After His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and told them: “. . . You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
As Christians, we first received the Holy Spirit when we were baptized. In Jerusalem, St. Peter declared to the crowd: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38) St. Paul also reminds us: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:19)
In Confirmation, the same Holy Spirit is once again given to us. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.” (#1302)
In Jerusalem after Jesus’ Ascension, the apostles were assembled in the upper room as a community. They remained there in prayer together with Mary, the mother of Jesus, in preparation for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them at Pentecost. (See Acts 1:13-14)
Each year we should prepare similarly as we approach Pentecost Sunday. The idea of a novena—nine consecutive days of prayer—took place in the early Church between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday. We should pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon ourselves, our families, our parish, the Church, our nation, and our entire world. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us, to strengthen us, to protect us and to fill us with His love.
Pray for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit to fill your lives. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (See Isaiah 11:2) are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. The fruits of the Holy Spirit, according to the Catechism (#1832), are “perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: ‘charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.’" (Gal. 5:22-23)
Remember that the Holy Spirit is a Person—the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. Sometimes the limited images (tongues of fire, a dove, etc.) used to describe this mysterious Person may restrict our thinking and understanding. We should strive to know and truly love this mysterious Person. There should be a certain intimate relationship that we establish with the Holy Spirit through prayer.
Begin praying that the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of all believers and enkindles in them the fire of His love more fully!
Fr. Ed Namiotka