Let the Holy Spirit radically change your life
On the last Sunday of this month, May 27, we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, known as the birthday of the Church. This is the day on which the disciples received the gift promised by Jesus Christ: that when he had risen from the dead, he would send his Spirit to all who believed in him.
We are given the gift of the Spirit in baptism, and that gift is confirmed in us in the sacrament of confirmation. The gift of the Spirit is given so that we will be equipped to go out with the Gospel message, just as the first disciples did, and that our testimony will be accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit in the manner Christ intended.
Jesus, the only beloved son of the Father, became flesh to make a way for us to return to God after the sin of our first parents, to restore to us our infinite dignity as sons and daughters of the Father. We must believe that God was willing to die for us, to ransom us by his death, from eternal death; that he loved us so much that he would die for us, even while we were mired in sin and paying no attention to this heroic act on our behalf.
We must have faith that the mercy of God is so infinite that, no matter what sins we have committed, he will forgive us and restore our baptismal dignity to us. “We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another, but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing and regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our savior so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-8) This saying is sure. This is the living word of God. These words, coming from the Holy Spirit, have power to change our life.
I pray that this Pentecost may not just be an acknowledgement of an act of God centuries ago, but that, as you pray to receive greater faith, you may come to know, love and serve him even more faithfully.
An author, Sister Ruth Burrows, from England, wrote this about faith: “Faith is not a thing of the mind, it is not an intellectual certainty or a felt conviction of the heart. It is a sustained decision to take God with utter seriousness as the God of my life. It is to live out each hour in a practical, concrete affirmation that God is Father and he is “in heaven.” It is a decision to shift the center of our lives from ourselves to him, to forego self- interest and make his interests, his will, our sole concern …” (Magnificat, February 2012, p. 389)
May this Pentecost be a day for receiving greater faith, which the Holy Spirit always desires to give to us. Praying this way over a period of time radically changed my life. May you experience the same grace to really know the Father you truly have in heaven; to embrace the Son as your savior and redeemer, to become more and more the temple of the Holy Spirit that God created you to be. Happy season of preparation and Happy Pentecost.
Spiritual exercises for the month of May
Read Acts chapters 1-4. Reflect on the effects and the fruits of the coming of the Holy Spirit on those first apostles and disciples.
Read John 3:16. Reflect on whether you believe this for yourself; that God loved you so much that he would send his only Son to die for you.
Read Titus 3:3-8. Read them again and again until the truth sinks in – you are a son/daughter of God. You have infinite dignity and the Holy Spirit who dwells in you through baptism and confirmation seeks to unite you with the Father and the Son, to share life with you.