Guided by the Holy Spirit
Empower all our Ministries
The institutional Church wisely encourages and develops many services and ministries. Clergy and laypersons are called to these ministries for the good of the people of God. We are being trained to discern and acknowledge any call to ministry as a call from God, from the Father or Son or Holy Spirit. For many ministries the call is discerned not only by the individual but also by the community in which the person is to serve. The charismatic renewal emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church or parish or community. When the charismatic dimension of the Church becomes strong, we recognize that the Spirit is the primary agent of all that is done in the Kingdom of God.
"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you."
(Acts 1:8). As Christians we are living a Divine Life. But
too many Christians try to live this Divine Life by their human
powers. Obviously to live a Divine Life we need Divine Power.
St. Paul summarizes this reliance as he writes:
"No one can say
'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:3)
Of course St. Paul is not speaking merely about verbalizing that statement, but about the personal affirmation by which we embrace Jesus as the actual Lord of our life.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke the following to youths at 23rd World Youth Day on July 19, 2008:
"To separate the Holy Spirit from Christ present in the Church's institutional structure would compromise the unity of the Christian community, which is precisely the Spirit's gift! It would betray the nature of the Church as the living temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 3:16). It is the Spirit, in fact, who guides the Church in the way of all truth and unifies her in communion and in the works of ministry (cf. Lumen Gentium, 4). Unfortunately the temptation to 'go it alone' persists. Some today portray their local community as somehow separate from the so-called institutional Church, by speaking of the former [their local community] as flexible and open to the Spirit and the latter [the institutional Church] as rigid and devoid of the Spirit. . . ."
"Friends, when reciting the Creed we state: 'We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life'. The 'Creator Spirit' is the power of God giving life to all creation and the source of new and abundant life in Christ. The Spirit sustains the Church in union with the Lord and in fidelity to the apostolic Tradition. He inspired the Sacred Scriptures and he guides God's People into the fullness of truth (cf. Jn 16:13) In all these ways the Spirit is the 'giver of life', leading us into the very heart of God. So, the more we allow the Spirit to direct us, the more perfect will be our configuration to Christ and the deeper our immersion in the life of the Triune God."
Pope John Paul II, in introducing himself in 1979 in his first encyclical, "Redeemer of Man", 2–3, affirmed,
"I intend to continue letting myself be guided by unlimited trust in and obedience to the Spirit whom Christ promised and sent to his Church. . . . Entrusting myself fully to the Spirit of truth, I am entering into the rich inheritance of the recent pontificates."
It is clear why this Pope's entire ministry has been guided and anointed by the Holy Spirit because of his unlimited trust in the Spirit.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem knows from experience our need to rely on the Spirit:
"The soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. . . . Light floods the soul of the man counted worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit."
We dare not be indifferent to the Spirit.
St. Hilary teaches our need to depend on the Spirit:
"Unless a person absorbs the Gift of the Spirit through faith, the mind has the ability to know God but lacks the light necessary for that knowledge. This unique Gift Who is in Christ is offered in His fullness to everyone. He is everywhere available, but He is given to each man in proportion to his readiness to receive Him. His presence is the fuller, the greater a man's desire to be worthy of Him."
By faith in the Holy Spirit, we put ourselves at His disposal, we become available to His leadings and power.
St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, Virgin, encourages our availability to the Holy Spirit:
"O Holy Spirit, You find rest in creatures who are prepared to receive you, so that in the transmission of your gifts they take on, through purity, their own particular likeness to you. You find rest in those creatures who absorb the effects of the blood of the Word and make themselves worthy dwelling place for you. . . . It is proper that the soul should surrender to the Spirit, as it will if it turns entirely toward the Spirit and is united. . . . The Holy Spirit moves Himself by His own weight and lightness into all places that are fitting and disposed to receive him. His word is heard by all in the most attentive silence; through the impetus of love, the unmoved yet most perfect mover infuses himself into all."
As we read in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church",
"As fire transforms into itself everything that it
touches, so the Holy Spirit transforms into the divine life whatever is
subjected to His power."
By our surrender in faith we become subjected to His love and power and guidance. We cannot be indifferent to this Divine Person. So many Christians have learned from experience that the Holy Spirit ministers lovingly to them to the extent that they abide in Him, to the extent that they surrender to Him, to the extent that they really mean: I believe in the Holy Spirit.
All of our services and ministries should be carried out in Jesus' name. This means that we are totally available to Jesus, completely reliant on Him. This acting in Jesus' name presupposes some Christian maturity, some holiness. If we humbly act in Jesus' name, implicitly we will have an openness to the Holy Spirit, for Jesus Himself is always consciously reliant on the Holy Spirit. But we wisely seek to imitate Jesus and so learn to be increasingly reliant on the Holy Spirit Himself.
Innumerable verses in the New Testament clearly state that the Holy Spirit has been given to us. Most Christians realize that the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation bring the Holy Spirit to us. Yet receiving these Sacraments is not adequate for the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us in our daily lives. We must personally rely on Him. Why? Because the Holy Spirit will do nothing against our will. He respects our personal dignity and freedom as sons and daughters of the Father. We must learn to be docile and available to Him.
There are many Divine commands that require us to have a mature relationship with this Divine Person:
"Be aglow with the Spirit."
"Walk by the Spirit." (Galatians 5:16)
"Do not grieve the Spirit of God." (Ephesians 4:30)
"Be filled with the Spirit." (Acts 9:17)
"Do not quench the Spirit." (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
"Let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelations 2:9, 11, 17, 29 and 3:6, 13, 22)
In our Christian living and ministries, we should not grieve or quench the Spirit; we should collaborate with this Divine Person. What an awesome life we Christians (anointed ones) are called to live!