What do the Blessed Mother, and many of the great heroes described in the New Testament have in common. The Scriptures say they were all filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It was through the Spirit that Mary was able to conceive the Messiah. What’s more, it was through the Holy Spirit that Mary was able to say “yes” to God’s will and become the Mother of God. In fact, Mary’s entire life was one of ongoing submission to the Holy Spirit—a submission that led her through the transition from parent to disciple to Mother of the Church.
It wasn’t just Mary, either, who needed the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist had known Jesus all his life, but it wasn’t until the Spirit opened his eyes that he could see his cousin as the promised Messiah (John 1:29-34). Of course, all of the apostles were filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The Scriptures also tell us that Elizabeth (Luke 1:41), Zechariah (Luke 1:67), Simeon (Luke 2:25), Stephen (Acts 6:5,7:55), Paul (Acts 9:17), and many others were filled with the Holy Spirit. St. Paul once wrote: “Even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer” (2 Corinthians 5:16) and “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). So Why is it so important to be filled with the Spirit. Well, without the Spirit, the apostles surely would have stayed hiding in Jerusalem, the Scriptures wouldn’t have been written, and you would not be reading this article today!
The best part is that the Spirit is still at work in the same way today. He wants to empower us just as he empowered Mary and other Christian men and women throughout their lives. He wants to guide us just as he guided them, walking beside us at every moment, inspiring us to follow God’s will. And he wants to fill us with his love so that we will evangelize. Perhaps you have already experienced him giving you his wisdom, understanding, counsel, and courage at different points in your life. But whatever you have experienced, he wants to do even more!
The Holy Spirit has been with you since your baptism. He’s the one behind those gentle nudges you get to say a kind word or call up a friend in distress. He’s also the one who prompts you to speak out against evil and avoid doing something that is displeasing to God.
Now is the time to get to know the Holy Spirit even better. Now is the time to ask the Lord to fill you more deeply with his Spirit. This is a prayer you can say every day. Remember, the Lord wants to fill your heart to overflowing with his Spirit, and through you and other Catholic men like you, to renew the face of the earth! So follow Mary’s example and look to the Holy Spirit every day.
“Lord Jesus, fill me afresh with your Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit, and strengthen me to be your disciple. Come, Holy Spirit, empower me, guide me, and give me the wisdom to know God’s will for my life today and always.”
Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism, (http://www2.wau.org/partners/), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us.
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. As the article notes, the Scriptures are full of examples of men and women who were filled with the Holy Spirit, including the Blessed Mother, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon, Stephen, and Paul. What do you think it means to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”? How would you characterize the impact being filled with the Spirit had on each of them?
2. Why is it just as important for you and I to be filled with the Spirit as it was for those New Testament persons mentioned in the article?
3. How have you experienced the work of and power of the Holy Spirit in your life? Share some examples.
4. The last paragraph of the article begins with these words: “Now is the time to get to know the Holy Spirit even better. Now is the time to ask the Lord to fill you more deeply with his Spirit. This is a prayer you can say every day.” Do you believe you need more of the power of the Holy Spirit in your life? In what areas?
5. If you are in a men’s group, take some time at the end of your meeting to pray for one another for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit? Use the prayer at the end of the article as a starting point.