Our invitation to accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the life of the Church begins the moment we are baptized, when we are anointed with sacred chrism on the crown of our heads. In that anointing, we are appointed priest, prophet and king. We are called to be God’s servants in loving His people by proclaiming the Gospel, performing charity and using the gifts God provides us.
That is what being Catholic is all about! Jesus describes our purpose as Christians in Mark’s Gospel.
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16: 15-18
By receiving the grace of the power of the Holy Spirit, we have authority in Jesus to live out our purpose in life. In His name, we will “move mountains,” proclaim His Good News and lay hands on the sick and they will recover. By living out our Christian purpose, we will see great miracles in our lives and the lives of others.
But living that purpose is no easy task as we face the challenges of a modern, secular society in which the enemy is attacking us in so many ways. Depression, addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, video games; slavery to work, homosexuality and materialism are so commonplace, and seen as normal by society in general.
However, we are not defenseless! The Holy Spirit is our Advocate, our Defender, our Source of power. The power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, will be victorious over the challenges of contemporary life.
We receive the Holy Spirit’s strength and gifts to allow Jesus to work through us. We perform the miracles needed to build the Church and to live a life of joy, love and abundance as promised in John’s Gospel.
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b
How do we get this abundant life? We must want it with all our hearts. We must ask for it as Jesus instructs us in Luke’s Gospel.
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 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?” Luke 11: 9-13
We must want the Holy Spirit. We must ask, seek and knock for the Holy Spirit to enter our lives in a powerful way. When we do, then we are “Baptized in the Holy Spirit.”
A few years ago, I prayed for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit over 150-plus children, ages 7-12, at the Southern California Renewal Convention (SCRC) on a Saturday in Anaheim, California.
The next day, on Sunday morning, I was walking across the arena and a mother and her daughter came running up to me.
“Deacon, deacon, my daughter has something she would like to ask you,” said the mother. “What is it?” I asked.
The daughter, with big brown eyes looking up at me, said, “Did I receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism?” I answered, “Excellent! I am very proud of you!”
Then the little girl, with a look on her face I will never forget, her eyes wide with wonderment, said something so wise, so profound that I think about her words almost daily.
“If I received the Holy Spirit at Baptism, then why is He hiding?”
Wow!!!! Is the Holy Spirit hiding in your life? Have you given the Holy Spirit the authority to be released in your life and do you manifest the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Do you pray, “Enkindle in me the fire of your love?”
Fire, power, purpose, love, joy and peace are the essence of a Christian’s life. When you have that, you can expect and experience miracles.