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What Catholics Believe - Chapter Nine

Receive the Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful. Kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created (and recreated), and you shall renew the face of the earth. Oh God, who by the light of your Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of your faithful, grant us, in the same Holy Spirit, that we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

On the day of the Ascension, our Lord said to His apostles and disciples: “For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)

Our Lord is saying that while He is going to the Father, He is sending us, from the Father, the other divine person, the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit comes, being the Spirit of truth, “he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.” (John 16:13)

God, the Holy Spirit, whom we receive in the sacrament of baptism, is the divine energizer that we need to be disciples of the Lord as He forms and transforms our minds, hearts, attitudes, actions and reactions into the likeness of Jesus. He gives birth anew to the risen life within us and guides us to the ways of the Lord.

When the disciples went back to pray in the anticipation of the promise of the Holy Spirit, “suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then, there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” (Acts 2:1-4)

So it is for us if we are open to receive it. The Holy Spirit can enliven us and fire us up in all kinds of new ways. If we hunger and thirst for more of the life, gifts and power of the Holy Spirit, we too will experience a change. We will find ourselves responding to life, to one another in whole different ways. We will just sense what God wants us to say. As Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit will give you what you need to say. It will not be you speaking but the Spirit of God within you.”

Our whole spiritual life changes. For example, we may find a joy and appreciation of the Mass as never before. We may grow more deeply, with greater awareness in our personal relationships with the Father, with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit. We may find ourselves called to social justice and peace issues. At other times, we may sense a call to intercessory prayer. Once we have tapped the source, we begin an aliveness spiritually which we did not have before.

As the United States Catholic Catechism of Adults tells us: “When we actively participate in the liturgies and sacraments of the Church, we enter into a sacred moment when the Holy Spirit opens us to experience God, especially in the Eucharist.

“When we give ourselves to prayer, whether that be the Rosary, or the Liturgy of the Hours or meditation or other prayers, the Holy Spirit prays within us and intercedes for us.

“When we offer ourselves to the various missionary or apostolic efforts of the Church or see signs of those efforts, we can sense the Holy Spirit at work in the world.”

Since God is love and we are called to love, then let us take us these words of St. Paul in Galatians to heart:

“For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control; no law can touch such things as these. All who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with all its passions and its desires. Since we are living by the Spirit, let our behavior be guided by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25)

And so Holy Spirit, we love you; we thank you; we welcome you. Make us your new creation. We give you our ‘Yes’ and our openness. Come!”

Very Rev. Richard P. Rice, Diocesan Liaison for Catholic Charismatic Renewal


What Catholics Believe is an ongoing Harvest series on the United States Catholic Catechism of Adults. Click below to read continuing articles.