A first inseparable blessing of our intimacy with the Holy Spirit is a deeper closeness also with the Lord Jesus. It is the love “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5) that enables us truly to “see” who the Lord Jesus is and to grow in love for Him. Drawing our hearts to the beauty and tenderness of Jesus, the Holy Spirit reveals to us, most of all, the depths of God the Son’s infinite love for us. It is His magnificent, immeasurable love for us that impelled Him to become incarnate, to live a life of unreserved self-giving to us, and to hand Himself over to the horrendous suffering of His Passion and death, all for our sake.
St. Bonaventure describes the intimate response that the Holy Spirit inspires in us when we take time simply to gaze at the Lord Jesus on the Cross. As we truly look with love at the Lord on the Cross, His awful and glorious “throne of mercy,” the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with “wonder and joy,” with love and gratitude, with “praise and jubilation.” And when we contemplate the sacred wounds of the Lord, it is the Holy Spirit of Love who enables us to taste the heavenly bliss that the Lord Himself promised to the thief on the cross beside Him: “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). We, too, are swept up into Paradise when we take time simply to gaze upon the crucified Lord. As we do so, the Holy Spirit imparts to us a sweet and “mystical wisdom” that inflames our inmost souls with love for the Lord Jesus.
The Holy Spirit of love also enables us to “see” more deeply the beauty, power, and meaning of the Lord’s glorious Resurrection, Ascension, and outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, all for our sake. We grow to realize who we truly are because of these astounding events: cherished brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus, beloved sons and daughters of His Father. As we see how deeply treasured we are, the Holy Spirit inspires within us prayer to the Lord Jesus that is intimate and loving: “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.” “My Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.” “Dearest Lord, hide me in Your precious wounds.” “Sweet Jesus, bathe me in Your Blood.” “My Lord Jesus, I give myself and all of my troubles to You.” “Sweet Jesus, I love You.”
As the Holy Spirit deepens our love for the Lord Jesus, He also fills us with growing love and appreciation for the priceless gift of the Mass…
We may be drawn to sing or say aloud or in our hearts treasured hymns, prayers, and litanies that give us tender words to use as our own in praying to the Lord Jesus. St. Bernard of Clairvaux describes an especially beautiful way in which the Holy Spirit inspires us to draw close to the Lord: simply saying with love the most sacred name of Jesus. What can equal “the power of His name” “to refresh the harassed senses”? If we are feeling sad, the beautiful name of Jesus brings to us a “cloudless sky.” Have we fallen into sin? Are we brought “to the brink of despair”? Let us “invoke this life-giving name” and our “will to live will be at once renewed.” The power of the precious name of Jesus “banishes bitterness and softens hearts.”
When we are terrified “before impending peril,” when we are filled with doubt, discouraged, and “beaten down by afflictions,” the saving power of the sweet name of Jesus brings us courage and a renewed will to live. In every distress we may suffer, “this name is medicine,” the “healing remedy” for our every ill. St. Bernard urges us to carry the precious name of Jesus in our hearts, “hidden as in a vase.” If we do this, the Holy Spirit will enable us, in our every need, to taste in our souls the sweetness of Jesus, who “is honey in the mouth, music in the ear,” the “song” in our hearts!
As the Holy Spirit deepens our love for the Lord Jesus, He also fills us with growing love and appreciation for the priceless gift of the Mass and for the Lord’s intimate presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist. At every Mass, the Lord Jesus Himself makes present to us His saving death and Resurrection, the mystery of His Last Supper, at which He also feeds us with His most precious Body and Blood. The Lord Himself solemnly assures us, “This is my Body; this is my Blood” (Mark 14:22, 24). The Holy Spirit enables us to “see” and to savor more and more deeply this astounding mystery of love. In the Eucharist, we truly receive sacramentally the precious Blood and sacred Body of the Lord Jesus, the “body born of the Virgin,” “the true flesh” of the Lord crucified for our sake.
Do we wonder why, in response to such a “great grace,” the Church urges us not to absent ourselves from these sacred mysteries? Who gives us the faith to “see” and to love the magnificent mystery of the Mass and the exquisite gift of the Lord’s own precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist? Who gives us a growing desire to attend Mass more frequently, to receive the Lord more devoutly, to spend more time adoring the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? Only the Holy Spirit, who inspires within us the tender response of love: “Taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Ps. 34:8).
Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt adapter from Drawing Close to the Holy Spirit: Keys to a Transformed Life and Joyful Heart. It is available from your favorite bookstore or online through Sophia Institute Press.