A reflection by Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh, MSCL
The sisters were recently at a gathering of Maronite young adults and a discussion arose about the Holy Spirit. One young man very honestly said, “I don’t know the Holy Spirit. How do I meet the Holy Spirit?” I was touched by his candor and genuine thirst to know the Holy Spirit, the often forgotten Third Person of the Holy Trinity.
This Sunday, June 9, the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost and we celebrate the coming down of the Holy Spirit upon Mary, and the disciples and apostles gathered in the upper room fifty days after the Resurrection. With the coming down of the Holy Spirit, we see once timid and fearful men set ablaze with the power of God and emboldened to proclaim the Gospel message and witness to all nations. What a perfect Feast for us to meet and get to know the Holy Spirit!
What is often not remembered is that the Holy Spirit is really, truly and personally present in our souls, by virtue of our Baptism. When we were Chrismated/Confirmed, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit and received in all fullness His seven Gifts – wisdom, understanding, knowledge, piety, fortitude, fear of the Lord and counsel. We have the fullness of God’s Spirit dwelling within us, so how is it that we don’t know Him? Why is He not making Himself known to us? The simple answer is the Holy Spirit is not to blame, our sins are the real culprit. Sin seriously weakens and diminishes the action of the Holy Spirit within our souls and darkens our intellects. We can go to the Mystery of Penance and with a good confession turn our gaze back to God.
So how do we get to know the Holy Spirit? Like we do with any new friend we make. We spend time with the person, talking to them, getting to know all about them. It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. We have to offer Him our daily prayers and open our hearts to him as candidly as we do with our friends. This is not a magic formula, it’s a relationship of love with Him who loves us best. Also, trying to live a morally good life is really the way to animate the Holy Spirit within us. The more we try to wipe out sin in our lives, this will deepen our conversion and our response to the Holy Spirits’ inspiration.
So let’s be bold this Sunday on the Feast of Pentecost and ask Him to descend upon us afresh with all His awesome Gifts and set us on fire with His great love! If you don’t know the Holy Spirit, then use this beautiful Feast to ask Him to give you the grace to really encounter Him in your life. He is longing for you to ask!
Come, Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love! Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth!