The Gift of Gifts, the Paraclete, the Counselor and Consoler, Friend, Sanctifier, Third Person of the Blessed Trinity—all of these are different titles given to the Person of the Holy Spirit. In an earlier article we explained the power of the Holy Spirit to transform sinners into great saints—as we saw in the Apostles, and especially Simon Peter. Saint John XXIII actually said: “The saints are the masterpieces of the Holy Spirit.” A future saint can be you and me.
In this article we would like to point out ten specific ways that we can deepen our knowledge, love, intimacy and union with the Holy Spirit and thereby allow Him to do the work of transforming us from sinners into saints. It can be done if we become docile instruments in the hands of God who is the Holy Spirit! “Come Holy Spirit, come, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary!”
1. Prayer. Form the habit if praying to the Holy Spirit on a frequent basis. You could pray the traditional prayer to the Holy Spirit: “Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle within us the fire of your divine love.” If you like the hymn in Latin: “Veni Creator”; or the Sequence prayed on Pentecost “Veni, Sancte Spiritus.” Or you might sing the classical hymn to the Holy Spirit, “Come Holy Ghost.” Or it might appeal to you to pray the Litany of the Holy Spirit. Never forget, you can pray and talk to the Holy Spirit using your own words, simply speak to Him from your heart.
2. Acts of the Apostles. Read the book from the Bible, “The Acts of the Apostles”. Written by the Evangelist Saint Luke, this book clearly shows the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles—especially Saint Peter and St. Paul—as well as the formation of the primitive church. As you read be keenly attentive to the presence and workings of the Holy Spirit and beg Him to work powerfully in your own personal life! “Come Holy Spirit come….”
3. Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Get to know the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. You received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit the day of your Baptism. These Gifts were fortified the day of your Confirmation. However, these Gifts must be used and exercised. If these Gifts are not used then they become rusty, dormant, and inactive. Memorize them and study them. Here they are: Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord. These gifts, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, perfect our intellect and our will—so that we can know God more clearly and love Him more ardently.
4. Silence. We must cultivate zones of silence in our daily lives, even though many of us have to combine the Martha and Mary (The Active and the Contemplative) in a harmonious balance. Still the danger is to launch ourselves into a frenetic activism whereby there is little time for prayer and much less for silence. The Holy Spirit speaks to a heart that is ready to listen in silence. With Samuel in the temple we should pray: “Speak O Lord for your servant is listening.”
5. Docility. Silence is a prerequisite to move on to the next step—docility to the Holy Spirit. A person who is living in the state of grace, honestly pursuing a life of holiness and seeking perfection will be exposed to heavenly inspirations that come from the Holy Spirit. The key is an ability to listen to these gentle but insistent inspirations, discern them coming from God and then the most difficult is to follow and obey these inspirations. The Holy Spirit is so to speak a “Gentleman” and will never force Himself upon anybody. Rather, He waits patiently for us to respond and then He can work very powerfully only if we are silent, humble and obedient.
6. Spiritual Readings. Highly to be recommended, with respect to learning to be docile to the Holy Spirit, is the reading of a spiritual masterpiece “The School of the Holy Spirit”, written by the French spiritual master Jacques Philippe. The essence of this book is very clear and simple. If we want to arrive at sanctity of life we must get to know the Holy Spirit, love the Holy Spirit and manifest this knowledge and love by being docile to His heavenly inspirations.
7. Be Careful and Alert. The work of the devil is to discourage us, make us sad and to push us into desolation and then despair. Be aware of the workings of the Holy Spirit. The workings of “The sweet Guest of the soul” are the direct opposite of the devil. How does the Holy Spirit work? St. Ignatius of Loyola in his rules for discernment specifies how the Good Spirit works. He strengthens our resolve to follow Jesus and fortifies our faith, hope, charity. He infuses peace and joy and energy to follow the Lord. He encourages us to lift our mind to heaven. He consoles us with the thoughts of the eternal salvation of our soul. Therefore, do not allow the devil to discourage you, but let the Holy Spirit encourage and strengthen you.
8. Prayer, Penance, Power, Perseverance, & Perfection. Try to connect these “5 P’s” to union with the Holy Spirit; all are necessary for a constant and growing union with the Holy Spirit. We must pray to the Sanctifier. Also, as Mary and the Apostles acted in the Cenacle for this powerful novena, we must practice penance or self-denial. This will give our will power— or if you like “Will-power” to do good. However, the journey can be long and cumbersome, we must persevere and if we fall bounce back. Then if we are faithful to the first 4’P’s the Holy Spirit will bring us to perfection in the following of Jesus.
9. Loneliness? Problems? If you experience loneliness and are weighed down by many problems then never forget to enter into the depths of your soul and speak to the Holy Spirit whose name is “Sweet Guest of the soul”. You will recognize that you are really not alone and that your problems and crosses are not as heavy as you think. Rather, the Holy Spirit can help you to resolve your problems or at least help you to cope with them.
10.Mary and the Holy Spirit. Mary is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and she is the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit. St. Maximilian Kolbe has written brilliantly on the intimate relationship between Mary and the Holy Spirit. Also Saint Louis de Montfort has gone so far in saying: “Those who love Mary, the Holy Spirit flings Himself into that soul,” if you like, as a powerful Frisbee cutting through the air going from one hand to the next. If you want to have a powerful invasion in your heart of the Holy Spirit, a personal Pentecost experience in your life, then why not turn to Mary. As the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles the day of Pentecost through Mary’s prayers and presence, He can descend into your soul through the prayers and presence of Mary. “Come Holy Spirit, come, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”