The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Blessed Trinity, just as active in the world today as ever. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit created the world (Genesis 1:2), led Jesus into the desert (Matthew 4:1), comes to us at Confirmation (Acts 8:18), and intercedes for us in sighs that we cannot understand (Romans 8:26). Always remember that The Church teaches that The Holy Spirit is a person, like Jesus, and like God the Father, meaning He is a being with a will and an intellect. The Holy Spirit is not some kind of generic force, like lightning or love. The Holy Spirit IS A PERSON.
So why then do most people not seek out the Holy Spirit? It’s because most people think that we received the Holy Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation, and that’s that. Big mistake. Our sins negatively affect the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Our bodies are temples to the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Confession, along with a firm purpose of amendment to never sin again, restores our relationship with the Holy Spirit, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to personally invite the Holy Spirit to take over our lives and to inspire us occasionally. The Catholic Church sponsors Life in the Spirit Seminars, where people learn how to praise God, and where the Holy Spirit is invoked to change our lives. This involves the laying on of hands (Acts 6:6) by ministers at the end of the seminar. The laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit is very biblical. Acts 9:17 says
“So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Most Catholics cringe when they think of this, as if it were foreign to the faith. When asked about attending something charismatic, most people shy away from it. Catholics never think twice about receiving Jesus over and over again in Holy Communion, but they draw back from the thought of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit more than twice! This is totally baseless. Peter received the Holy Spirit when he was baptized, and again when Jesus gave him the power to forgive sins, and again at Pentecost. Mary received the Holy Spirit at the Incarnation, at her Baptism, and again at Pentecost. It is a good and holy thing to have the Holy Spirit energized in our lives as often as we can. The Bible says in Luke 11:13:
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
So ask already! Most people never do. Acts 1:8 says:
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”
St. Peter knew Jesus personally, received His Body and Blood at the Last Supper, truly believed that Jesus is God, and he tried to follow Jesus as his apostle. But he still denied Jesus during His trial, in a fit of weakness. However, when St. Peter received the full power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he changed into a powerful evangelist, who did many great things. That same power awaits us all in the person of the Holy Spirit, and all we have to do is ask for it!
The Holy Spirit has many strengths: He can by with you, or in you, or filled in you. John 14:17 says:
“even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.”
Acts 2:4 says:
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
The Holy Spirit has great gifts to give you for the asking, like wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, fear (of offending) the Lord, and piety, from Isaiah 11:2-3. These gifts are given to the believer for his benefit. Paul talks about other charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11: ecstatic utterances, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. These charismatic gifts are given to the believer for the benefit of the unbelievers. In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul outlines the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Who wouldn’t want to exhibit these fruits, which, by the way, are sorely lacking in today’s world?
But didn’t all of this charismatic stuff end at Pentecost and with the death of the Apostles? NO. The Bible says in Acts 2:17-18:
“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my men servants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”
Well, we are a lot closer to the last day than when these words were spoken, so now is the time! Don’t be put off by the “speaking in tongues” gift. This rarely happens at a Life in the Spirit Seminar. What does happen is that people leave with a new sense of praising God, which is not only very biblical, but very beneficial to one’s soul. A lot of people only ask God for favors when praying, as if He is some kind of celestial Santa Claus, and they never think twice about praising Him. The more one praises God, the less influence the devil has over your life. The Archangel Raphael says in Tobit 12:6,17:
“Then the angel called the two of them privately and said to them: “Praise God and give thanks to him; exalt him and give thanks to him in the presence of all the living for what he has done for you. It is good to praise God and to exalt his name, worthily declaring the works of God. Do not be slow to give him thanks. But he said to them, “Do not be afraid; you will be safe. But praise God for ever.”
Another great thing that happens after you recharge your spiritual batteries with the infilling of the Holy Spirit at a Life in the Spirit Seminar is that you come away with a love of Scripture that you never had before. Scripture verses that were so “ho-hum” to you in the past now come alive with new meaning. You will start to connect the dots between different Scripture passages that you never even thought of before. And you will also come away with an evangelistic fervor you never had. Any spiritual gift that you already have will be enhanced considerably by the Holy Spirit.
If you invoke the power of the Holy Spirit often, many bad things that Satan has planned for your future now won’t happen. This was my experience. Why? Because there is no room for the Holy Spirit AND Satan in your body. And when bad things do happen to you, you will now have the spiritual strength to endure them for love of God. Another great spinoff of attending a Life in the Spirit Seminar is that you may be inspired to change your life for the better and evangelize total strangers around the world through the Internet.
Inviting the Holy Spirit into your life will change your life in ways you can’t imagine. This is a great thing to have happen, especially if you are tired of the world beating down on you all the time. Without warning, you will start gaining insights and solutions to problems that you have. All of a sudden, spiritual things that you never saw before your very eyes become plain as day. Answers to your biggest problems pop into your head when you least expect them. The world and all of its allurements now starts to have less sway over your life, because you will soon become enamored of what awaits us in heaven. It happened to me; it could happen to you!
Inviting the Holy Spirit to take over your life is maximum strength for the journey of the rest of your life ! Just look at how Peter’s life was changed when the Holy Spirit took over his life: he went from being a weak Jesus-denying coward to become a totally fearless evangelist. The same thing can happen to each and every one of us! It’s good to remember, though, that all of these changes may not happen overnight, but instead may occur in God’s good time. After all, an acorn takes a long time to become an 80 foot tall mighty oak. Always trusting in God to do the right thing no matter what is the key for prayer to be answered (James 1:6).
John 16:13:When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Prayer of St. Augustine
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, be with me today. Be my teacher, my guide, my counselor, my friend. Fill me with your gifts, especially the gifts of wisdom, discernment, knowledge, understanding, compassion, love, and awe in God’s presence. In all that I think, say, and do, let it be in accordance with your most holy and perfect will. I ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Prayer for Enlightenment
O Holy Ghost, divine Spirit of light and love, I consecrate to Thee my understanding, my heart and my will, my whole being for time and for eternity. May my understanding be always obedient to Thy heavenly inspirations and the teachings of the holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible Guide; may my heart be ever inflamed with love of God and of my neighbor; may my will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may my whole life be a faithful following of the life and virtues of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory for ever. Amen.