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A Personal Relationship
A Reflection on the Holy Spirit
Each member of the Trinity is a “person” and as a result we are called to have a personal-relationship with the Holy Spirit, as much as the Father and the Son. Yet, many Catholics tend to find themselves confused about how to go about doing this. The Holy Spirit can be an abstraction, or treated like an energy, or reduced to one of the 7 gifts that flow from the Holy Spirit. The reality is, the Holy Spirit is an advocate, and a counsellor for each of us.
What can help us relate to the Holy Spirit is to focus on His principle tasks in our lives. The Holy Spirit’s responsibility is to chiefly make us more like the Son of God, so that we can inherit the relationship that the Son has with the Father. For this reason, it is by the Holy Spirit that we are able to speak of Jesus as our Lord, and the Father as “Abba.” Where Jesus is our Lord, His mind and heart and will become the basic standard for our own life. Where we internalize His own mindset, his own passions, his own faithfulness, we enter into a relationship with the Father “in Spirit and Truth.” This helps us understand how the Holy Spirit is a counsellor. The Holy Spirit will convict us of our sin, in contrast to the Son of God’s purity and goodness. Our heart will long for something better, namely the sentiments and freedom that Jesus has from a worldly disposition. The Holy Spirit will grant us the single-minded approach of doing His Father’s will.
Thus, were the Christian genuinely wants to become more like Christ, their soul will cry out for the Holy Spirit, and none will be denied this gift, as Jesus promises. Where the Church cries out for the Holy Spirit to “come” we authentically make this prayer known to God where it is our devotion that we be more conformed to Christ.
The humility behind such a prayer is to admit that we need help to be like Him, and that we have all fallen short. Yet the Holy Spirit accomplishes this not only in regard to the private prayer life, but also in providing us the Sacraments. Where faith and the reception of the sacraments take place, man is capable of experiencing greater conformity to Christ.
Often our notion of the sacraments is reduced to some mechanical act. The celebrant of the Sacrament has to check off a list of what is required for “validity” and for the sacrament to be “licit.” But we forget to also assess how to make the sacrament fruitful. It is the relational dimension of faith that unlocks the sacraments to bear fruit. In order for us to he “saved” through the graces the Sacraments offer, we need to understand that the external acts of that celebrant are only one dimension to the validity of the Sacraments. The Holy Spirit, in every Sacrament, also has intention, and is not simply acting like a machine that produces effects of grace. There is a relational movement within the Holy Spirit, like a dove swooping down to the Church to pursue a relationship with each one of us. When the Eucharist becomes truly present on the Altar, it is the work of the Holy Spirit, whereby He brings forth the presence of the Son of God, for our own Good. This work of the Holy Spirit, working within the priest, who operates in the “person of Christ the head” is essentially dependent on the Holy Spirit. And it constantly happens not because the Holy Spirit is some reliable machine, but because at each mass, God intends for His promises to be fulfilled. We need to therefore internalize that at every mass, we are actually being perused by God, intentionally, and avoid any kind of mechanical reductionism when examining the sacraments.
Furthermore, where we return to the presence of the Holy Spirit outside of the liturgy, we have to consider the relationship between the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruits. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are a sharing in the supernatural life of Christ, being able to do even greater things than what he accomplished in His life. The same Spirit of Christ is shared with us, whereby he healed, cast out demons, read souls, and proclaimed the Truth with incredible force. These gifts are given to us so that we can share in the identity of Christ and His mission. These “gifts” are dormant within us, and will not be active if we do not experiment with them, or attempt to reveal how God wishes us to use them. And where we do not use these gifts, we will not produce fruits, which are the effects of the usage of such gifts. Where we do not act like Christ, we do not bear fruits like Christ within our own spirit.