Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By F. K. Bartels

5/21/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, desires to re-create and transform you into the likeness of Christ. Are you ready?

The celebration of Pentecost reminds us that right now, here in the present, the Spirit actively and constantly seeks human hearts that thirst for divine love and a new way of life, which he finds as an irresistible invitation to enter into the depths of the soul, take possession of it that it too may possess him, and thus experience his warm, regenerative and healing embrace. It is a mutual kiss of love, one delighting in the Other; the Other delighting in the one. Oh, the love of the Spirit!

Highlights

By F. K. Bartels

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/21/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Holy Spirit, Spirit, spirit, sanctifier, gift of the Spirit, Pentecost, Catholic Church, life in Christ, life in the Spirit, Spirit of Truth, Lord Giver of Life, F. K. Bartels


GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) -- At the Vigil Mass of Pentecost, the Church prays in her divine liturgy: "Grant, we pray, almighty God, that the splendor of your glory may shine forth upon us and that, by the bright rays of the Holy Spirit, the light of your light may confirm the hearts of those born again by your grace" (Collect).

Recall that on the day of Pentecost after the completion of the seven weeks of Easter, "Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given and communicated as a divine person" (CCC 731) to the apostles who were "all together in one place" (Acts 2:1).

Let us go back for a moment to the eve of Christ's Passion. Although Jesus said to his disciples, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6), he informed them that they could not yet bear all the many things he had to say to them (Jn 16:12). In effect, the intimate friends of Jesus, who walked and slept, ate and drank with him, could not yet grasp the fullness of who Jesus is; that is, they could not yet comprehend the fullness of the revelation of the Father.

At Pentecost, the Risen Christ lovingly and mercifully pours forth his Spirit of truth upon the apostles in order to confirm their hearts in the truth that is itself constituted by his divine and human Person. The Spirit of truth, belonging to both the Father and the Son, is sent to glorify Jesus and declare the things to come (cf Jn 16:13-15). He will remain with the apostles, their successors and the Church always because Christ is with his Church always (Mt 28:20).

This gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed upon the apostolic leadership of the Church in order to insure that these men, united together in prayer as one (Acts 2:1), and indeed the whole Church in union with them, will be guided into all truth (Jn 16:13).

Truth is necessary for the apostles, the entire Church in communion with them, and all of humanity since it is an indispensable component in communicating the gospel and therefore of authentic human development. It is ordinarily necessary to relate properly and freely to God, live a life of love for God's sake, and to attain to the destiny the Father planned from the beginning. The Church is, then, by divine commission, made the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim 3:15), who offers to all people the beauty and sublimity of the fullness of the truth and the fullest means of salvation.

Divinely aided by the Holy Spirit, the Church continues the mission of Christ in the world: she goes forth and teaches whatsoever Jesus has commanded (Mt 28:20) but for one purpose: the salvation of humankind. With the gift of the Spirit, who is the soul and guiding principle of the Church, the People of God receive and then transmit the fullness of truth to all people and all nations in order that humankind may attain to the sublime and salvific plan of the Father: the permanent reception of divine love.

Christ sends his Spirit not only upon the leadership of the Church, but also upon the individual members of the faithful as well, since the Church is a living community of faith and each member is a member of the one body of Christ (Rom 12:5). This gift of the Spirit ordinarily occurs through the reception of the sacrament of Baptism, bestowed on even infants because of its great importance (see CCC 1257-1261), in which the doorway to eternal life is thrown wide as we are incorporated into Christ, the Church, and infused with the indwelling Spirit of God (CCC 1262-1270; Rom 6:3; 1 Pet 3:21; Acts 2:37-38).

Here we recall the collect prayer of Pentecost written above, which speaks of the Holy Spirit as the light of God and the splendor of his glory.

Think for a moment about what it means to be Christian. If you love Christ, sincerely and truly, yearning to make your life become as his life, he pours forth his Spirit upon you in order to re-create, transform, and sanctify you. The Holy Spirit, then, "fulfills the vocation of man (CCC 1699). You are given the gift of the indwelling Spirit so that, by the delicate yet constant work of the divine in the depths of your soul, Christ crucified may be reproduced in you, re-making you to be like God.

That sublime destiny, one in which we are not only called to everlasting communion with Love Itself but lovingly re-created by the Spirit so as to be enabled to live out such a reality, seems so stupendous and astonishing as to be impossible; it is not, however, for it is indeed the plan of love the Father has revealed through his Son and through his Church; it is the salvific plan for which Christ gave his life on the cross; it is the design of God for which the Holy Spirit unceasingly thirsts.

Understand that you are not simply offered a heavenly promise or the promise of heaven, but, provided openness and docility to the Spirit governs your heart, given the free and unmerited gift of the indwelling Spirit in the present, who then becomes your indispensable and loving companion, guide, and sanctifier. The Spirit's intent is the accomplishment of your salvation, not only by leading you to Christ but by reproducing in you his image. It can be said that the Holy Spirit, with divine and efficacious tools of indescribable love, labors with the tenderness of God to shape you into a "little christ." That is why the sure sign of possession of the Spirit is a Christ-like life lived out in accordance with the Gospel.

God sends the Paraclete upon those he "chose from the beginning to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth" (1 Thes 2:13). We see, then, that belief in the truth transmitted in its fullness by the Church is indispensable, for to search for the truth and then fully assent to it when found, is to turn one's gaze upon the Spirit whose words are truth. Stated in the negative, those who intentionally and willfully reject the truth of the Church also reject the Spirit who is the guiding principle and soul of the Church.

Further, even before you were conceived in your mother's womb, God decreed to pour forth an unimaginable gift of love upon you: the Spirit who is Lord and Giver of Life. With the gift of the indwelling Spirit, you receive what human nature cannot possibly attain for itself: a share in the supernatural life of God.

Also, we see that the Spirit is given for the purposes of sanctification and salvation. The Spirit comes to you on a mission of divine love, one which is ordered toward a definite purpose and specific end: to re-create you into a new person whose destiny is everlasting life with Christ. The Spirit's aspiration is to love you, not partially but completely and forever, for that is what salvation and love is; his longing is to possess you that you may also truly possess him, for to love truly is to truly enter into the perpetual, forever gift of self. In this mutual embrace, an endless kiss of love, both the divine and the human give and receive; and, all the while, the delicate yet consistent and transformative work of the Spirit quietly takes place.

All of this stands in stark opposition to the view some hold of the Spirit as an "impersonal thing" that remains hidden, unrecognized and unknown within us, secretly moving its subjects by an unfelt power. While it is true that the action of the Spirit within the soul is tender and delicate, since he refuses to resort to force, it is a mistake to think it impossible to feel his presence and take real delight in his divine and ineffable movements.

In a relationship with the Spirit, there is a real exchange of love, communication, feeling, consolation, and encouragement that takes place on a personal level, as one Person to the other. The Holy Spirit communicates to us personally, relates to us personally, touches us personally, and thus can make us feel as if we are alone with him in the universe as the sole object of his complete love and desire. With his touch, the Spirit whispers: "It is you I love." In return, the human heart groans with indescribable longing, mirroring the same feeling: "It is you I love." While the exchange is never superficial but profoundly real, deep and meaningful, rising from light into Light, there always remains mystery, darkness even. The Spirit is the divine, infinite Other who transcends our complete grasp, remains beyond our full understanding.

In such a life of docility, beauty and depth, there is no tiring of the indwelling presence of the Spirit. He does not wear us down, nor do we ever feel as if we would like to depart from him--not even momentarily. His transformative caresses are not overpowering, regardless of how much shaping of the soul and heart in which he is engaged, nor does he prevent the accomplishment of human activities. The more we busy ourselves with other things, the more he recedes softly into the background, allowing us our time and concentration, thirsting all the while, however, that we should once again turn our eyes upon him and be drawn upward onto his infinite, fiery gaze.

Therefore it is important to continually foster this relationship of love, remaining constantly attentive to the Spirit, allowing him to carry us by his love and direct our life as a feather is lifted to the heights by the Divine Wind.

In the end, all words fall short of describing what it means to give oneself to the Spirit and enjoy his divine and refreshing touch. It is something we each have to discover and experience for ourselves along the road to perfection as we live out the sacramental, Christian life in the womb of mother Church.

That this journey into ineffable Light can often be a rather long and arduous one is true. If we should think it easy, we have not yet given adequate reflection to the difficult and painful life of Christ. Nevertheless, Christ first sends us his Spirit as leader, guide, consoler, and sanctifier along the way of life, that we may not simply stay the course but be nourished and transformed into a new person as we walk. It is in this very thing, this transformation and renewal, that the path itself is changed; then, we find it is no longer strewn with thorns but covered over with sweet and colorful roses.

Paradoxically, held in the loving embrace of the Spirit, the soul may even throw itself upon these thorns, desiring to suffer as did the Beloved, for the more it does so the sweeter its life becomes and the more deeply it drinks of the indescribable, heavenly delights of the Giver of Life.

Let us live out Pentecost! Its celebration in the Church reminds us that right now, here in the present, the Spirit actively and constantly seeks human hearts that thirst for divine love and a new way of life, which he finds as an irresistible invitation to enter into the depths of the soul, take possession of it that it too may possess him, and thus experience his warm, regenerative and healing embrace. It is a mutual kiss of love, one delighting in the Other; the Other delighting in the one. Oh, the love of the Spirit!

Praise be to the Spirit of God forever and ever! Amen.

-----

F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows the Catholic Church transmits the fullness of truth and offers the fullest means of salvation; therefore his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Is this where the Annunciation took place? Ancient artwork sheds light an old mystery about the Virgin Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation, 1859 (oil on canvas), Pinchon, Auguste.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

One of the oldest depictions of the Virgin Mary is casting new light on the Annunciation. A new look at an ancient depiction in the Yale University Art Gallery is making some question what they believe about the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


How do presidents pray? The beginning of a beautiful tradition Watch

Image of John F. Kennedy praying during the 9th annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 9, 1961 (Prayers for America).

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

This morning marks the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast and President Obama's last time attending the remarkable tradition while in office.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On the first Thursday in February, the members of Congress and evangelical ... continue reading


Pope Francis will travel to Mexico as a messenger for peace Watch

Image of Pope Francis has participated in a collective interview, in which he responded to four questions posed by 33 people from various states across Mexico (Catholic News Agency).

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis will leave for Mexico in just over a week. In a new interview with a Mexican news agency, he told citizens of the crime-ridden country that while there, he hopes to be a messenger of peace, which must be fought for daily. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


Sparks fly over Pope Francis' interview with Asia Times Watch

Image of Pope Francis did not speak of religion or freedom when praising China as a progressive country (Vatican).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis' exclusive interview on Tuesday afternoon has been met with harsh criticism. Though the pontiff spoke highly of the country, he steered clear of religion and freedom talks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis spoke ... continue reading


Sis boom bah! American Circus cheerleaders perform for Pope Francis at the Vatican Watch

Image of Pope Francis enjoyed a cheer by the American Circus, which performed at the Vatican on Wednesday (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Following his general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis enjoyed cheers, acrobatics and juggling performed by the Italian troupe "American Circus." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During the Papal Audience, the American Circus performed before the pontiff and ... continue reading


'I'm gay and I'm a priest, period': Chicago priest opens up about his same sex attraction Watch

Image of Father Michael Shanahan has announced his sexual orientation to the world (Our Lady of Lourdes).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Twenty-three years after joining the clergy as a priest, Father Michael Shanahan, the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Chicago, has publicly admitted he is sexually attracted to other men. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The news was released via the ... continue reading


Before priests, nuns drop 'gossip bombs,' - bite your tongue, Pope Francis commands Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

"Bite your tongue!" That is the orders of Pope Francis, who said that gossip loving priests and nuns are hindering their cause by the spreading of innuendos and gossip. The pontiff also bemoaned the drop-off in vocations but said those that the church takes must be ... continue reading


Pope Francis: The actor? Watch

Image of Pope Francis is rumored to play himself in the upcoming spiritual film ''Beyond the Sun'' (Paul Haring).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In the upcoming film "Beyond the Sun," Pope Francis will be making his acting debut. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Radio Vatican denied all claims that Pope Francis "will play himself" in "Beyond the Sun," with Monsignor Dario Edoardo ViganĂ² stating only "video ... continue reading


God sends nun to save elderly man's life Watch

Image of A nun who has yet to be identified saved a man after a tree pinned him to the ground (wiseGEEK).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a story that sounds like the plot of a religious film, a nun, who stepped outside to pray, heard the cries of an elderly man caught beneath a tree in the frigid Wrentham, MA night. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Seventy-four-year-old Douglas Goldman was out in ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:1-7, 9-13
1 Solomon then summoned the elders of Israel to Jerusalem to bring the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 132:6-7, 8-10
6 Listen, we heard of it in Ephrathah, we found it at ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:53-56
53 Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 8th, 2016 Image

St. Jerome Emiliani
February 8: Jerome Emiliani lay chained in the dark dirty ... Read More