This Pentecost Sunday I pray not that we might get more of the Holy Spirit but that the Holy Spirit might get more of US–that our will, our reactions, our world-view, our very character should become controlled by the Spirit.
First off, who is the Holy Spirit? Let’s turn to a little known bishop of the first few hundred years of the Church. You’ve probably never heard of this guy. His friends called him Gus. Augustine. He said the Holy Spirit is the GIFT of God’s Love! “There is no gift of God more excellent than this. It alone distinguishes the sons of the eternal kingdom and the sons of eternal perdition.” He is saying the presence of the Holy Spirit is the thing that separates those in heaven from those in hell. Gus and another unknown teacher named Tommy (Thomas) have described the Holy Spirit as the love between the Father and the Son. Or sometimes the love is described as the love between the Lover and the Beloved. The third Person is the Love.
So how does the Holy Spirit come to us? Initially and traditionally through Baptism. Occasionally through an encounter that starts with a little burst of faith and reception.
All four Gospels have the baptism with a formula that makes John’s baptism different from Jesus’—John the Baptist performed a baptism of repentance with water. Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit. If the word baptism means to be dunked, drowned, submerged… imagine being dunked, drowned, submerged into the actual love of God, into his Spirit. WOW!
Why does God send us His Spirit? God created us–but that’s not enough. Jesus becomes one of us—but that’s not enough. God is still outside us. The Spirit comes to live inside us. Now he brings us his knowledge, wisdom, faith, hope, love and power so that we are more and more like Jesus. The same Spirit of Jesus is in us. It has the potential to animate our bodies and lives.
Fr. Raneiro Cantalamessa is a wise and wonderful theologian, author and preacher to the Pope. He says:
“Now we need to understand the word ‘baptism’. ‘Baptism’ is a Greek word that can be understood in this way: a sunken wooden ship is a baptized ship. The wood is both completely immersed in the water, and the water has permeated into the very fiber of the wood. Not only has the use of the ship been severely altered, but the very substance of the ship is transformed.
“The plan of God in our lives is the same as in the life of Jesus when He walked the earth in the limitations of humanity. It was the Holy Spirit that caused Him to be conceived and was with Him as He grew and matured in obedience. The Holy Spirit empowered Him to walk in ministry in Israel, suffer, be crucified on our behalf, and be willing to die so that His Father’s plan might take full effect for all of us. This same Spirit of Holiness that enabled Him is now given by Him to enable us to walk in holiness of life with Him and in Him and for Him.
“Holiness is most simply understood as single-mindedness in wanting God to have the joy of guiding and enabling our lives.”
Let the Holy Spirit take you! Let your mind align with God’s! Here is a beautiful prayer to pray alongside Jesus:
ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant is listening.” Amen.