Gospel Matters: “Come, Holy Spirit”

Dr. Christine E. Wood, Director of the Office of Evangelisation & Catechesis

What is the greatest gift you’ve received? Perhaps it’s a wonderful spouse or child, a loving home, or even just a quiet, secure place for yourself. As wonderful as these gifts are, could there be something greater? Perhaps we’ve already received something greater without realising it? Or perhaps we are yet to receive the greatest gift?

I would propose that the greatest gift is the Holy Spirit. St James says that every good and perfect gift comes from our Father who is in heaven. Before his Ascension, Jesus said to his Apostles, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

The Holy Spirit is the first gift Christ bestows upon his Apostles immediately after ascending into heaven. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit falls upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary in an astonishing way. The noise of a mighty wind and the tongues of fire grabbed their attention as they prayed together. And immediately they boldly proclaim to those in Jerusalem, “this Jesus whom you crucified” is risen from the dead!

At the Last Supper, Jesus promises to send the Counsellor to his Apostles. This Counsellor will convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Why might this be considered a gift? Because it is the first stage of repentance. It is the movement away from what harms us, towards reconciliation with the Lord of life. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The lord of darkness loves to confuse and bind us in chains to sin. But the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, who breaks this bondage and brings light to our minds. Jesus said, “the truth will set you free.” Again, this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has been poured into the hearts of those who have faith and are baptised. But sometimes we may struggle to see evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In this case, we need to repent of any sin, seek forgiveness, and ask the Holy Spirit to pour out his gifts upon us. Ask for his gifts of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and counsel to end the confusion in our minds. Beseech him for courage, piety, and fear of the Lord to strength and guide our hearts to love in a Godly way.

Perhaps we could make a renewed effort to pray this ancient prayer daily: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faith and enkindle in them the fire of your love…”

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