“Divine Spirit, renew your wonders in our time, as though for a new Pentecost, and grant that the holy church, preserving unanimous and continuous prayer, together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, and also under the guidance of St. Peter, may increase the reign of the Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen”
St. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians (12:7-11,13)
“To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes…. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.”
The Second Vatican Council and in fact the whole history of the Church demonstrates over and over that the
Holy Spirit wants to fill our lives with God’s love, His wisdom and the gifts the Church needs in every age to
proclaim the Gospel. One of the movements of the Holy Spirit in our time is a reawakening of the role of all the baptized in the work of evangelization and the Church’s ministry of salvation. In the past, most people thought that this was the work of priests and religious. That was never the teaching of the church, but somehow this notion became very common. Many people think that the Council gave the laity something to do at the Mass. But this is not what the council fathers saw as the main reforming work of the council. When you read the documents, you see that the Spirit is helping us to rediscover the importance of all the baptized working together and exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit – which all of us have received at baptism. Why? So that the Good News of Jesus can be proclaimed to the world, so that the world might be healed and restored to right relationship with God.
Saint John Paul II wrote “I am convinced that... this world is much in need of this action of the Holy Spirit, and
it needs many instruments for this action. I see this movement everywhere.”
Pope Benedict XVI also wrote: “What we learn in the New Testament on charisms (gifts of the Holy Spirit), which appeared as visible signs of the coming of the Holy Spirit, is not an historical event of the past, but a reality ever alive. It is the same divine Spirit, the soul of the Church, that acts in every age and those mysterious and effective interventions of the Spirit are manifest in our time in a providential way.”
Why do we all need to experience the empowerment of the Holy Spirit? Because God has always called the Church to proclaim the Good News, that Jesus loves us, has died for our sins and has risen so that we might have life in the Spirit, now and forever. The Lord wants all of us to live in the grace and power of the Spirit and to exercise the spiritual gifts that each person has received for the building up of the Body of Christ.
Some of us have been called by the Spirit to exercise generosity and hospitality, some of us are gifted with wisdom and supernatural faith, some of us have been given the gift of healing, some the gift of service, still others the gifts of leadership and teaching, and there are a multitude of other gifts that the Spirit has given to each of us. Why? So that the Church, the Body of Christ can produce the fruits of love, joy, peace and make God’s love and mercy available to everyone.
To welcome the Spirit into our lives involves a certain risk, because although God loves us as we are, He wants us to change, grow and mature into the person He knows we can be. There is always that tendency in us to be afraid of the new, to want to stay in the past because that’s where we’re comfortable. I think that the main reason so many of us are afraid of the new and of change, is because we all have hurts and wounds, and these cause us to put up defense mechanisms, because we want to protect ourselves. But the problem with this is, we only remain bound in our wounds and hurts and never reach our full potential in Christ. God wants us to be free and to be able to walk in confidence.
The Holy Spirit is, if you will, the engine, the power that directs the Christian life. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of St. John “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” (John 16:8)