With today’s feast of Pentecost, and the end of the Easter season, it is perhaps time to turn our minds to the Lord’s gift of the Holy Spirit. Of the three persons of the Trinity—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—it seems the Holy Spirit is the one person we Catholics think the least about. We do so at our own peril because it is the Holy Spirit that destroys what is un-Godlike and unholy in our character and molds us into an image of God. It is the Holy Spirit that helps us apply God’s eternal will to our everyday lives by inclining us to think and to judge, to choose, and to act according to God’s will for our lives.
The Holy Spirit constantly reminds us of our obligations to know God as He truly is—a God of Love. The Holy Spirit is always trying to reshape in our memory the portrait we have of God, so often discolored by ignorance, misunderstanding, sentiment, and prejudice. It’s really surprising how many of our difficulties arise from a misconception of what God is truly like.
The Holy Spirit is constantly inviting us to reflect on the revelation God makes of himself in the Sacred Scriptures, in His teaching church, and above all, in the words and actions of the Incarnate Son of God. We must come to know God as He really is. Only then will He be for us the supremely attractive goal of our thoughts, desires, and actions.
With regard to ourselves, the Holy Spirit revamps our thinking, causing us to look at ourselves as unique individuals whose basic mission in life is to reproduce a likeness to God in a way that no other person can do. God has given each of us unique talents and gifts to achieve this lifelong project.
The Holy Spirit teaches us how to use all things: health or sickness, success or failure, appreciation or misunderstanding, etc., for our spiritual profit. He shows us how to combat discouragement; He feeds us with renewed courage; and helps us to use our failures as stepping stones for spiritual progress.
The Spirit of God inspires us to put God first and ourselves last in all things. The Holy Spirit promotes peace and joy even in the midst of bitter crosses. The Holy Spirit is indifferent to human respect and opinions, making the will of God the norm of its actions. The Spirit has no desire or interest in the sensational, rather the Spirit is content with the ordinary means of holiness.
The Holy Spirit manifests himself, above all, in an ever-present and truly effective love of God and neighbor, for God is love and his presence will always be shown by a selfless love of others. This, before all else, shows of what spirit we are—for as Saint Paul says, “The charity of God is poured forth into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
It is the Holy Spirit who makes us realize that holiness is not just a dream beyond our reach but a reality available to everyone who wills it! And it is the Holy Spirit who causes us to will it effectively!