In the Unleash the Gospel introduction Archbishop Vigneron reminds us, “He is pouring out his Holy Spirit anew so that every member of the Church may be formed and sent forth as a joyful missionary disciple, so that the Gospel may be unleashed in southeast Michigan.”
But let’s be real: having a relationship with the Holy Spirit can be difficult. Let’s cover some of the basics of the Holy Spirit:
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is God. The Creed reminds us that the Holy Spirit is the “Lord, the Giver of Life.” We profess that we believe this reality every Sunday at Mass. The Holy Spirit is truly God. The Catechism reminds us, “those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them” (CCC 687). God desires to dwell in our souls.
So to follow Jesus, we need the Holy Spirit.
Here’s the good news: You were given the Holy Spirit at your baptism. And that gift was confirmed through the sacrament of confirmation. All Christians have access to the power of God through the Holy Spirit. You have access to God’s life through the Holy Spirit.
“God the Holy Spirit is the principal agent for unleashing the Gospel” (Unleash the Gospel, Guidepost 10).
But what does this look like practically?
Life in the Holy Spirit: in your family
“Commit to developing family prayer time. Make time to listen, share, and grow together as a family guided by the Lord in times of joy and trial. Trust and develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit.” Unleash the Gospel
Family life infused with the Holy Spirit will look different. One example of this is that the Holy Spirit gives us special gifts called charisms and spiritual gifts. Each family member has been given unique abilities and those gifts are important to the health of your family. These charisms empower us; all of us have a role to play. If we learn to develop our God-given abilities, we will grow in our understanding of our interdependence with each other and also learn how important we each are to the building of God’s kingdom.
The Holy Spirit often leads families to be innovative offering new ways of communicating and structuring our lives. Innovation helps us be flexible, adaptable, unafraid to make mistakes and willing to learn from the good ideas of others. This can spill over into our family lives by allowing God to be the king of our homes.
Here are some moments to call on the Holy Spirit in your family:
- When you greet your family in the morning, “Holy Spirit, give me your love for my family.”
- If you’re pulled from other responsibilities to attend to your family, “Spirit, lead me.”
- When you are tired and worn out at home, “Holy Spirit, give me your strength.”
- If you sense strife or conflict in your family, “Spirit of Unity, enter into this space.”
- When you feel unloved or unappreciated, “Holy Spirit, remind me of my goodness.”
- As you go to bed, “Holy Spirit, show me how you worked in my life today.”
Life in the Holy Spirit: in your work
“We know that docility to the Holy Spirit means fearlessly saying yes to whatever he asks of us.” —Fr. Steve Pullis
As joyful missionary disciples, our places of work are mission territory. God has plans for our interactions, calls, meetings and emails. The Holy Spirit will show up—even in our work—if we invite him. But this takes docility to the Holy Spirit. What is docility to the Holy Spirit? It means we “walk by faith and not by sight.” It means letting the Holy Spirit to give us the grace to overcome our insecurities or fears of unleashing the Gospel in our workplaces. Even if we don’t know what it will look like, are we ready to fearlessly say yes to whatever the Holy Spirit asks of us?
Here are some practicals:
Read stories of other joyful disciples who share their faith in the workplace, like John “Jack” Telnack, who was global vice president of design of the Ford Motor Company
Read sacred Scripture, especially the Acts of the Apostles or Genesis, and pay attention to the role of the Holy Spirit.
Here are some moments to call on the Holy Spirit in your work:
- When you sit down for work, “Holy Spirit, use my work to bear fruit for the kingdom.”
- Walking into a meeting: “Holy Spirit, speak through me in this situation.”
- When you sit down for lunch, “Holy Spirit, give me an opportunity to share Jesus.”
- When you’re late for an event or meeting: “Holy Spirit, use this for your glory.”
- As you log on for a Zoom call, “Holy Spirit, speak through me.”
Life in the Holy Spirit: with your friends
“It is the Holy Spirit who transforms Christ’s disciples from ordinary people into Spirit-filled evangelizers.” Unleash the Gospel
In our friendships, the Holy Spirit desires to be invited. Through the Holy Spirit, we are given the patience and grace to share Jesus with those close to us. For this reason, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are the best evangelizers. God knows what words we need and how to say them. He ‘stacks the deck’ so to speak. The Holy Spirit will not only give you the right words but will prepare the heart of the person you’re interacting with.
Make sure you’re reminding yourself throughout the day that God is close to you and the Holy Spirit desires to do the heavy lifting for you. One fun way to keep your heart reminded of this reality is listening to this Holy Spirit Spotify playlist.
Here are some moments to call on the Holy Spirit with your friends:
- Driving to meet a friend for coffee: “Holy Spirit, lead this conversation.”
- When writing a letter or text, “Holy Spirit, what do you want me to say?”
- As you leave a friend, “Holy Spirit, grow the fruit of our time together.”
- Before you pick up the phone to call a friend: “Holy Spirit, I offer you this time.”
Ultimately, God gives you his life and all the strength you need to live close to him through the Holy Spirit.
Here is an old Catholic prayer that asks the Holy Spirit to come into our lives:
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.“
Archbishop Vigneron invites us in Unleash the Gospel to be people “praying for and expectantly awaiting a new coming of the Holy Spirit.” Let us respond to this invitation by saying, “Come Holy Spirit.”