Jesus gave the title of “Promise of the Father” to the Holy Spirit just before His ascension into heaven. He made it clear that something new was going to happen:
And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 1:4-5
Through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was able to come to us in a new way. The Spirit now comes not only through His power and gifts, but also in His very Person to dwell in us.
PROMISED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
There are many stories in the Old Testament that talk about the Spirit of the Lord falling upon a person and then departing from him or her. Usually in these stories the Spirit comes to anoint someone to perform a particular service or ministry. But the prophet Ezekiel, while in Babylonian exile, spoke the word of the Lord about something new that would happen with the Spirit of God and mankind:
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. – Ezekiel 36:26-27
This promise from the Father speaks clearly of a new outpouring of the Spirit that would feature a hypostatic dwelling of the Spirit of God in the hearts of men and bring about an internal renewal and the power to follow all that the Lord commands.
We now know that on the day of Pentecost this promise was fulfilled. Through baptism, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, leaving an indelible mark upon our souls. We have become so filled with the Holy Spirit that St. Paul refers to us as “temples of the Holy Spirit.” With this indwelling of the Holy Spirit come many gifts and manifestations. Here are five of my favorites:
- THE FATHER’S LOVE
Fr. Raneiro Cantalamessa describes the Holy Spirit as “the Father’s love poured into our hearts.” That is why the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit Himself. He fills us with the divine life and love of the Father.
Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. – Romans 5:5
He, then, gives us the “pledge” or “first fruits” of our inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as “God [has] loved us.” This love (the “charity” of 1 Cor. 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received “power” from the Holy Spirit. – CCC 735
- DIVINE SONSHIP
Through the Holy Spirit our true identity as children of God is redeemed and restored, giving us the ability and joy of living in the Father’s love.
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir. – Galatians 4:6-7
The communion of the Holy Spirit in the Church restores to the baptized the divine likeness lost through sin. – CCC 734
- FREEDOM FROM SIN
Truly we are no longer slaves to sin, and while our own effort to conquer sin is indispensable, it is never enough. We receive victory and freedom when we trust in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – 2 Corinthians 3:17
- A SPIRITUAL PERSONAL TRAINER
We are never left alone, destined to walk in confusion or fear; the Holy Spirit is with us to teach us all things. Whenever I am facing difficult circumstances or dealing with difficult people, I always ask the Holy Spirit to teach me how to trust and love through whatever I am facing – and He always does.
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. – John 14:26
- A TASTE OF HEAVEN
By submitting and cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit, we can live in joy, peace, and love. We can taste heaven here on earth.
The fruits of the Spirit 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.” – CCC 1832
As we celebrate Pentecost, let us remember that our primary vocation is to live our lives in and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Life in the Spirit fulfills the vocation of man. This life is made up of divine charity (love of God) and human solidarity (love of neighbor). It is graciously offered as salvation.” – CCC 1699
May we be open to receiving the gifts that the Holy Spirit wants to bestow on us – and allow Him to transform our lives in the process. Have a blessed Pentecost.