Veni, Sancte Spiritus! This is the great prayer of the Church as we enter into this celebration of Pentecost. Over the past several days I have prayed a Novena to the Holy Spirit, and have been inspired numerous times in recalling the many ways the Holy Spirit is at work in the Church. Several Scripture passages are helpful in recalling the great work of the Holy Spirit which I would like to review with you.
During his prayer at the Last Supper, Jesus asked the Father to give the Holy Spirit to his disciples, the Spirit of Truth, which the world cannot accept. (John 14:17) Jesus tells his disciples they will know this Spirit, because it will dwell in them. This is the Spirit that down through the ages has testified to Jesus in and through his followers, in and through his Church. (John 15:26) This is the same Holy Spirit that leads us to all Truth. (John 16:13) Yes, Church, there is an ultimate Truth to be discovered, and is discoverable through faith and reason. This ultimate Truth is Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit testifies to this Truth. Listen to the words of St. Paul:
The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God. Among human beings, who knows what pertains to a person except the spirit of the person that is with? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the “Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.(1 Corinthians 1: 10-12)
The work of the Spirit has been the work of the Church for centuries, to sanctify people everywhere so as to make us children of God, worthy of inheriting everlasting life. Listen again to the words of the great Apostle, Paul:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba” Father! The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8: 14-17)
We pray as Church for the gifts of the Spirit to be unleashed in our day for the renewal of all that is good and holy within each of us. We commit again this holy feast to live by the Spirit, whose fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. (Galatians 5: 22-23, 25)
My prayer for all of us is the prayer of St. Paul:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Come Holy Spirit, Renew your Church, and inspire those who preach the Gospel!