THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
PARTNERSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: WITNESSING
Rev. Fr. John-Mary Benedict Ntol Atep
“‘No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now God’s Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit who ‘has spoken through the prophets’ makes us hear the Father’s Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself… The Spirit of truth who ‘unveils’ Christ to us ‘will not speak on his own.'” – Catechism of the Catholic Church. – 678.
I deeply appreciate your participation in the school of the Holy Spirit, and I pray that the Holy Spirit Himself may graciously empower you with His power and wisdom. Amen. More so, I thank you for your prayers for our world, our country Nigeria and our families for freedom and healing against the COVID-19 pandemic. Holy Spirit please heal us. Amen.
Two major themes are usually associated with the Holy Spirit: power and witnessing. From our preceding prayer reflections, we have been paying attention to the theme of power explicitly and implicitly. Now that we are approaching the climax of our reflections and prayers as we move towards the celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is time for us to proceed with the aspects of partnering with the Holy Spirit in the domain of witnessing. Thus, Jesus reminds us, “But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).
A witness is someone with clear and personal convictions about another person or a thing. The Holy Spirit witnesses to Jesus Christ through the Scripture and Truth. For instance, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). Again, the Apostle Peter and the other disciples when they were strictly commanded by the Jewish Council not to teach in the name of Jesus said, “We are witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost” (Acts 5:32).
The expression by Jesus Christ “and you also are witnesses” challenges us to activate in us the Holy Spirit and also fulfil our responsibility of witnessing as Christians. In this sense, witnessing through partnership with the Holy Spirit can take place as follows:
- Inward witnessing: The ability to know and understand without any outside help the truth about Jesus, Sacred Scriptures and their authentic interpretation as taught by the Church.
- Personal witnessing: Private convictions about Christ as informed by interior communion with the Holy Spirit and how they are applied in all spheres of life.
- External witnessing: Testifying to the truthfulness and works of the Holy Spirit in our lives, Church and world. For example: How did you become a Catholic or how were you freed from a mortal sin or how were you healed of unemployment or cancer or COVID-19? Our answer here is, “The Holy Spirit and I did it.”
- Apostolic witnessing of the Church: Offering testimonies according to the history of the Church. For example, dogmas are the outcome of the works of the Holy Spirit in the Church (John 16:13). So, you know them, appreciate them, live them out and defend them anywhere and anytime.
HOLY SPIRIT FALL AFRESH ON US!
- Where are you in the School of the Holy Spirit?
- If I were to say we cancel our reflections in the School of the Holy Spirit, how would you feel?
John 16:13; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rom. 8:15-17; Gal. 4:6-7; Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 678ff