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 | By Cari Ann DeLamielleure-Scott

Discover God's plan for happiness in your life

At the assembly, Deacon Oney will explain how to be open to the Holy Spirit

When God says that he has a plan and purpose for our lives, he really means it. God is not trying to hide that purpose from us. God wants us to discover our purpose, or our divine mission – to enter it and to walk in that divine mission.” That’s the message from Deacon Larry Oney, a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Deacon Oney is one of five scheduled speakers at the Made for Happiness Diocesan Assembly in Lansing on Sept. 22. An author of several books and a frequent guest on Catholic television programs, he is known across the globe for his dynamic preaching style; messages of hope and purpose; and praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

He is the founder and president of Hope and Purpose Ministries, a nonprofit ministry that participates in the New Evangelization through preaching, teaching, leading retreats and parish missions, and helping people foster the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The ministry focuses on five main initiatives: prayer, New Evangelization, urban evangelization, international outreach and ecumenical harmony.

One of the main things Deacon Oney teaches about is the first Pentecost and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. The Holy Spirit came suddenly and didn’t send a text message or email to warn us, he explains. The Holy Spirt came suddenly as tongues of fire over the heads of the disciples.

“The gift and the miracle of this Pentecost event was that people heard one another in their own language,” he says. “It was a powerful thing, and I love to note that Mary was there in the Upper Room with the apostles, as is indicated in Acts 1:14. She had already experienced the Holy Spirit at the Incarnation of Jesus, but she was again filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and we can be filled more than once as well.

“At our baptism, we receive the ‘indwelling Holy Spirit’ and the Holy Spirit is poured out again at confirmation – that is also the ‘indwelling’ Holy Spirit. However, we can all be filled with the Holy Spirit more than once,” he says. Deacon Oney refers to this as the “infilling” Holy Spirit. He continues: “As the Scripture says, there is one baptism (Eph 4:5), but many fillings. (Eph 5:18 and Acts 13:52)

“The Holy Spirit is the animator upon the earth today in the body of Christ. In Acts 1, Jesus told the disciples to wait for the promise of the Father, who is the Holy Spirit.” Deacon Oney explains. “We have the Holy Spirit in us by virtue of our baptism, and so he is alive in us. But we have to open ourselves up to give him permission to act and move in us and through us. It is a reality that the Holy Spirit speaks, anoints, acts, moves, appoints, – and empowers.

“We, as a Catholic-Christian people, have authority and power to continue the work of evangelization upon the earth,” Deacon Oney says. “That is why Jesus told the disciples to wait for this outpouring of the Holy Spirit of which the Father promised. In Luke’s Gospel, John the Baptist says that Jesus ‘will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’ (3:16)

“I love what Pope Paul VI says, that the Church exists to evangelize. The principal work of the Church is to evangelize. And the only way we can really evangelize is by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because the Scripture says, ‘Not by might, and not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord.’ (Zec 4:6)

“By the power of the Holy Spirit, God calls us to be receivers, healers and deliverers. We must meet people where they are and offer them a fresh encounter with the person of Jesus Christ and the person of the Holy Spirit.

“As Catholics, we are called to testify to what God has done for us. He loved us even when we were still sinners, and he has redeemed us by his blood. He has breathed his breath over us to give us strength to tell the Good News of his life, death and burial.

“God wants to strengthen us to go out and share the Good News. God always wants to pour out his love and mercy in a fresh way.

“I believe that God is saying to us, it is time for the body of Christ that has already been empowered, anointed and appointed to get busy and go forth with the work of evangelization in the power of the Holy Spirit!”