THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
GROWING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT: THE WORD
In him (Christ) you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. – Eph. 1:13-14
Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of the faithful…
I am always glad to hear that we are appreciating the renewal of the Holy Spirit’s relationship with us and it is also good to know that we are together working tirelessly to reposition ourselves in our relationship with the Holy Spirit. If there is anything inspiring our reflections on the Person of the Holy Spirit, is for us to reclaim our bonding with the Holy Spirit and enjoy ecstatic joys. He is our counsellor, teacher, friend, advocate and sanctifier. Holy Spirit of God, please fall afresh on us and afire us for the Father, the Son and Yourself. Amen. Today, our preoccupation is to renew in us the reality to growing in the Holy Spirit through a defined relationship with the Word and the Spirit.
One genuine means to hold on to and apply in our lives is a total appreciation of two great and active powers or forces: the Spirit (ruach) and the Word (dabhar). According to Fr. Cantalamessa, “These are the two great powers that together create the world and keep it in motion: ‘By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth’ (Ps. 33:6). ‘He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked'” (Isa. 11:4).
What we are saying is that, it is difficult if not impossible to live in Christ without the Holy Spirit. And there is no salvation if we pick one power and neglect the other. So, there is a reciprocal relationship between the Spirit and the Word: “Without the word, the Spirit is blind; without the Spirit the word is dead.
For the sake of emphasis, the story of Jesus Christ and His disciples on the road to Emmaus, exposes the relationship between the Word and the Spirit. The expression “Did not our hearts burn within us,” (Luke 24:27-32), is to be understood as the Word, the work of the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God as the one that makes the Word alive and active.
Do we need to delay in cultivating a special space and interest for the Holy Spirit and the Word of God? Our identity reveals so much about our task: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1Pet. 2:9).
Taking off from our identity, we have some believers who choose the Word and neglect the Spirit and some choose the Spirit and exclude the Word. That is very dangerous. Today, more than ever, we have so many spirits chasing us: ancestral spirits, intergenerational curses/spirits, spirits of ill-luck, spirits of bad marriages or no marriages at all as we claim. We need the Word to identify such spirits and move ahead in life. Again, many of us have not identified our gifts and charisms. We sometimes not only suppress our gifts and charisms but we enviously suppress other people’s gifts and charisms by not affirming them and imposing on them what we think is good for them. Let’s watch it! Rather, let us employ the power of the Word that is pregnant of the Spirit because “The Spirit is the one who gives the word, and who Himself is given by the word” (Cantalamessa, 2003). We need our lips to be gifted in order to pray and speak the truth and for our tongues to be freed to pray in tongues. Praying in tongues, if it is given by the Spirit, it is wonderful, but not what we see and hear today. People, being “trained to speak in tongues.” Here again, we need the word to direct our ways: St. Paul says, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all; nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1Cor. 14:18-19). Finally, we need the word and the Spirit, for teaching, preaching, prophecy, miracles and healing. In short, we need the two powers on our mouths and our lips.
Let us therefore intimate our Lord Jesus Christ who began His ministry as follows: Jesus the Word says, “The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).
1. Our worldviews are still like people of St. Paul days. We still live in the past and in the future. Many times we have failed to live in the here and now, that is the here and now of the Spirit, who lives in us, provides for us, protects us, forgives us, speaks to us through the Word and an educated conscience. Now, how are we supposed to live as people who have received the Holy Spirit at Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist?
2. What are the concrete ways to apply the two powers of the Spirit and the Word in your life situations and events?
Please read meditatively 1Cor. 14 and practise lectio divina
Thanks for your participation and prayers. Please pray for me!