Don’t you love gifts? Even if receiving gifts isn’t your top love language, you know that the giver intended to give you something because they love you or saw something you needed and bought it for you. In many ways, the Holy Spirit has been the most wonderful gift I have ever received. With the gift of the Holy Spirit, I quickly realized that it wasn’t so much a “thing” I was being given, but rather an invitation to have a relationship with a Person.
St. Josemaría Escrivá once said, “For some, unfortunately, the Paraclete is the Great Stranger, the Great Unknown. He is merely a name that is mentioned, but not Someone, not one of the three Persons (in the one God) with whom we can talk and with whose life we can live.” For much of my life, the Holy Spirit was a name that I would mention, but not someone that I knew.
That changed when I met some people really living their faith. They weren’t simply showing up on Sundays but were trying to live and share the gospel with the world around them. When I asked them how they lived that way, they didn’t talk to me about a program I could join or a particular place I had to go. Instead, they spoke to me of a person — the Holy Spirit — who wanted to help me follow in the footsteps of Christ. After they shared with me their experiences with the person of the Holy Spirit, we prayed. We prayed that I would meet the Holy Spirit, be filled with his presence and begin to learn to live as a temple of the Holy Spirit. I don’t feel that I am being too dramatic in saying that from that day on, everything changed. The Holy Spirit became very real to me. He became someone I could speak to, rely on, trust and discover the joy of the Christian life through. I had no idea that I was so loved, that I could experience such joy and that I could desire the things of God so deeply. All I had to do was receive this wonderful gift.Maybe you’ve realized like I did that to live as Christians in the world today and to be a missionary disciple you need help, you need more of the power of God. The Holy Spirit wants to be your help, and he wants to give you what you need! I think of the disciples who had the bestteacher, spent three years in the most amazing discipleship training school and yet they too realized they needed more. Jesus said to the disciples, “I will send you the Helper from the Father. The Helper is the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father”(Jn 15:26). Jesus promised to send the disciples the Holy Spirit and called him the “Helper.” He told the disciples they needed the Holy Spirit and to wait. Why? Because he knew they would need the Holy Spirit to complete their mission. We too need the Holy Spirit’s help to complete our mission.
So how do we begin a relationship with the Holy Spirit? St. Bonaventure once said the Holy Spirit comes where he is invited. Have you ever invited the Holy Spirit to come and fill you, just as he did with the disciples at Pentecost? In Luke 11:13 it says: “If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” All we have to do is ask him. This simple prayer: “Come Holy Spirit” is an ancient prayer that is powerful when we pray it. We are to pray it with an expectation and desire for the Father to send us the Holy Spirit, and begin to reveal to us who he really is.
“Come Holy Spirit.” A simple prayer, but maybe that’s where you start. At the beginning of your day, before your head leaves the pillow as you lay in bed, ask him to come, to fill you and wait. Don’t rush on ahead just yet, wait, make space and expect him to come.
The Holy Spirit isn’t limited to our prayer time in the morning, or before we get out of bed, he’s available all day for help. He wants you to ask him questions throughout your day, not just big things but small things too..
The gift of the Holy Spirit changes us and transforms us, but it isn’t only for us. He wants to help us bring Jesus to those around us. As you become more comfortable talking to him about your own life, ask him to help you love others around you. He can teach you how to pray for the people you meet, and he can tell you what they need prayer for. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with the love of the Father, and the love of Jesus for everyone you meet. Are you ready?
So let’s begin. Come Holy Spirit.