We celebrate the feast of Pentecost. It was the second of three great Jewish Feasts. For the Jews it was a day of thanksgiving for the completion of the harvest. However, on this day a great transformation took place in the small group of disciples. Holy Spirit descended upon them like tongues of fire, and they were
transformed. They became courageous and began to speak boldly in different languages.
Holy Spirit in our lives
We have been Baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Yet some of us may be confused and doubtful whether the Holy Spirit remains with us or not? We can be puzzled as we hear some of the Christians saying, that we need to be born again to experience the Spirit’s presence. Again the Charismatics will assert that you need to baptized in the Holy Spirit.
We need to know that all Christians receive the Spirit upon their Baptism. We have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and we have been given the Holy Spirit. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).
If we have received Holy Spirit at Baptism why do we need the sacrament of confirmation again? Confirmation means strengthening or deepening one’s relationship with God. Confirmation confers additional grace. It enables a baptised person to confirm the promises made on their behalf at baptism. It is also a sign of full membership to the Christian community. Confirmation enables the candidates to know better their faith, learn about the sacraments and to be aware of their Christian responsibilities.
God gives the Spirit on the basis of faith, not on the basis of legalistic works. By the giving of the Spirit, we have been consecrated to God. This giving of the Spirit gives us assurance. “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 John 3:24). “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit” (1 John 4:13). Christians are the temple in which God’s Spirit dwells. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
How do we know the Holy Spirit is in us?
St. Francis de Sales illustrates the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives by an example from the book of Judges. “Samson, the strongest of men, did not perceive the supernatural strength with which God had invested him, unless on rare occasions; and hence it is said that when he met with lions or enemies, the Spirit of God seized upon him to destroy them. Thus God, who does nothing in vain, gives us strength and courage only when we require them; and, therefore, we must always hope that in every occurrence, He will aid us, if we invoke Him.”
Keep the fire of the Holy Spirit burning in our lives, by trimming the wick and pouring fresh oil in our lamps. By obeying God’s commandments, praying regularly, making regular confessions and renewing our friendship with the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit of God may dwell with us always.