Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

The feast of Pentecost is a celebration of the mysterious movement of God in our lives, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

May 22, 2015

By Sr Teresa White FCJ
The feast of Pentecost is a celebration of the mysterious movement of God in our lives, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In the opening chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, Luke describes the early Church in idealistic terms. He tells us that on the day of Pentecost, the whole group of believers were ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’, and, as a result, they were all ‘united, heart and soul’. Yet, not long afterwards we hear of a married couple who tried to deceive the community, and of division and bitter disputes among the first Christians. So it seems that, to be filled with the Spirit is not a permanent condition — we need to keep on receiving it. The Spirit comes to us and to our communities, as St Paul says, to help us in our weakness (Romans 8), to encourage and inspire us in the midst of our failures and imperfections. The Spirit comes to ‘renew the face of the earth,’ to strengthen and revive us. Like the satellite navigator, the Spirit guides us along the right path, but is always ready to recalculate when we go astray.

There is no mistaking the presence of the Spirit in the life of the believer. The tradition speaks of the ‘fruits’ of that presence, of the spiritual energy it generates. Describing the fruits of the Spirit, those perceptible attributes of a transformed life, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, ‘Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends’ (The Cost of Discipleship). That power on whom all life depends is the Holy Spirit, hovering over the chaos, moving through God’s people — sustaining them, restoring them, challenging them, stirring them up, calling them on to good, revealing to them the daily miracles of creation.

The Spirit-filled person lives intensely in the here and now. He or she is alive with the energy of love, moved by the energy of joy. Instead of being crushed and embittered by the sorrows of life, such a person retains a peaceful energy in the midst of pain and suffering. Patience, kindness and sheer goodness are further signs, instantly recognisable, of the presence of the Spirit, as are trustworthiness and gentleness, modesty, unforced self-control and readiness to forgive. Just as a satellite navigator guides us to our destination when we are unsure of our route, the Spirit enables us ‘to walk into the future with hope and trust, without knowing precisely how things will turn out’, but with complete confidence in the providence of God.

Source: Thinking Faith

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