The Sanctifier, the Consoler and Counselor, the Paraclete, the Gift from God most high, the Finger of God, the Interior Master of the soul, Uncreated love, the mutual embrace between Father and Son, Faithful Friend, Sweet Guest of the soul, Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, Fire, Light, Window, Wind, both gentle and powerful—all of these are titles that have been given to the Holy Spirit through the ages! Let us get to know the Holy Spirit, love the Holy Spirit, be docile to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and become a pliable and most useful instrument in His hands for the salvation of countless immortal souls.
The following are practical and concrete ways that we can incorporate the Person of the Holy Spirit in the center of our thoughts, decisions, words and actions. In a word, may we be totally possessed by the Holy Spirit!
1. Prayer. Get into the habit of praying to the Holy Spirit with greater frequency. Especially before important decisions and actions we should invoke the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. The radical transformation of the Apostles came about only after the Apostles, in union with the Blessed Virgin Mary, made a powerful charismatic retreat. This retreat was characterized by silence, fasting, prolonged prayer. The net result produced wind, fire, shaking of the place where they were united and finally the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire. (Acts of the Apostles 2) Then and only then were the Apostles spiritually equipped to preach the Word of God throughout the entire world, convert countless souls and all of them with the exception of the Beloved Apostle Saint John, terminated their lives by imitating Jesus by shedding their blood as martyrs! All of this can be attributed to the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. All of us a need a powerful Pentecost experience to transform our lives. A short prayer that all of us can memorize even now is the following: “Come Holy Spirit, come, through the heart of Mary.” May we breathe this prayer so as to receive the Breath of God—the Holy Spirit.
2. Docility. Another way of explaining docility is that of being opened to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Jacques Philippe in his masterful work on the Holy Spirit, The School of the Holy Spirit, cites an example from his life as retreat master. He recounts that on one occasion he returned from a retreat drained of strength. However, he felt the inspiration—from the Holy Spirit- to go to the chapel and to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament before retiring for the night. After an initial resistance he capitulated and made the short visit to Jesus who was waiting for him in the Blessed Sacrament. The visit mas not long but it was very meaningful towards Jesus and important for Fr. Jacques. Consequently he retired to his room slept well and experienced the consolation of the Holy Spirit. What would have happened if he were to have resisted that inspiration from the Holy Spirit? Possibly he would not have slept well that night, gotten up tired and possibly out of sorts the following day! All depends on listening interiorly to the Sweet Guest of the Soul—the Holy Spirit—and responding with our “Yes!” This is the secret to living in constant peace and joy. Remember the words of the Psalmist: “If today you hear his voice harden not your hearts.”(Psalm 95) Another is that of young Samuel in the temple: “Speak O Lord for your servant is listening.”(I Samuel 3)
3. Acts of the Apostles. During the course of Easter Season which culminates on Pentecost—the Feast of the Holy Spirit par excellence—the First Reading in the Mass is taken from the Acts of the Holy Spirit. This can be considered the action book of the Bible; written by Saint Luke it is also known as the “Gospel of the Holy Spirit.” Consisting of twenty eight chapters, the book is marvelous and for many reasons. One of the primary reasons for the beauty, the appeal and the fascination of this book is the pervasive presence of the Holy Spirit. Starting with Pentecost (Acts 2) to the person of Philip the Deacon (docile to the max to the Holy Spirit), moving on to Saint Stephen the Proto-martyr, manifesting the eloquence and courage, the obvious working of the Holy Spirit, and page after page, this is an excellent way to get to know better the Holy Spirit and His action on the primitive church. May the Holy Spirit start to act in our persons and lives all the more powerfully right now!
4. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Today very few followers of Jesus know anything about the powerful Gifts of the Holy Spirit, much less the purpose and action of these Gifts on the soul. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are seven: Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. The Fathers of the Church give the analogy of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit related to a sailboat. Follow this simple but beautiful analogy: The boat is our soul; the seven sails are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The powerful wind is the breath of God or the Holy Spirit. Finally, the shore towards which the Sailboat is heading is our heavenly home. The key, however, is this: the sails must be wide opened so as to catch the wind. Our souls must be opened so as to catch the wind—the gentle but insistent inspirations of the Holy Spirit. If done on a constant basis we will reach the shore which is eternal life with God in heaven.
5. Mary and the Holy Spirit. Years ago Cardinal Suenens was invited to celebrate Mass and to preach in Duquesne University. The Mass had to be celebrated in an outdoor stadium due to the numbers of those charismatics participating in the event. As it turned out the day was overcast, cloudy and starting to drizzle; possibly the Mass would have to be cancelled! However something extraordinary happened! When the Cardinal got up to preach his homily he said this: “Do you want to know the true secret to union with the Holy Spirit???” Silence! Then the Cardinal responded to his own question: “Deep union with the Holy Spirit will come through deep union with Mary!”
In that moment there was thunder and lightning and the clouds dissipated and the sun broke forth on all in the stadium! God through nature was proving His love for Mary! Saint Louis de Montfort asserted: “Those who love Mary, the Holy Spirit flings Himself into their souls.” The same saint highlights Mary’s presence in the Blessed Trinity. Mary is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son and she is the Mystical Spouse or Bride of the Holy Spirit. May we all experience our own personal Pentecost, outpouring of the Holy Spirit. ‘Come Holy Spirit, come through the Heart of Mary.”