If you try to live the Christian life without the grace of the Holy Spirit you will fail.
It is not possible to love God, to be loved by Him without the Holy Spirit.
The only way to be a faithful husband, father, son, mother, wife, daughter, priest, brother, sister, pitcher, quarterback, you get the idea, is by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Too many Christians are trying to be a disciple by their own power and discipline and are failing miserably. It is not possible to be a follower of Christ without the Holy Spirit.
This is evidenced by the growing trend of Catholics (and other Christians denominations) becoming disillusioned and leaving their faith. I believe that one of the primary reasons this is the case is because they are not experiencing a dynamic personal relationship with Christ that is only possible when in relationship with the Holy Spirit.
When reflecting on the Holy Spirit many themes and topics arise. We know that the Holy Spirit is a part of the Trinity, we know that “we get” the Holy Spirit at baptism and “we get” some more at confirmation. We know that the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and that the Holy Spirit brings gifts but we probably couldn’t name them all. Some of the “Holy Spirit over-achievers” may know that there are ordinary gifts, charismatic or extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit. Oh, and there are fruits of the Spirit, lots of fruit.
Beyond that, for a large number of people, the Holy Spirit is often forgotten. Pope Francis has warned that the Holy Spirit has become “the Forgotten One”. He stated “We often pray to Jesus; we pray to the Father, especially in the ‘Our Father’; but not often to the Holy Spirit,” he said. “The Holy Spirit who has entirely animated the life and ministry of Jesus, it is the same Spirit that today guides the Christian existence, the existence of a man and a woman who say they want to be Christian.” (January 11, 2015) We must not forget the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps it may be that it is not that the Holy Spirit is forgotten, but for many people, the Holy Spirit was never known. It is time for this to change.
I think the first thing we need to know is that the greatest gift of the Spirit is God himself. Pope Francis states, “the Spirit himself is “the gift of God” par excellence (cf. Jn 4:10), he is a gift of God.” (April 9, 2014) The Holy Spirit as God, brings God. Every Christian ought to continually pray that their heart is open to the gift of God in the person of the Holy Spirit.
When we encounter the Holy Spirit, the Spirit bears witness to Jesus (John 15:26) and we come to the revelation of who Jesus is and what he has done for us by his life, death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus as Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:3)
Finally, the “God has sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, crying out Abba Father.” (Galatians 4:6) The Spirit reveals our Father who loves us with an everlasting love.
The Holy Spirit is about relationship; the Spirit desires to establish a relationship between you and Father and Son. However, this can only happen when we have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. A good question for you may be “Do I have a RELATIONSHIP with the Spirit of God?” Another question may be “How do I develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit?”
As we draw nearer to Pentecost take a few minutes this week and be still before the Lord and ask that God’s Holy Spirit would become more real to you and draw you into a deeper and more profound relationship with God.
God bless you,
Fr. Dave Pivonka
Ps. I am excited to share with you that I am developing something that will hopefully help answer these important questions. I am in the process of creating a new 14 part video series titled “The Wild Goose”. The purpose of the Wild Goose is to help discover a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not someone whom we only encounter at Confirmation or at Mass, but is ever present in our lives. Sadly, we are often not aware of the Spirit’s presence and we stumble along blindly trying to follow God’s will and be faithful to Him. We try to love, be patient, and self-controlled on our own strength, which, as has been mentioned, IS NOT POSSIBLE.
Go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/673326236/the-wild-goose in order to learn more about the Wild Goose Project. I also invite you to prayerfully consider supporting my Wild Goose Project so the message of the Holy Spirit can be shared to all those who need to hear.