Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Pentecost Special
Volume 8 No. 481 May 18, 2018
 
III. Supplement: Holy Spirit

Who is the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, it is God, it is His powerful action that permeates creation with Love and Life. It is existence itself. We know Him also as the third person of the Holy Trinity.

As we look at the attributes of God, who is One, we may say that God the Father is the Absolute Power and Will, God the Son is His Word and command, God the Holy Spirit is the action of God which is Love.

The Holy Spirit is a fire of Divine Love that comes to touch us and refine us in an ardent desire to possess God. It gives us a passion for God, it destroys all the earthly affections because it opens our spiritual eyes to see how precious God is.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God the Father and of God the Son, so it moves us to cry Abba which means "daddy" and as children of God we come to trust God more than we have trusted before, it also moves us to accept Christ in our lives as our model, way, truth and life.

The fire of the Holy Spirit enkindles the little flame of Love that is in every heart, it raises the soul to soar in the freedom of God, it feeds the soul with food from Heaven, it gives courage to overcome all human weaknesses, it grants complete trust in God so that we can say with St. Paul, it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.

The Holy Spirit is not visible to our eyes, but we can feel His Presence within us, He grants Peace, Love and Joy to our hearts and by His action we learn to recognise Him.

No one can say that Jesus is Lord unless He is moved by the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:3]. So this Spirit abides in every one who acknowledges that Jesus is Lord, but this doesn't guarantee that that person is holy, it merely activates his faith by that conviction, so we still need a continuous guidance of the Holy Spirit to attain holiness. We must be born of the Spirit to become spirit, and we must let Him come like a gentle breeze and bend our wills to His holy inspirations [John 3:8].

What is born of the flesh is flesh, but what is born of the Spirit is Spirit [John 3:6], so in baptism we are born of the Spirit and we are challenged to prove that we are Spirit.

As temples of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 3:16] we must behave with the due reverence to God Who abides in us, so that we can become like Him. But the problem is that through sin we become temples of the evil spirit and we despise God.

In order to experience the Love of the Holy Spirit and to become children of God, we must not sin [1 John 3:9]

The Holy Spirit will teach us what we need to say, He reveals the Wisdom of God, because He reveals the teachings of the Word of God into our hearts, He is also described as the Consoler and Advocate or The Paraclete [John 14:26]

No one can become holy on his own so he needs the influence of the Holy Spirit, He is like a gentle dove that gets scared at the least movement of sin. So we must be very gentle in the Presence of God who has vouchsafed to come to dwell in us.

We have to deny ourselves the influence of our own human spirit in order to allow the Spirit of God to take control of our lives, this is only achieved by a life of prayer and detachment. We must yield humbly to the powerful Holy Spirit in order to correspond to His Grace, we must make a decision to lead an interior life where we give up our private judgement, the light of reason in exchange for the Light of God which comes only through faith. Only through this complete annihilation of the self can we allow the Spirit of God to possess us; to think otherwise is only presumptuous, because our pride will always desire praise for our works, but God's work in our souls is the only way to make us holy.

The spiritual man is also called a man of God, because he truly belongs to Him, He doesn't look for personal rewards, He doesn't resist God's Will wether that may bring him trials, temptations, contradictions or humiliations. God knows best, so the man of God yields completely to Him just like Job. Any temporal gifts are for the Praise and Glory of God not for his own, when any material or spiritual gifts are taken away from him, He will gladly accept God's will [Job 1:21]. He will live his life in imitation of Christ who always yielded to the Will His Heavenly Father [Luke 22:42]. 

Holy Spirit And Trinity

by St. Leo The Great

I. The giving of the Law by Moses prepared the way for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost

Beloved, realize that today's solemnity is to be honoured as one of the chief feasts, nor is there any doubt that great respect is due to this day, which the Holy Spirit has hallowed by the miracle of His most excellent gift. For from the day on which the Lord ascended up above all heavenly heights to sit down at God the Father's right hand, this is the tenth which has shone, and the fiftieth from His Resurrection, being the very day on which it began , and containing in itself great revelations of mysteries both new and old, by which it is most manifestly revealed that Grace was fore-announced through the Law and the Law fulfilled through Grace. For as of old, when the Hebrew nation were released from the Egyptians, on the fiftieth day after the sacrificing of the lamb the Law was given on Mount Sinai, so after the suffering of Christ, wherein the true Lamb of God was slain, on the fiftieth day from His Resurrection, the Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles and the multitude of believers, so that the earnest Christian may easily perceive that the beginnings of the Old Testament were preparatory to the beginnings of the Gospel, and that the second covenant was founded by the same Spirit that had instituted the first.

II. How marvellous was the gift of "divers tongues."

For as the Apostles' story testifies: "while the days of Pentecost were fulfilled and all the disciples were together in the same place, there occurred suddenly from heaven a sound as of a violent wind coming, and filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance Acts 2:1-4 ." Oh! How swift are the words of wisdom, and where God is the Master, how quickly is what is taught, learned. No interpretation is required for understanding, no practice for using, no time for studying, but the Spirit of Truth blowing where He wills , the languages peculiar to each nation become common property in the mouth of the Church. And therefore from that day the trumpet of the Gospel-preaching has sounded loud: from that day the showers of gracious gifts, the rivers of blessings, have watered every desert and all the dry land, since to renew the face of the earth the Spirit of God "moved over the waters ," and to drive away the old darkness flashes of new light shone forth, when by the blaze of those busy tongues was kindled the Lord's bright Word and fervent eloquence, in which to arouse the understanding, and to consume sin there lay both a capacity of enlightenment and a power of burning.

III. The three Persons in the Trinity are perfectly equal in all things

But although, dearly-beloved, the actual form of the thing done was exceeding wonderful, and undoubtedly in that exultant chorus of all human languages the Majesty of the Holy Spirit was present, yet no one must think that His Divine substance appeared in what was seen with bodily eyes. For His Nature, which is invisible and shared in common with the Father and the Son, showed the character of His gift and work by the outward sign that pleased Him, but kept His essential property within His own Godhead: because human sight can no more perceive the Holy Ghost than it can the Father or the Son. For in the Divine Trinity nothing is unlike or unequal, and all that can be thought concerning Its substance admits of no diversity either in power or glory or eternity. And while in the property of each Person the Father is one, the Son is another, and the Holy Ghost is another, yet the Godhead is not distinct and different; for while the Son is the Only begotten of the Father, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, not in the way that every creature is the creature of the Father and the Son, but as living and having power with Both, and eternally subsisting of That Which is the Father and the Son. And hence when the Lord before the day of His Passion promised the coming of the Holy Spirit to His disciples, He said, "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth shall have come, He shall guide you into all the Truth. For He shall not speak from Himself, but whatsoever He shall have heard, He shall speak and shall announce things to come unto you. All things that the Father has are Mine: therefore said I that He shall take of Mine, and shall announce it to you John 16:12-15 ." Accordingly, there are not some things that are the Father's, and other the Son's, and other the Holy Spirit's: but all things whatsoever the Father has, the Son also has, and the Holy Spirit also has: nor was there ever a time when this communion did not exist, because with Them to have all things is to always exist. In them let no times, no grades, no differences be imagined , and, if no one can explain that which is true concerning God, let no one dare to assert what is not true. For it is more excusable not to make a full statement concerning His ineffable Nature than to frame an actually wrong definition. And so whatever loyal hearts can conceive of the Father's eternal and unchangeable Glory, let them at the same time understand it of the Son and of the Holy Ghost without any separation or difference. For we confess this blessed Trinity to be One God for this reason, because in these three Persons there is no diversity either of substance, or of power, or of will, or of operation.

IV. The Macedonian heresy is as blasphemous as the Arian

As therefore we abhor the Arians, who maintain a difference between the Father and the Son, so also we abhor the Macedonians , who, although they ascribe equality to the Father and the Son, yet think the Holy Ghost to be of a lower nature, not considering that they thus fall into that blasphemy, which is not to be forgiven either in the present age or in the judgment to come, as the Lord says: "whosoever shall have spoken a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him, but he that shall have spoken against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him either in this age or in the age to come Matthew 12:32 ." And so to persist in this impiety is unpardonable, because it cuts him off from Him, by Whom he could confess: nor will he ever attain to healing pardon, who has no Advocate to plead for him. For from Him comes the invocation of the Father, from Him come the tears of penitents, from Him come the groans of suppliants, and "no one can call Jesus the Lord save in the Holy Ghost 1 Corinthians 12:3-6," Whose Omnipotence as equal and Whose Godhead as one, with the Father and the Son, the Apostle most clearly proclaims, saying, "there are divisions of graces but the same Spirit; and the divisions of ministrations but the same Lord; and there are divisions of operations but the same God, Who works all things in all 1 Corinthians 12:3-6 ."

V. The Spirit's work is still continued in the Church

By these and other numberless proofs, dearly-beloved, with which the authority of the Divine utterances is ablaze, let us with one mind be incited to pay reverence to Whitsuntide, exulting in honour of the Holy Ghost, through Whom the whole catholic Church is sanctified, and every rational soul quickened; Who is the Inspirer of the Faith, the Teacher of Knowledge, the Fount of Love, the Seal of Chastity, and the Cause of all Power. Let the minds of the faithful rejoice, that throughout the world One God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is praised by the confession of all tongues, and that that sign of His Presence, which appeared in the likeness of fire, is still perpetuated in His work and gift. For the Spirit of Truth Himself makes the house of His glory shine with the brightness of His light, and will have nothing dark nor lukewarm in His temple. And it is through His aid and teaching also that the purification of fasts and alms has been established among us. For this venerable day is followed by a most wholesome practice, which all the saints have ever found most profitable to them, and to the diligent observance of which we exhort you with a shepherd's care, to the end that if any blemish has been contracted in the days just passed through heedless negligence, it may be atoned for by the discipline of fasting and corrected by pious devotion. On Wednesday and Friday, therefore, let us fast, and on Saturday for this very purpose keep vigil with accustomed devotion, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Source: Translated by Charles Lett Feltoe. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
Copyright © 2009 by Kevin Knight

The First Pentecost

by Alfred McBride, O.Praem.

The Greek traveler stood bewildered in the Jerusalem crowd. What was happening? All about him Jews from many nations milled excitedly and pointed to a group in the center of the square.

The traveler had heard that the Jerusalem holidays were exciting, but he was not prepared for this. The crowd was electrified. What was that group up to? He tried to weave his way closer.

"You are drunk!" someone shouted at the group.

The traveler heard one of them, the big man with the gray-streaked hair, respond: "We are not drunk. We are stunned with joy because we have had an experience like Israel had at Sinai."

The Greek traveler wondered what he meant by that.

"Why not own up?" heckled another. "You've been to the wine bottle once too often."

Then the big man raised his hand for silence. The crowd fell quiet.

"Do not judge by appearances," he began. "Listen to our words. At Sinai, God called Israel to be a community of faith. God called our ancestors there to be a holy nation. That meant they should form a community that would worship God and live a worthy life. God also summoned them to be the light of nations, that is, to be a missionary witness helping all people to know God."

"I think I can agree with your first point," ventured a Pharisee in the crowd, "but I don't really believe God wanted us to be missionaries."

"My friend, you have forgotten the meaning of the story of Jonah," the big man remarked. "He was a preacher told by God to go on a missionary trip to Nineveh. Recall that Jonah resisted the call at first until God overcame him. Jonah was an example of how Israel, too, resisted the call."
"Who is that man?" the traveler asked of no one in particular.

"His name is Peter," a tradesman replied.

"He is their leader," said a woman nearby.

A young woman in the crowd, moved by Peter's sincerity, asked, "How is it you were speaking in a language we all could understand when you burst upon us here in the square? How did you manage to unify all of us who speak so many different tongues?"

"Perhaps I can explain this best to you," Peter answered, "by comparing this to the old story of the Tower of Babel. That was a tower of human pride that resulted in a breakdown in communications. The people at Babel could not understand each other.

"Our Master, Jesus, asked us to spend time in prayer to await his Holy Spirit. We followed his word and meditated for nine days in the Upper Room. Into that tower of prayer this day came the Holy Spirit, whose greatest work is to bring all people to unity in Christ. At Babel, people babbled. Here we speak a message that will unify people in mind and heart."

"Is that why you said you've had an experience like that which Israel had at Sinai?" asked an elderly man.

"Exactly," replied Peter. "The difference is that what happened at Sinai was but a shadow of the promise and reality that has happened here today. It is because of Jesus, who died and rose for us, that it has happened. Because of him and his Spirit, we really can be a community of faith and a light for the nations."

"How can we have this experience?"

"Is there any hope for us?"

"Go on, tell us more."

"As I look out over the vast crowd in this square," answered Peter, "I think of a world full of dead bones. I know that my comrades and I must go into this valley of the dead and bring life. Don't you remember the story of Ezekiel and the dry bones?"

[God] said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "Lord GOD, you know."

Then he said to me: "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!ÖI will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin,...and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD."

The traveler listened to Peter's voice as it carried over the square. It is like a wind, he thought, bearing good news to the world.

On that Pentecost day, Peter asked the people to repent, to change their way of life, to seek a new life in Christ. And they did respond. The Holy Spirit of Jesus moved into the valley of dry bones and brought three thousand to life.

A new Church began!

"Your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams," Peter exclaimed.

That's what happened. The young let loose a flood of heart-expanding ideals across the earth. The old suddenly realized that their dreams of a happier tomorrow were no longer foolish thoughts, but a reality come true.

About The Author:

Norbertine Father Alfred McBride teaches theology at Pope John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. His books include A Retreat With Pope John XXIII: Opening the Windows to Wisdom and Images of Mary, both from St. Anthony Messenger Press.

Source: From the book The Story of the Church: Peak Moments from Pentecost to the Year 2000  

The Light Shining in Darkness

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even though Christ is your Savior, there will be times when you are tempted to sin. And if you yield to the temptation, you will sense a spiritual darkness around you. The closer you are to Christ in your devotion, the deeper the darkness will seem.

This is because the more we commit our lives to the Lord, the more we become like Him. Once we are saved, sin no longer reflects who we are in Christ.

One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to draw us even closer to the Lord. He also is the One who guides us through each day. A check in your spirit may mean you are about to do something that could jeopardize your God-centered peace.

There are times when you will sense God's Spirit warning about a particular event or set of circumstances. Listen to His voice. Ask God to make His will clear to you, and never allow the enemy to twist the love and protection of God into something that yields fearful thoughts.

If you want to walk in the light of Truth, having the knowledge and wisdom of God, make a commitment to read and to study His Word; which is "a lamp to our feet."

The people who gathered at the cross to witness the crucifixion were living in spiritual darkness, and God wanted to make sure they understood the choice they were making.

Beginning with the third hour of this horrendous event, a deep, all-consuming darkness fell on the land and the people were engulfed with fear. Today we do not have to walk in darkness. We have the eternal flame of God guiding our every step.

Prayer:

Father, You are the light of this world, and I choose to walk in it knowing that You will give me the wisdom I need for every situation. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it" (John 1:5).

Christianity - A Lifestyle Inspired by Holy Spirit

by Jacob Muringayil, London

Christianity, when it emerged after Christ, was a pure life style which had very unique and adorable values which were seldom found in other religions. The basics were very simple and easy to follow as Christ laid them down. "Worship your God Wholeheartedly with Full Faith, Strength and Spirit; Love your neighbour as you love yourself, Love each other as I loved you". The first and foremost point to be noted is that all the above will be fulfilled when one is filled with Holy Spirit, in other words, without the indwelling of Holy Spirit, the above commandments are not easy or are impossible to practise in life. Holy Spirit is the birthright of a True Christian to lead a true Christian life.

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives the person the ability to discern the evil from virtue, devil from God and a very rare and unique ability to foresee Satanís hidden traps presented in apparently pleasing and acceptable manner. But, more importantly, Holy Spirit is the donor of many other virtues which are very vital to a fruitful and successful Christian life.

When one is under the influence and control of Holy Spirit, he/she abstains from evil inspirations like incest and adultery. During the O.T times, sexual relations within blood relatives (e.g. Abraham and Sara) were permitted and it was not counted as sin but, now they are grave sins and in fact, it has become a point for those who argue against God. They try to prove that God is unjust because HE allowed sex between own relations in the O.T time and now HE calls it sin and adultery. They question God as to how one can preach/present the same thing as permissible once and as sin thereafter. The answer I got from an Orthodox Priest to this question is : initially, when the population of the chosen race was low, God wanted them to multiply in number but at the same time, HE did not want them to merge with the pagans/gentiles through marriage and hence HE did not command incest as a sin and when God does not call any act as sin, it is not sin, because HE is the Creator of all. So, as the time changes, necessary changes in Godís rules and commandments for the purification of the chosen race were made by God and therefore, now incest is a grave sin. To discern it in its awfulness, the indwelling of Holy Spirit is pivotal. The Holy Spirit teaches us to behave like the true sons of God by reflecting Godís sacrosanct character and nature which are the ultimate sources of sanctity, in our life and that is what a Christian is called for. Therefore, Holy Spirit is the "Real Teacher".

Secondly, the indwelling of Holy Spirit helps us to exercise control over our bodily requirements which is difficult for many. Food and flesh are main among them for which humans struggle hard and fight each other. Absence of food is fatal and it is vital to sustain our body and hence life itself. But, for many, life is to eat and not dine to sustain life. This results in gluttony and slowly, food turns to be their God. Man is not living only on bread, but on the words of God also. When and where these words are forgotten, God is abandoned and the result is destruction. Thirst for fleshy life decorated with impure thoughts immersed in pool of sex is another lifestyle which has developed as a result of modernisation. God has allowed legitimate means to quench these thirsts through blessed family platform by installing the Holy Sacrament of Marriage and any bodily intercourse outside that platform is pure adultery, but, now, real life is enjoyed by the new generation before learning what is marriage and family life. Where man attaches more importance to worldly/bodily comforts, God is pushed away and HIS words abandoned as minds go after such comforts and crave to earn and enjoy them leaving no room for God. Holy Spirit reminds us to keep God in the forefront of everything else in life and strengthens our reasoning and ability to control the aspirations of the body and mind. Therefore, Holy Spirit is the "True Fortifier" of body, mind and soul.

The indwelling of Holy Spirit reminds us always about Godís love for us and the everlasting fact that man was created in the image of God. Thus Holy Spirit inspires us to see Godís shadow and love in fellow human beings because Godís love always attaches and does not detach people. When we start seeing Godís image in our brethren, our intentions or efforts to belittle and abase them gets lesser and lesser and our abhorrence towards them vanishes gradually. Finally all these ills vanish for ever from our heart because it will lead to the feeling that insulting or hating others is equivalent to insulting or hating God which is beyond imagination for a true Christian. That means, Holy Spirit slowly teaches us to respect and love others which is a spiritual training and therefore Holy Spirit is the "Truly Excellent Moral/Spiritual Trainer".

Holy Spirit reminds us of the reward for sins through scripture. Death is the reward for sin according to Scripture. When living under the influence of Holy Spirit, the aim will be to save own soul and othersí too and not to destroy it. Man perishes with his soul when lives a life of immorality and transgressions. Holy Spirit urges us to retrieve life from perishing and the way is to repent and expiate. Contrite heart is the result of expiation and repentance is the only way to come back to Christ and the invisible hands working behind these will be the Holy Spirit of God to attain that status. HE will train our limbs to abstain from paths leading to unwanted places like brothels, control our eyes from watching the ugly face of this world and help our mind refrain from evil and fleshy thoughts. Further, HE admonishes us against feticide which is multiplying in hundreds or thousands day by day as a result of immoral life style and uncontrolled thirst for flesh. Where there is no Holy Spirit, there is no real change of heart and as a result, words do not become deeds to rectify the faults. The end result is multiplication of sins and the reward is death and it takes its count and turn in due course. But, living by Holy Spirit retrieves our lost soul and thus, Holy Spirit saves us from death and leads us to life if and when we obey HIS commands and instructions. Therefore, Holy Spirit is the "True Retriever".

The indwelling of Holy Spirit averts aberration from Christís way. The thirst and hunger to live with Jesus Christ is the gift of Holy Spirit. It is very hard to follow the way leading to Christ as it is very narrow and full of thorns eventhough it is attached to the eternal comfort and salvation in the end for those who overcome the difficulties. The pointy bits hurt our soles and therefore, we will always yearn to move away from and escape the difficult path. At the same time, the other way awaiting us is very attractive, wide and comfortable with petals all along until it reaches its dead-end where ceaseless hardships and punishments receive us. Since we have not seen the dead-ends of both these roads, we always chose the wide and comfortable path with petals because, it offers immediate comfort and it is tangible and that convinces us easily to chose that way whereas the eternal rest and salvation waiting for us in the end of the narrow road is not immediate; it is based on faith in God and belief/trust in HIM which is not tangible immediately and hence we are not convinced easily of its existence. But God's Holy Spirit is the one who maintains us hopeful about our resurrection on the second coming of Christ and keeps our faith solid and trust in HIM unshaken, keeping our life hopeful about that rare gift providing us with audacity to challenge all worldly philosophies against our faith until the second coming of Jesus Christ, telling us about the futility of the worldly comforts and their short-livedness. Therefore, Holy Spirit is the "True Keeper" of us for eternity.

Holy Spirit prepares us to be ready ever to receive Jesus Christ and hence keeps us prepared to wait with hope and enthusiasm like the 5 virgins with oil until HIS second coming which only the Heavenly Father knows when. Therefore, Holy Spirit helps us to maintain our acuity until the coming of Jesus and without Holy Spirit, weak human souls will not be able to stand the pressure of the momentary comforts offered by this world and therefore, will succumb to its call and fall prey to the evil, possibly exterminating a true Christian life against the will of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Holy Spirit is the "True Maintainer" of our souls for the day of Jesusí second coming.

Holy Spirit is God and God has separated his chosen for HIM from this filthy world. Therefore, when one lives in Holy Spirit, the life becomes completely new - free from worldly troubles; greed for wealth; bodily comforts; gluttony, incest, adultery, feticide and desperation. It is a new and healthy life style - full of hope, light and sancity - healthy for both the inner man and the outer man. But, we should never forget that Holy Spirit - the provider of this new life style, is accessible only through the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ and nurtured by the Holy Fathers. The Holy Sacrament of Bapstism and Chrismation is the threshold through which one gets into the presence of Holy Spirit and Holy Spirit indwells in one, where this new life style begins.

May God's Holy Spirit be the only driving force behind each and everyone of us.

Promises of the Holy Spirit - From Old Testament to New Testament
God saw our need to have His Holy Spirit, otherwise we would be doomed. For this reason He made a promise in the Old Testament which was fulfilled with the coming of Christ, He spoke through different prophets as follows:

Old Testament

Ezequiel 36:23-28 | The Holy Spirit will rest upon the Son of David

23 And I will sanctify my great name , which was profaned among the Gentiles, which you have profaned in the midst of them: that the Gentiles may know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord of hosts, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

24 For I will take you from among the Gentiles, and will gather you together out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.

25 And I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols.

26 And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my spirit in the midst of you: and I will cause you to walk in my commandments, and to keep my judgments, and do them.

28 And you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
- Ezequiel 36:23-28

Let us examine this passage:

I will sanctify my great name

Jesus came to reveal in Himself the splendour of the Father, the image of the invisible God and the power of His Holy Name [Philippians 2:10-11]. So that we should bend our knee at the mention of the holy name of Jesus, because it is only through the power of His name that we can be saved. [Acts 4:12] Jesus also taught us to pray to our Father in Heaven saying "Holy be your name" [Matthew 6:9]

I will take you from among the Gentiles

The gentiles were considered pagans or people without God, whereas the Israelites were the chosen people of God. Salvation is offered to every one who accepts Christ as their Saviour and Lord, the Holy Spirit is for all. [Romans 16:25-27].

I will pour upon you clean water

John the Baptist came baptising with water but Christ baptises with Living Water and with the Fire of the Holy Spirit [Matthew 3:11]. In the waters of baptism we come to meet Christ, we are immersed in the cleansing living water of the Holy Spirit, water that gushed forth from the heart of Christ. We receive the fire of the Holy Spirit, which is a spark of the divinity, the sanctifying grace that will lead us to Salvation [John 3:5].

I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you

Jesus died for our sins by giving his life in exchange for ours, He extended this gift making it a perpetual sacrifice "Take this and eat it, this is my body, take this and drink this is my blood" [Matthew 26:26-28], in a way God has given us the heart of Jesus as food for our souls in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The pierced heart of Jesus is also his personal gift to everyone, as we let our hearts be pierced with remorse for our sins we receive a new heart, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we will have a heart that is not longer ours but the heart of God. This of course is incomprehensible doctrine for the learned and the wise, this is only meant for the little children since those are the ones who can possess the Kingdom of Heaven [Matthew 11:25-26].

What is the good of a heart if it doesn't give life? But with the heart of Jesus comes also His Precious Blood that gives us life for eternity. He has also given us His Holy Spirit which He sent from Heaven the day of Pentecost. The Spirit of God the Father and the Son is the new Spirit for us, which replaces the old human spirit of sinfulness and self love.

I will put my spirit in the midst of you

After the Resurrection of Our Lord, He appeared to his disciples bringing with Him the Peace of our reconciliation with God the Father. He then breathed on the apostles in order to give them new life and He said : "Receive the Holy Spirit" [John 20:22]. So He put His Holy Spirit in them, even though they only experienced the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, days after the Lord had ascended into Heaven.

The Holy Spirit descended in the shape of tongues of fire which were seen over the heads of the apostles. This was a baptism of fire with the Holy Spirit, we should also feel a similar experience when we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

In baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and we are cleansed with the waters of Salvation, the spark of Divine Love within us keeps burning with desire for the Holy Spirit of God to completely possess us but it is up to us to fan that flame of Love within, to stir up the Grace of God for our own spiritual growth [ 2 Timothy 1:6].

It is the Lord who personally puts His Holy Spirit within us, since we are His temples, we must live our lives in humility before His Presence [1 Corinthians 3:16-17].

Through our devotions we supply fuel for the fire of our Faith and the Holy Spirit responds to us by filling us with yearning for God.

You shall be my people, and I will be your God.

We are the people of God, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9) ; we belong to Christ and we must proclaim that He has saved us.

In the past we were not God's people, but now, "we are the people of God". In the past we did not receive His Mercy , but now we have received God's Mercy through Jesus Christ Our Lord. In the mystical body of Christ He is the head and we are the body [1 Peter 2:9-10].

God has called us his people, furthermore in Christ we have become his adoptive sons and daughters, therefore we have become the children of God [Ephesians 1:5].

The Holy Spirit shall rest upon Jesus Son of David.

David son of Jesse . Jesse Son of Abraham [Genealogy of Christ Matthew 1:1-17].

In the book of the prophet Isaiah we learn that Christ will be a descendant of Jesse, the son of David and that the Holy Spirit will rest upon Him [Isaiah 11:1-2] with his seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

He will be the Saviour, He will give us living water to drink and with joy we will draw that water from the well of Salvation [Isaiah 12:3] . That will be the sanctifying water of baptism to deliver us from original sin, and it will be also the Living water of the Holy Spirit which will be given to us after the death of Our Lord [John 16:7].

The Lord tells us through the prophet Joel [Joel 2:28] :

And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.

The Holy Spirit in the New Testament

The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and She conceived by His Power Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ [Luke 1:35]. While She was visiting her cousin Elizabeth, at hearing the voice of Mary St. John the Baptist was sanctified by the Holy Spirit in the womb of her mother and leaped for joy.

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said who am I that the Mother of my Lord should visit me, among all women you are blessed and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Mary answered by praising God in the beautiful song of the Magnificat [Luke 1:39-56].

Before Jesus started his public ministry, He went to the Jordan river where He was baptised by John the Baptist. Then The Holy Spirit descended upon Him and was visible to John in a form of a dove. He then went to fast in the desert for forty days, where he overcame the temptations of the devil. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit as promised in the book of [Isaiah 11:1-2] and began His ministry calling everyone to repentance, preaching the Good News about the Kingdom of Heaven, healing the sick, and casting out devils. John the Baptist said to everyone I baptise you with water for repentance of your sins but Jesus will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire [Matthew 3:11] .

Jesus taught that all sins shall be forgiven except sins committed against the Holy Spirit [Luke 12:10].

He also taught that we only have to ask and it shall be given, knock and the door will be answered, search and we shall find, and that if a father here on earth, even though being wicked knows how to respond to the need of his children, how much more will our Heavenly Father give us the Holy Spirit if we ask !, so the Holy Spirit is the gift of the Father and the Son that sanctifies us and we must ask for it. It is the most precious thing that we can ask for and our good Heavenly Father will grant us our petition if we ask, knock and search for it.

We are temples of the Holy Spirit and to be filled with the Spirit of God we must cleanse our temples with the waters of repentance through baptism. However we are supposed to stop sinning in order to receive the fire of the Holy Spirit. So this promise of God is conditional to our repentance. A humble and contrite heart is the place where God wants to dwell [Isaiah 66:2] .

God the Father and God the Son will come to dwell in Spirit in those who love Jesus and keep His Word [John 14:23]

Jesus promised that whenever we are put on trial for proclaiming the Good News we will speak what is given to us by the Holy Spirit [Mark 13:10-11].

The Twelve Fruits of The Holy Spirit
The Twelve Fruits of The Holy Spirit are:

1. Charity
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Generosity
8. Gentleness
9. Faithfulness
10. Modesty
11. Self-control
12. Chastity

These are explained below:

1. Charity

Love finds its perfection in Charity, since we love God but we don't see Him so we can prove to Him our Love by loving others. The new commandment of Our Lord is "Love one another as I have loved you" that manifestation of Love compels the soul to do acts of charity for others. God is easily found in the needs of the poor, in the marginalized, the oppressed, the persecuted, the lonely, the outcast, those who suffer and all those who are last. No wonder the Lord has said that the last will be the first. On the day of Judgement, the Lord will reward us according to the way we treated our brothers and sisters, because in the same way we indeed treated our Lord. [Matthew 25:34-40]

Our Lady was a living model of Charity, as soon as She was filled with the Holy Spirit, She felt the need to go out of her way to help her cousin Elizabeth.

2. Joy

St. Paul recommends that we rejoice in the Lord always, [Philippians 4:4] and again He says rejoice. Joy is a gift to keep even in the middle of our trials and sufferings, because joy is the anticipation of the greater gift of eternal bliss.

We have good times when we naturally rejoice, but this joy is perfected when we appreciate that it comes from God and we thank Him. Whenever we suffer, we must be also thankful for the crosses we are receiving and rejoice spiritually because the reward for our crosses will be our crowns.

Do we thank God for all the joys we receive? Do we take it all for granted or do we realize that God is the source of our joy?

3. Peace

Peace is the sign of God's Presence in our lives. Peace is the fruit of the reconciliation between God and man through the death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The first words that the Lord pronounced after His resurrection were "Peace be with you" [John 20:19], the same words He repeated again before saying to the apostles "Receive the Holy Spirit"

With the gift of Peace, the Apostles then received the breath of the resurrected Lord and the power to forgive sins, which continues in the sacrament of Penance. As we are reconciled with God in this holy sacrament we are healed of the wounds of our sins and we receive God's peace, fruit of our reconciliation.

The Peace that we receive from the Lord is different to the peace of this world, it is the peace of the soul finding itself pure before God.

4. Patience

With this holy attitude, a person is prepared to deal with all the different situations and persons that otherwise would cause annoyance or distress. Being patient means understanding the individuality of other people and adjusting to their needs, knowing that God has sent them into our lives for a purpose, perhaps to make us humble or to make us realise how weak we are.

We can not change events that have already taken place, it is too late to be impatient as if by our lack of virtue we would change anything at all. Impatience can only make things worse. As a matter of fact, impatience leads to anger, which leads to hatred, which uncontrolled can lead to murder. This is why we must produce this fruit of the Holy Spirit which is part of the very important foundations for holiness.

The Patriarch Job was an excellent example of this holy virtue of Patience, He was put to the test by the Lord who allowed Satan to tempt Him. One day while he was at home he received different messengers telling him the bad news that He had lost all his cattle, that they had killed his servants and that the roof of the house where his seven daughters and three sons were staying had collapsed killing them all. This is how He responded to this situation:

[Job 1:20-22] 20 Then Job rose up, and rent his garments, and having shaven his head fell down upon the ground and worshipped,
21 And said: Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.
22 In all these things Job sinned not by his lips, nor spoke he any foolish thing against God.

5. Kindness

Many times we feel down but we are cheered up by the kindness of others. This beautiful disposition of the soul makes people very charmy and useful to others, it is not the artificial smile that makes us welcome, but the sincere disposition of a good heart.

For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. [Mark 9:40 - 41]

6. Goodness

God is the source of all goodness, He is the giver of all gifts, He wants us to imitate Him.

Imitation of Christ involves being good, being a reflection of Christ in our lives to others. Our behavior reflects how we are keeping the commandments.

The first three commandments teach to love God, to respect His Holy Name and to keep holy the Sabbath day which for us Catholics is Sunday.

The last seven commandments refer to the way we must treat others. We must be good to our parents, we must protect our lives, the lives of the unborn and the lives of others because God is Life and life is good. We must respect our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit avoiding all corruption and impurity, we must respect our neighbor's goods, we must respect our neighbor's reputation, and we must respect our neighbor's wife.

7. Generosity

To love is to give. God loves us and He gives us everything. There is no greater friend than He who is prepared to lay down his life for another. [John 15:13] It is indeed a gift to be generous, because it takes a lot to decide not to keep what is rightly ours to give it to another, specially to a stranger.

When we give we truly deny ourselves, as the Lord has requested. Generosity must be done in silence in order to merit Grace from God and not merely the thanksgiving of men. It is very easy to be generous to our relatives or friends but that is not generosity since we will be repaid for that with friendship, thanksgiving and praise. Generosity must extend to the poor and the needy, it is a quest for justice as if we have the work of God to provide for those who don't have.

[Luke 14:13]

13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind;
14 And thou shalt be blessed, because they have not wherewith to make thee recompense: for recompense shall be made thee at the resurrection of the just.

For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. [Mark 9:40 - 41]

8. Gentleness

The Holy Spirit is a gentle Spirit that works very smoothly directing us to do what is pleasing to God. Under His action we can be meek and humble in everything we do; there is no violence nor corruption in a soul depending on the gentleness of the Spirit of God.

Our Lady is the perfect model of gentleness, her human actions had a touch of the divine because She is the spouse of the Holy Spirit.

We are the Church, the bride of Christ and we must bear resemblance to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the bride of the Holy Spirit. Through the action of the Holy Spirit we must become Immaculate in order to appear as virgins before the bridegroom on the day of the great marriage of the Lamb. [Revelation 19:7]

9. Faithfulness

God is infinitely surrounded by His faithfulness. He has committed himself to His creation, first by creating it, then by redeeming it through Christ our Lord and then by sanctifying it through the Holy Spirit.

The work of God is to believe in the one whom He has sent, namely our Lord Jesus Christ [John 6:29], by being faithful to Jesus we remain in Him and He remains in us, we become witnesses of the way, the truth and the life.

Our Loyalty to Christ involves becoming his disciples and doing the same works that He did; we must remain faithful not only to his teachings but to the Church that He founded on Peter the rock.

We must remain faithful to the teachings of our Church, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. [1 Timothy 3:15]. We must walk in the path of truth if we are to remain faithful to God.

10. Modesty

Jesus Christ the King of Kings, the ruler of the universe was born in a very poor cave, the son of very poor parents and surrounded by poverty. Mary our Mother replied to the angel that bore the good news of the coming of the Messiah: I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word. By her modest response, She didn't become proud of such gift, she actually never told Joseph that She was to be the mother of the Son of God, She kept it to herself risking to be divorced publicly since She was a virgin. Joseph found out in a dream through the message of an angel that Mary had conceived the Savior of the world through the action of the Holy Spirit.

Modesty is an essential base for humility, it may appear mediocre in the eyes of man but not in the eyes of God. By this holy fruit of the Holy Spirit one learns to be contented with what is just required, one doesn't harbor any ambitions, nor take pride in any achievements since they appear commonplace.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble [James 4:6], therefore we must conduct our lives with humility, not claiming any credit for ourselves, but giving all credit and thanksgiving to God and accepting His Holy Will.

11. Self-control

Man must become the master of his body, his body must not master him. The carnal man despises the Holy Spirit and doesn't exercise self-control.

By self control we must overcome all the passions of the flesh, since he who produces the fruits of the Holy Spirit belongs to Christ and has crucified the flesh with all its passions. [Galatians 5:24]

One good way to overcome the flesh is fasting and prayer, by overcoming the desires of the body for food, the soul learns to be deprived by the authority of the will and the result is self-control.

Couples can agree to exercise self-control only for set periods of time, say during lent, during holy days of obligation or Fridays as an act of penance, but always remembering that they must not deprive each other of their conjugal rights. The husband's body belongs to the wife and the wife's body belongs to the husband, otherwise satan may lead each other to lose self-control.[1 Corinthians 7:3-5]

12. Chastity

The union between a man and a woman is sacred, it is bound in the sacrament of matrimony. Two become one flesh, therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate. [Matthew 19:6]. God hates divorce [Malachi 2:16]

In the same manner an unmarried couple is not consecrated to God, they are committing adultery, they are parading their wickedness, they are living an illegal relationship.

The sexual relationship between husband and wife is a gift from God, it is the binding expression of the great unitive value of love. It is given as a gift from God, primarily for the transmission of life, and secondarily for the joy of the couple. The man and the woman should treat their bodies with due respect, remembering that they are temples of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 6:19]. Lust is a disorderly passion that can creep into the relationship of the couple, therefore it is advisable that they practice chastity during certain monthly periods, they should also agree not to do it on holy days, perhaps Fridays in honor of Our Lord's passion or to practice whatever method of controlling passions within marriage. The pure purpose of marriage should be to love one another, to pro-create children for God and to maintain a pure relationship of fidelity and love.

People should not get married based on physical attraction only, they must understand each other and genuinely be willing to love one another for life.

Sex before marriage or outside marriage is adultery, masturbation is also a sin because it is either inciting the body to commit adultery or denying the other partner what belongs to their common joy. The chastity of the youth is equal to the purity of the children and is most precious in the eyes of God.

Virginity is the most excellent gift that the couple can offer to one another on their honey moon, it proves to them that they were truly made for one another.

Unfortunately these values have been lost nowadays, there are so many false teachings and so much bad example on television and the media; what can we say to our children? We are responsible before God for their conduct, because if we don't alert them to these dangers of unchastity and impurity, we will be held guilty for our negligence.

Homosexuality is a totally perverted expression of sexuality. It is a terrible abomination before the eyes of God, the man or woman engaged in this conduct is fighting against God's Will Who has made woman for man and man for woman [Genesis 2:24].

This sin caused the chastisement of Sodom and Gomorrah, because the Lord forbids a man to lay down with another man, or a woman with another woman [Leviticus 18:22-28]

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are:

1. Wisdom
2. Understanding
3. Counsel
4. Fortitude
5. Knowledge
6. Piety
7. Fear of the Lord

These are explained below:

1. Wisdom

[Read Proverbs Chapter 8]

Wisdom is one of the three main attributes of God: Power, Wisdom and Love, corresponding to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and to the three theological virtues of Faith , Hope and Love.

Jesus is the incarnate Wisdom of God, He is the Word of God made flesh, He is the way, the truth and the life. Bestowed upon Him is the plenitude of Wisdom, which desires to live in every heart.

One who is full of God is full of Wisdom, with Jesus He can claim the prophecy of Isaiah which was fulfilled as Jesus read it. [Luke 4:18-21]

[John 15:4] Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me.

A definition of Wisdom is found in the book of Job [28:28] Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom: and to depart from evil, is understanding.

[Psalm 111:10] the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continues for ever and ever.

[Romans 11:33 ] O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written: I will catch the wise in their own craftiness. [1 Corinthians 3:19]

2. Understanding

And God gave to Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart as the sand that is on the sea shore. [1 Kings 4:29-30 (3 Kings in D. Rh)]; understanding is the ability to discern what is from God and what is not. It is also the gift of understanding the meaning of the Holy Scriptures.

With the gift of understanding the disciples on the road to Emmaus were given the light to understand the Holy Scriptures and their hearts burned within as the Lord spoke to them. [Luke 24:30] The apostles understood about the yeast of the Pharisees being their wicked doctrine [Matthew 16:12], when the Lord told them that Elijah had come but they had done with him whatever they pleased, the apostles understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist [Matthew 17:12-13]

Understanding is also the gift of being able to perceive the hidden spiritual meaning of the Holy Scriptures, either by reading and meditating them or by listening to someone who has the gift of preaching.

3. Counsel

Those who desire to acquire wisdom must accept that they don't know everything, they should seek counsel from the elders and learn from experience and wisdom.

In the old days, kings used to consult the prophets and the men of wisdom before taking important decisions. God gives counsel to those who come to Him, therefore we should consult the Lord before we take any important decision, He will respond by giving us a clear mind full of wisdom.

With this gift we learn to help those who are confused, we lend a hand to those suffering depression, we advise those who are about to do something wrong and we minister the great wisdom of God, we normally receive counsel from God [Psalm 16:7] when we are sleeping.

[Psalm 32.8-9]

8 I will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in this way, in which thou shalt go: I will fix my eyes upon thee.
9 Do not become like the horse and the mule, who have no understanding. With bit and bridle bind fast their jaws, who come not near unto thee.

4. Fortitude

Our Lord Jesus Christ had this great gift from God the Father so that He was able to endure the hardships of the passion.

God gives us the cross but He also gives us the strength to carry it [1 Corinthians 10:13]

It is not by human strength that we have to do our spiritual battles, therefore we need to be reinforced being strong in Him and in the strength of His power, putting on the armor of God and fighting the good battle. [Ephesians 6:10-17]

Seek ye the Lord, and be strengthened: seek his face evermore. [Psalm 105:4]

In fortitude we learn to endure and persevere through all our difficulties, I am able to do all things in Him who strengthens me. [Philippians 4:13]

5. Knowledge

The gift of knowledge is the ability to know future events and to read the minds of others, mainly to read the soul of another person; as Our Lord demonstrated knowing how the Samaritan woman had had different men [John 4:18-19], He read the mind of those who were saying to themselves how can this man forgive sins when only God forgives sins [Luke 5:21-23], He knew that Lazarus was dead when the apostles came to tell Him, He also knew that Judas was going to betray Him and much more.

This gift of the Holy Spirit has been present in the lives of the prophets and the saints, it is given so that others may be warned or that they strengthen their faith.

In a weak form this gift is the same as intuition. For those who practise the spiritual life, this gift comes sometimes in visions that represent a message of something that is either going on or that will happen, also as a reminder to pray for a particular cause or person.

6. Piety

This is a great gift of faith that gives a person the ability to spend time in prayer and devotions, it is like a fire that always wants to grow and it receives fuel in prayer.

On the way to Calvary Jesus met the pious women of Jerusalem, they followed the example of Mary our Blessed Mother. Pious people can be found today attending mass daily and praying for other people. They feed their piety by praying the Holy Rosary daily, by seeking knowledge in religious books and by practicing their religious devotions.

Most priests and religious have had this strong vocation of serving the Lord, they were motivated by piety. They have accepted hardships and persecutions and somehow they have become fools for Christ like St. Paul [2 Corinthians 12:10-11] because in our weaknesses we discover the strength of the Lord.

In baptism we receive an infusion of all these gifts of the Holy Spirit, but like gifts under the Christmas tree, they must be opened and put to good use.

7. Fear of the Lord

Holy fear of the Lord consists in fearing to offend God by our indifference and sinfulness.

In fact fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom [Proverbs 1:7], The fear of the Lord hates evil: I hate arrogance, and pride, and every wicked way, and a mouth with a double tongue says the Lord . [Proverbs 8:13]

Not much is taught about fearing God any more, the concept is that God is so good that we should not fear Him, but if we look at the Holy Scriptures we will see that even the Holy Name of God inspired so much awe and respect that the Israelites did not pronounce it completely for fear of offending Him.

We must not fear God because He is going to punish us, this indeed would be to think that God is a punitive God waiting for a chance to teach us a lesson. We must fear God because our lives depend on Him and if we sin, we ourselves separate from Him and risk to be on our own.

A branch cut off the vine withers and dies [John 15:1-6], so if we turn away from God who is Light, we give ourselves to the prince of darkness, the devil and He becomes our Father [John 8:44] . This would be enough reason to have fear of offending God.

So we must trust and remain in our faithful God, who is our strength, the light of our lives. We must remain faithful to Him and avoid the risk of losing Him for lack of Fear of God.

Poem: Seven Gifts
Today there are Seven Gifts
lavishly given for each according to his need:

Knowledge for those who have lapsed in their study of faith,
Wisdom for the foolish,
Understanding for the dull,
Counsel for the hesitant,
Fortitude for the weak,
Piety for the feckless,
and
Fear of the Lord for those who have forgotten to adore,
saying humbly: Alleluia

Pentecost - The Holy Spirit abides in the Human soul

by Priest David Moser

On this day we recall that just 50 days after the Glorious Resurrection, the Holy Spirit came upon the Holy Apostles and all those gathered with them in a new and different way. For the first time, the Holy Spirit actually took up residence within the human soul. Before this the Spirit of God would descend upon a person for various reasons - such as when one of the prophets was inspired to speak or write or act in a particular way so that God's will might be made known to His people, but He did not make His abode within their soul. But something new happened at Pentecost, something wondrous, something marvelous - God came and dwelt not only among us as our Lord Jesus Christ, but within us through the Holy Spirit. The promise of our salvation that we would be united with God, began to be made manifest.

This indwelling of the Holy Spirit has a profound effect on the person, for by this action a transformation is begun. The soul has come into contact with God and cannot remain the same. Now it is simple to see how one's behavior might change when he has been joined to the Church. In his eagerness to learn and absorb all that our Holy Mother Church has to give us, he will follow her instructions concerning behavior and do things differently than he did before. But this change does not end there, for these new actions have an effect of their own, they begin to change the way that one thinks and perceives the world around him. If, for example, you wished to develop compassion for someone, then the best way to begin is to act as though you were compassionate and through consistent compassionate actions on the part of the body, the mind will begin to think in terms of compassion and the heart will begin to feel compassion. If you act towards someone in a loving manner, even though you may have no feeling or even feelings of dislike for them, then after even a short time, you will begin to love them in actual fact for such is the effect of the body's action on the heart. (This truth, by the way, contradicts the idea in our society of "falling in or out of love" by demonstrating that love is not something that strikes out of the blue for some mysterious reason, rather it is the result of and is maintained by effort) But even here this change does not end for once we develop new feelings and thoughts, then our spirit also changes and begins to develop in the soul the spiritual fruits of these changes called virtues and these virtues attract the grace of God. This grace then transforms our very nature so that we no longer have a nature of sin, but begin to develop a nature which has the likeness of God.

Pascha and Pentecost are about transformation. In Pascha, we are reborn; we die and are resurrected with Christ. This new resurrected nature is then shaped and molded by the Church and it is filled with the Holy Spirit. Our Lord spoke of an unclean spirit which had been cast out of a man and finding no place to rest thought that it would return to its former host. "And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of the man is worse than the first." (Luke 11:25 &26). When at Pascha, we are reborn and our soul is "swept and put in order" then it is necessary for it to be occupied so as to prevent the demons from taking advantage and so God in His infinite love and mercy comes Himself to dwell in us through the Holy Spirit. This is the feast of Pentecost, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the transformation which was begun at Pascha is further fulfilled in the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And the Holy Spirit within us, Himself, has the effect of transforming and shaping the soul into more perfectly taking on His own image and likeness.

But God does not act towards us as a tyrant, Who imposes His own will with no regard for our own desire, but rather He acts as a loving Father, Who enables us by our voluntary action, to submit to His will and Who works with us that we might be changed. It is therefore necessary for us to cooperate with God, to allow Him to work in us and to shape our own will to His will. If we resist Him and refuse to cooperate with His direction and His leading, then He will withdraw and will not force Himself upon us unwilling. Therefore we must develop within ourselves a desire for God which surpasses all other desire and a love for Him which is greater than any other love.

How do we develop this desire and this love? What did we just say? If you wish to love someone, then act as though you love them and in a short time that love will begin to grow within your heart. And so if we wish to develop a supreme love for our Lord Jesus Christ, then we must begin to act as though we had such a love already. If we adjust our behavior to conform with a supreme desire and love for God, then that desire and love will grow within our heart and soul. When we desire Him, then He will fulfill our desire; when we love Him, then He will come to us. And when He comes, He will transform us into His own image and likeness and will dwell within us, uniting us to Himself.

With permission, from Priest David Moser moserd@PRIMENET.COM
St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR) Boise, ID

Come Holy Spirit, Come

by Joseph of Jesus and Mary

Come Holy Spirit, come, enkindle the hearts of your faithful.

Come Holy Spirit, come, we have received the body and blood of Jesus, fill us with His spirit, His purity and His goodness.

Come Holy Spirit, come, penetrate with your light the deepest part of our souls, empower us with great faith, clothe us with your love and enlighten us with your wisdom.

Come Holy Spirit, come, renew our minds and our hearts, make healthy our bodies and our souls.

Come Holy Spirit, come, saturate us with your presence and sanctify us.

Come Holy Spirit, come, make every beat of our hearts a song of praise, blessing, thanksgiving and glory to God.

Come Holy Spirit, come, replace our cold hearts with living furnaces of burning love for God.

Come Holy Spirit, come, make every cell of our bodies a holy altar of worship and service to God.

Come Holy Spirit, come, let peace reign in our midst, the peace that Jesus has given us.

Come Holy Spirit, come, make us aware of the living presence of God at all times. Come Holy Spirit, come, enlighten our minds with wisdom of the heart.

Come Holy Spirit, come, prepare our souls as living tabernacles of the Holy Trinity. Come Holy Spirit, come, take over our lives: act in us, think in us, will in us, for the glory of God .

Come Holy Spirit, come, increase our faith, hope and love, give us the grace to do always the will of God.

Come Holy Spirit, come, increase our dependence in the Sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Come Holy Spirit, come, teach us to open our hearts and our lives to the Will of God.

Come Holy Spirit, come, make us keep the Word of God constantly.

Come Holy Spirit, come, inspire us to be holy and perfect.

Come Holy Spirit, come, teach us to surrender to God, remind us constantly to imitate Mary your worthy and beloved spouse.

Come Holy Spirit, come, pray for us at all times even if we don't understand it, praise God without ceasing, teach us to worship in spirit and in truth.

Come Holy Spirit, come, Spirit of Jesus the Sun of Justice. Let your healing rays touch our hearts, our bodies and our souls and heal us of all wounds that prevent our perfect relationship with God .

Come Holy Spirit, come, baptise us with your healing consuming fire of love.

Come Holy Spirit, come, touch the hearts of all unbelievers and all sinners, convert them to Jesus, fill them with repentance and the spirit of conversion.

Come Holy Spirit, come, enkindle the fire of worship and adoration in lukewarm souls.

Come Holy Spirit, come, teach us to love one another as Jesus has loved us.

Come Holy Spirit, come, fill us with your goodness, teach us to share and to be compassionate.

Come Holy Spirit, come, anoint us with your purity, make us live holy lives for the glory of God.

Come Holy Spirit, come, fill us with understanding, patience, faithfulness, trustfulness, mercy, self control, humility, kindness, charity, obedience, piety, surrender and joy.

Come Holy Spirit, come, fill us with the Word of God.

Come Holy Spirit, come, make us truly new creatures in Christ, help us to shine his light where there is darkness; to bring his peace and joy where there is unhappiness. Come Holy spirit ,come, Teach us to glorify Jesus by evangelising and becoming his instruments of love.

Come Holy Spirit, come, animate us with your holy presence. Fill your temples: take possession of our bodies, our souls, our minds and our wills; which we submit to you to glorify God.

Come Holy Spirit, come, fill us with the Power of Faith. With the great Love of God. With holy Wisdom. With abundant Grace. With innocent Purity. With everlasting Peace and with the Light of God.

Come Holy Spirit, come, dwell in us forever, with the Father and with the Son.

Amen.

Novena Of The Holy Spirit

by St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Who are you, sweet light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother's hand,
And should you let go of me,
I would not know how to take another step.
You are the space
That embraces my being and buries it in yourself.
Away from you it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness, from which you raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me than I to myself
And more interior than my most interior
And still impalpable and intangible
And beyond any name:
Holy Spirit eternal love!

Are you not the sweet manna
That from the Son's heart
Overflows into my heart,
The food of angels and the blessed?
He who raised himself from death to life,
He has also awakened me to new life
From the sleep of death.
And he gives me new life from day to day,
And at some time his fullness is to stream through me,
Life of your life indeed, you yourself:
Holy Spirit eternal life!

Are you the ray
That flashes down from the eternal Judge's throne
And breaks into the night of the soul
That had never known itself?
Mercifully relentlessly
It penetrates hidden folds.
Alarmed at seeing itself,
The self makes space for holy fear,
The beginning of that wisdom
That comes from on high
And anchors us firmly in the heights,
Your action,
That creates us anew:
Holy Spirit ray that penetrates everything!

Are you the spirit's fullness and the power
By which the Lamb releases the seal
Of God's eternal decree?
Driven by you
The messengers of judgment ride through the world
And separate with a sharp sword
The kingdom of light from the kingdom of night.
Then heaven becomes new and new the earth,
And all finds its proper place
Through your breath:
Holy Spirit victorious power!

Are you the master who builds the eternal cathedral,
Which towers from the earth through the heavens?
Animated by you, the columns are raised high
And stand immovably firm.
Marked with the eternal name of God,
They stretch up to the light,
Bearing the dome,
Which crowns the holy cathedral,
Your work that encircles the world:
Holy Spirit God's molding hand!

Are you the one who created the unclouded mirror
Next to the Almighty's throne,
Like a crystal sea,
In which Divinity lovingly looks at itself?
You bend over the fairest work of your creation,
And radiantly your own gaze
Is illumined in return.
And of all creatures the pure beauty
Is joined in one in the dear form
Of the Virgin, your immaculate bride:
Holy Spirit Creator of all!

Are you the sweet song of love
And of holy awe
That eternally resounds around the triune throne,
That weds in itself the clear chimes of each and every being?
The harmony,
That joins together the members to the Head,
In which each one
Finds the mysterious meaning of his being blessed
And joyously surges forth,
Freely dissolved in your surging:
Holy Spirit eternal jubilation!

About The Author:

Edith Stein, St. Benedicta of the Cross, the saintly Carmelite, profound philosopher and brilliant writer, had a great influence on the women of her time, and is having a growing influence in the intellectual and philosophical circles of todayís Germany and of the whole world.

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