask the Father for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  It’s a prayer he is sure to answer. (Luke 11:13)