Teaching on the Holy Spirit and Preparing for Pentecost

Given 5/15/03 at Holly Oaks

 

Let us begin with a prayer to the Holy Spirit.  This is a very ancient prayer in the Church that is still used.  We seldom use it in the West, but it is used in the Eastern Church every week.

 

O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present, fill all things.  Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and dwell within us; cleanse us of all stain and save our souls, O Thou gracious Lord.  Amen.

 

Today Monsignor picked the Holy Spirit as the topic because we are coming upon Pentecost in a couple of weeks and this is a time to be used in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit in a greater abundance spiritually in our every day life.

I was so glad this topic was chosen because of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit for most people is the least known or understood, especially in the Western Church.  There isn’t among the general populace a great devotion to the Holy Spirit, which is not true of our Eastern brothers.

Since ‘92, I have called the Holy Spirit the ‘Holy One’.  As Jesus and Mother taught me, to love Jesus, to come to know and understand our Father, I realized that I did not have a great love or devotion to the Holy Spirit; I really did not understand the Holy Spirit at all, so I began praying.  Every day I said ‘Holy One, would You teach me to know and love You; to really know and love You?’  In 1992, Abba came and one day He was speaking, and in vision I saw coming up behind Him another Person Who, as He approached, was so holy and so full of life.  The Holy Spirit is spirit, but I was seeing Him in a way I could understand.  Abba turned and motioned and said ‘This is the One you call the Holy One’ and there was a chuckle in His Voice and it wasn’t until the next day that I realized that it might have been insulting that I only called One of Them ‘Holy’.  That began a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit.  It’s as if my heart opened and I began to understand how He is the very Life within us, that we can only know and understand things correctly through Him; how there is not a possibility of knowing and loving either the Father or the Son without the Holy Spirit.  You would think that I should know that as I had good teaching in grade school, high school and even college, but getting it from the head to the heart is a whole different journey.

When I went to the Lord last Wednesday and I asked Him how He would like me to present this on the Holy Spirit, He gave me this message.  He said;

          It is I, Jesus.  Child, write.

Child, speak of My Holy Spirit.  Speak of His power to change.  He takes you from glory to glory (this comes from 2Cor3:17-18).  He transforms you into children of the Most High.  Speak of His gifts to His children and speak of Love’s desire to lift you through these gifts.  Help My children to understand that Love loves them.

I bless you.

So I went back, because I have spoken to you about the gifts of the Holy Spirit before, and asked the Blessed Mother ‘How do I do this?  I can give them a long teaching on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit’ and Mother said ‘Simply, do it simply’.  I prayed and went to the Holy Spirit, Who I should have gone to first, and what came to my heart was that we can discuss the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but that is usually as far as our understanding of the Holy Spirit working with us, His living with us, comes to.  We never get beyond ‘Yes, He comes to us in Confirmation, we get these gifts.  He helps us use them, and I think I understand the gifts’.  But that never breaks that barrier, or makes a bridge, where you come to know Him, so I went to the Catechism and looked under the Holy Spirit under Acts in All Mankind because I thought this might help you to understand a little bit better.  They list at least a dozen things that the Holy Spirit does actively each day in our life.  We’ll go back over them, but I’ll just list them quickly.

          Animates all creation.

          Awakens faith.

          Comes unceasingly into the world.

          Enables communication with Christ.

          Grants gifts to all.

          Helps man grow in spiritual freedom.

          Master and source of prayer.

          Principal Author of Holy Scripture.

          Restores the Divine Likeness.

          Reveals God.

          Reveals the Trinity.

          Source of all holiness.

We know Abba is the Thought, Jesus is the Word, the Holy Spirit is Life.  At the creation of all things, the Trinity is present.  Each day for us life is renewed.  Physically our bodies repair, around us nature renews itself each day.  All of this happens through the Holy Spirit.  In our modern world, where God is separated from us and put into a little pigeonhole that is opened up on Sundays, and maybe at prayer time during the day, we lose the reality that we exist, all around us exists, because God is ever present.  The Holy Spirit is ever present and renewing.  That alone would give you enough to meditate on the rest of your life and be grateful for.  The gift of life, the bringing forth of children into the world, is an act between a man, a woman and God.  That is why it is so sacred, that is why it cannot be done outside of the bonds of marriage.  This is a triumvirate, it is a work between three that brings about life, and that would be whole discussion of itself.

He awakens faith.  It says in Scripture that we cannot know Jesus unless the Father draws us to Him, we cannot know the Father unless the Son takes us to Him, but that desire to know, to want to reach out, comes from the Holy Spirit.  The ability to believe is a gift of the Spirit and the one step more comes by way of the Holy Spirit.  The one step more is the difference between just believing and having an active relationship with the Lord, a real love for the Lord.  None of this can happen without the presence of the Holy Spirit.  As our groups met throughout these last almost four years now, at every meeting I said that each day please begin the day with a prayer to the Holy Spirit asking Him to rule our thoughts, our words, our actions; to grant us His gifts, to teach us to use them; to be ever present in the day because we cannot know the Will of the Father without the Holy Spirit.  We cannot even come to Jesus without the Holy Spirit.  Because Mother is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, if we ask to know our Mother, to love Her more, to open our hearts so She can teach us, if we ask this of the Holy Spirit, it is a given because He so treasures Her.  The way to true devotion is always through the Holy Spirit.  He comes unceasingly into the world.  The day the Holy Spirit is not present in the world, the world ceases.  The Lord has promised that there will never be a time that the Holy Spirit will not be with the Church; that’s why the Church will last until the last day and will enter into the Kingdom.  If there would ever had been a time that the Holy Spirit was not active and present in the Church, it would have ceased to exist.  That’s why so many little sects that pop up and float around then disappear and are forgotten forever.  They are man-made, they’re not brought forth by the Spirit.

He enables communication with Christ.  So many believe that Jesus is easy to come to know because He had a human nature, and we can learn to know Jesus on that level because we know He was born, He lived, He suffered, He died, and on the human level we can accept this, but it takes a spiritual level to believe that His Death opened Heaven.  It takes spiritual grace to believe in the Resurrection, His Ascension, and that He will come again.  There are many who claim that they believe in Jesus, but they don’t live according to His Way because they don’t understand Him.  They only know Him as a nice man who did wonderful things, who had a wonderful philosophy that is the best philosophy that has come down the road and they should live by it, but if it gets in their way, they can sidestep it; there are always exceptions to the rule if it doesn’t quite fit into their life.  They know only on the human level.  It takes the Holy Spirit to open the Christ to them, to open the Messiah to them, to open their spirit to the great gift of the Word Incarnate coming into the world, and that only happens by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

He grants gifts to all.  Each of us has been given the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Baptism.  They are opened like a wonderful gift at Confirmation, but they are very little used if we don’t learn to walk in those gifts.  They can be detrimental if we don’t learn humility and ask the Lord how to use those gifts.  We each have gifts, but we first need to know what gifts God gave us predominantly.  We get all the gifts, but some are given in more abundance than others because it is part of the work we have in the Mystical Body of Christ.  Therefore, the first question we should ask is ‘Please show me which gifts you have given me for the work in the Body of Christ, then teach me to use them wisely for the Glory of God, the good of my soul and the good of others, and teach me when to use them.’  That last part is the one most people never ask.  They never think to ask when to use the gifts.  To possess these gifts is wonderful, but prudence tells us that there is a good time to use them and there is a time that we need to sit back and let others use their gifts.  If everyone is pushing forward strongly then the work of God does not progress as it should, so we need to go to the Spirit and ask Him to teach us all three.

He helps man to grow in spiritual freedom.  This the Lord promised us; He would set us free and we really don’t know what this means.  The type of freedom that the Lord is talking about is the freedom that comes from the Spirit.  It is the freedom of being children of God and in that freedom we are set free of worries.  We are set free of being trapped by confusion; from allowing the everyday ups and downs of the world, and sometimes the tragedies that happen, to overwhelm us.  He lifts us, He helps us, He elevates us to see through the Eyes of God the good things that can come from our trials, our sufferings and He teaches us to unite these things to Christ for the good of the whole Church, for the good of our own soul and for the Glory of God. 

He is the Master and Source of prayer.  You cannot pray without the Holy Spirit.  He opens our hearts to reach for God.  There are often times when we are in a time of dryness that we say ‘I can’t think of one word to say’.  We just sit there and all of a sudden the Holy Spirit will guide us into a thought, a little line of meditation.  It doesn’t have to be long; it just has to be a sincere reaching.  There are times we pray, and we can be saying the rosary or a prayer we say every day, and all of sudden one word or one line hits us in a way that has never affected us before, lifts our thoughts to a level that we have never been to before, and this is the Holy Spirit working.  Before we pray, we should ask the Holy Spirit to help us to pray, and I forget that one almost all the time. 

He is the principal Author of Holy Scripture.  That, also, is a whole discussion in itself.  There are the writings that have come to us, the Gospels, the Epistles, that we believe are inspired by the Holy Spirit.  It goes one step beyond.  Scripture wasn’t put together until almost 400 years after Jesus ascended.  How did the Church choose what would be put in?  There were other Letters of Paul, there were other Letters of the Apostles; the Holy Spirit guided.  As the Councils and the meetings were held, Divine Light is given and Scripture is brought forth the way we know it.  There is value in all the others, and scholars study all the others.  The Trinity says the Holy Spirit enlightens, this is what you need.  This is the Book of Life.  Read it, live it and you will reach Eternal Life.  Through the gift of the Spirit to believe, we trust, we read, we try to live and we trust in God’s promise that if we do all these things we reach Eternal Life, forever we will be with the Trinity.

He restores the Divine Likeness.  We should pray every day to be made into the image and likeness of Jesus.  We are the children of the Father.  The way to know that we are living according to the Will of the Father is to do what the Son does.  We are told through Scripture how He lived and acted on the earth.  Jesus is still doing through the Church, through us, and the Holy Spirit opens this to us.  He gives us the grace to want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  He gives the strength to do this, and in the walking of this path, we are made into the image and likeness of Jesus; we begin to become holy.  We have said that there is no one in Heaven who is not a Saint.  If you’re going to wait for some day to become a saint, you may miss the chance of ever getting to Heaven.  If God wasn’t merciful and had Purgatory as a ‘catch net’ for us, very few would make it because we’re a little lazy and we always think we have time, or being holy belongs to the great Saints and I’ll just try to squeak by, but that holiness required to be in the presence of the Trinity is to be gained here; is to begin here.  It can begin here if we will allow the Holy Spirit to refine us, purify us, to teach us, to guide us, but when you ask Him to do that, hold on to your hat.  A priest told a very good story, the best story I’ve ever heard on this.  When he was in India about the time he was working with Mother Teresa, he was teaching the congregation about the Holy Spirit and he had a lady who came and said to him ‘Father, I’d really like to turn my life over to the Holy Spirit and I prayed and asked Him to take out of my life that which hinders me from reaching God.’  When she went home, her house was gone – she loved possessions.  So whenever this priest tells the story he says ‘Be careful, but ask Him, He will respond’.  God will respond to your prayer.  There is nothing that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit want more than God’s children home with Them.  If you ask, He will begin the refining, the sifting, the purifying.

He reveals God.  It would seem self-evident that even the smallest child who has reached the age of reason could look about and know that there has to be someone greater than themselves.  It is true.  Even in the most pagan cultures, there is belief that there is someone greater than themselves, but that is not the same thing as God being revealed to us in His Mercy, in His Love, in His Fatherhood, through all the aspects that He reaches out and touches us and guides.  At any one time, God is to us father, mother, brother, sister, friend, confidant, or should be all these things to us.  As we draw ever closer in our relationship to Him, we turn more and more to Him, not only in trial and suffering, but our joy.  We want to share.  That is what our best friend and confidant is for.  This is what God is supposed to be for us.  He is our All.  To know how to know God in all these different aspects, the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us.  He reveals Himself, He reveals the Father, our Jesus, the Redeemer.  He reveals not only the mercy, but the great goodness of God and that He is reachable, and that is the hardest thing for people to come to understand.  Even people who are striving to live a really good and holy life sometimes believe that God is not reachable; that He is not someone that you can just sit down and talk to; that you have to approach Him with such reverence and awe that you can’t open your heart and really talk to Him.  They believe you can put your petitions before Him and you can be thankful, but that sometimes when you’re really frustrated and you’re really angry He is not reachable and you can come to Him and say ‘Father, or Jesus, or Holy Spirit, I just have to tell you how I’m feeling and then you change what’s in my heart, but I’m really angry.  I feel I’ve been hurt unnecessarily, I feel like You’re not listening to my prayer.  I see people around me suffering and I don’t know what to do.  Only You can fix it and You are not seeming to hear what I’m asking of You.  I know that You are Good and I know that it will come about, but right now these are the emotions that I have.’  It would really be nice to say that we always have our emotions under control, but we are flesh and blood with real emotions.  We can give those emotions to God.  He gives us the peace that we need and the guidance to deal with these things, but if we keep everything bottled up and go before Him saying ‘O Mighty One, do something’ we are not opening our heart to let Him act.  This is the revealing of God.

He reveals the Trinity, the three Persons of the Trinity.  He reveals how each Person acts and interacts with us, how we are to act and interact with Them.  It is such a blessed journey to learn how the Three Persons are not only One, but are distinct.  He shows us how we can come to each One in a very personal way and have a very personal relationship.  This is what the Holy Spirit does for us.

He is the Source of all holiness.  Last week we talked about how holiness is not outward piety; holiness is a struggle to live moment to moment, and day by day, in the Will of God.  That is holiness.  It has its ups and its downs, but that is what we have the Sacraments for; Confession to give us the grace, Sanctifying and Actual, that we need to grow in holiness and to open our hearts, our minds and our spirits to God.  It is through the Eucharist, receiving the Second Person of the Trinity, that we are fed the Living Manna that transforms us into the children of God, into the image and likeness of God.  It is a day to day, moment to moment journey.  It is not outward actions, it is not the amount of prayers that we say, it is not the amount of time that we are before the Blessed Sacrament, it is not the time we are sitting in Church; it is the living of the Will of God which is to love.  All of these things are good, all help us to grow in holiness, but if we do not love God above all things, and our neighbor as ourself, we don’t grow in holiness.  To do either one we have to have the Holy Spirit because to love our neighbor as ourself takes a supernatural love.  We can have compassion, we can have pity, we can even reach out in acts of charity, but to love someone as we love ourself takes God in our life.  This is what I wanted to share with you so that in these last two weeks before Pentecost we take time in our prayer and in our meditations to really reach for the Holy Spirit, to invite Him deeply into our hearts, our lives, our minds, and have Him transform us so that on Pentecost He does come down like fire and cleanse us, renew us, uplift us, and that He show us the Glory of the Trinity.