Learning how the Holy Spirit works

Today, 27 May 2012, is the Feast Day of Pentecost for the whole Church, and the beginning of the Year of Grace for the Church in Australia. So today, in honour of the Holy Spirit and his vast works of Grace within the Church, we will learn a bit more about Him from a few sources less frequently read. May He be praised, adored and glorified.

This first except comes from the The Revelations of St Birgitta (Bridget) of Sweden Volume 2 compiled by Bridget Morris and Denis Searby, Chapter 12 : ‘The Virgin Mother speaks: ‘In this world God’s friends must sometimes find themselves spiritually distressed, at other times spiritually comforted. Spiritual consolation means the infusion of the Holy Spirit, contemplating God’s great works, admiring His forbearance, and putting all this cheerfully into practice. Spiritual distress is when the mind is involuntarily disturbed by unclean and vexing thoughts, when it suffers anguish over dishonour shown to God and over the loss of souls, when one’s heart is forced to occupy itself with worldly concerns for a good reason. God’s friends can also at times be comforted with a temporal kind of comfort, such as edifying conversation, decent entertainment, or other activities in which there is nothing demeaning or indecent…If a fist were always held tightly closed, then either the muscles would be strained or the hand would grow weak. It is similar in spiritual matters. If the soul always remained in contemplation, then she would either forget herself and perish through pride, or else her crown of glory would be lessened. The reason why God’s friends are at times comforted by the infusion of the Holy Spirit and are at other times, with God’s permission, distressed is that their distress tears up the roots of sin and firmly plants the fruit of righteousness.’ ‘

It is good to know that if you are not feeling on top of the world with spiritual joy today, that it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit hasn’t been active in your life.

This next excerpt comes from Fr Frederick Faber’s book ‘The Precious Blood’ : ‘Was there ever any such fertility as that of the Holy Spirit? The leaves of the trees, the blades of grass, the matted entanglement of tropical herbs in the moist forest, the countless shoals of living inhabitants of ocean…These are but types of the fecundity of the Holy Spirit in the operations of grace…The poor child, who has no notion of money but in pence, would be bewildered if he were called upon to deal in gold and to count his gold by millions. So we in earthly things are accustomed to dimensions, and to numbers, on so dwarfish a scale, that even our exaggerations will not raise our ideas to the true magnitudes and multitudes of the world of angels…If we try to bring before ourselves the variety of vocations in the world, the strictly peculiar needs of each single soul and the distinctive characteristic shape of the holiness of each single soul, then the multiplicity of the processes of grace prolonged perhaps over half a century or more, we shall see that the arithmetic of even human graces is amazing….Through the instrumentality of the Precious Blood, the Holy Spirit is everywhere and always making all things productive of sanctity in some measure and degree. Sanctification may be called the production of heavenly beauty in the world.’ 

Remembering these luminous words of Fr Faber’s would certainly help us pray ‘…I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified…’ with more gusto. 

Often it is worthwhile revisiting what the Catholic Catechism of St Pius X has to say about the Holy Spirit : ’12. Q. What does the Holy Spirit do in the Church? The Holy Spirit gives life to the Church by His grace and by His gifts, as the soul gives life to the body; He establishes in her the Kingdom of truth and of love; and He helps her to lead her children in safety along the way to Heaven.

Lastly, let us learn a bit from Paul Y. Cho’s experience of the Holy Spirit, from his book ‘Prayer: Key to revival’ : The Holy Spirit can bless you when you read the Scriptures. The holy Spirit can direct you as you witness for Christ. The Holy Spirit can anoint you as you preach and teach the Word of God. But if you want to have an intimate communion with the Holy Spirit you need to pray. I first realised this truth in the early days of my ministry. I tried so hard to lead people to Christ, but with few results. As I was in prayer, the Lord spoke to my hart, ‘how many quail would Israel have caught if they had gone quail hunting in the wilderness?’ I responded, ‘Lord, not too many.’ ‘How did the quail get caught?’ the Lord continued to ask me. I then realised that God sent the wind which brought the quail. The Lord was trying to show me the difference between chasing souls without the Holy Spirit’s strategy and working in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Then the Lord said something to me that totally changed my life, ‘You must get to know and work with the Holy Spirit!’…I have also discovered that I am not smart enough to solve the thousands of problems that come to me regularly. Yet, I can just say to the Holy Spirit, ‘Sweet Spirit, please let me tell You about the problem I have. I know you know the mind of God and You already have the answer.’ With assurance, I then await the answer from the Holy Spirit.’

On this Pentecost day 2012, let us promise the Holy Spirit that we will truly seek His help and His strategies for the work of bringing souls back to God.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, enkindle in them the fire of Your love!


Preparing for Pentecost with Our Lady

In only a few days time the Church universal will be celebrating the great Solemnity of Pentecost. On that first Pentecost all of the believers were gathered together in constant prayer with the Mother of Jesus (cf Acts 1:14). It follows that if we want to come into deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit then we need to make a special place in our lives for the Woman the Holy Spirit overshadowed to bring about the extra ordinary event of the Incarnation of Jesus.

The great Saints all share traits in common : profound love for the Eucharist, meditation upon the Passion, devotion to the Holy Souls in Purgatory, humility, thirst for the graces which come with suffering, a commitment to hours of daily prayer, an apostolate of service towards others and especially an ardent love for Our Lady. Of all the Saints, she is one who can best teach us how to love Jesus, she is the one most able to help us to grow in holiness. The kind of holiness that Jesus wants for us cannot be obtained without her assistance.

The Catechism of St Pius X teaches: Question. What do the Saints teach us on devotion to Mary? Answer. Regarding devotion to Mary the Saints teach us that those who are truly devout to her are loved and protected by her with a most tender Mother’s love, and that with her help they are sure to find Jesus and obtain Paradise. 

This next excerpt comes from ‘To the Priests, Our Lady’s beloved sons’, 22 May 1988, from a and e. ‘On this day of Pentecost of the Marian Year, consecrated to me, I am calling upon you to unite your prayer to that of your heavenly Mother, to obtain the great gift of the Second Pentecost….I am calling upon you all today to enter into the cenacle of my Heart. Thus you will be prepared to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which will transform you and make you the instruments with which Jesus will establish His reign.’

So the best preparation for Pentecost is to unite our prayers to those of Our Lady, joining her in begging the Holy Spirit to send those charisms upon us which will help bring about the kingdom of God and dispell the rampant secularism and atheism of our times.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say (from sections 723, 724 and 725) : ‘In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfills the plan of the Father’s goodness…In Mary, the Holy Spirit manifests the Son of the Father, now become the Son of the Virgin….Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of God’s merciful love, into communion with Christ. And the humble are always the first to accept Him.’

So if we want to come into the fulness of communion with Jesus, we need the aid of the Holy Spirit and the aid of Mary, His Mother.

To begin, renew or strength our relationship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother it is very fruitful to pray a prayer of consecration. This one from St Francis de Sales is a favourite of mine:

Consecration to Our Lady (Prayer of St Francis de Sales)

Most holy Mary, virgin Mother of God, most unworthy though I am to be your servant, yet moved by your Motherly care for me and longing to serve you, I choose you this day to be my Queen, my Advocate, and my Mother. I firmly resolve ever to be devoted to you and to do what I can to encourage others to be devoted to you.  My loving Mother, through the Precious Blood of your Son Jesus shed for me, I beg you to receive me as your servant forever. Aid me in my actions and beg for me the grace never by word or deed or thought to be displeasing in your sight and that of your most holy Son. Remember me, dearest Mother, and do not abandon me at the hour of death. Amen.

Our Lady, Help of Christians, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.