Emmitsburg Council of Churches


Father John J. Lombardi

Is the "spiritual fluid" and "Divine Perfume" of the Holy Spirit pouring thru your body and soul? Like a "sacred sap" in a "holy tree" do you ask for and allow the Spirit within to vivify you to New Life? Without sap in a tree it will die and become lifeless; but with this rich sap the tree will flourish and produce much fruit and be beautiful. Are you "Full of the Holy Sprit and of Faith"? (Acts 11:24). If not, ask, if not now, when?

I recently went to visit a patient-Dorothy Burkhart-- in St Catherine nursing home. We-John Kramer, a young man who's being led by the Spirit to be a youth leader and missionary to college campuses-and I entered Dorothy's room. We greeted Dorothy and exchanged greetings and then her daughter came in, and we spontaneously began singing, in honor of upcoming Pentecost: "Come Holy Ghost, Creator Blest, and in our hearts take up thy rest, come with thy Grace, and heavenly aid, to fill the hearts which thou hast made." I was delighted that the Holy Spirit moved us to fill the room with joyous strains of song. Dorothy, partially paralyzed by a stroke, lit up at our singing.

Today, Pentecost, we celebrate the "Birthday" of the Church.. Is the Holy Spirit part of your life, your prayer, your discipleship? Are you celebrating the "Birthday" of the Catholic Church?

If you are somewhat askance at all this "Spirit-talk", then, now, imagine: you're visiting a family-Father, Mother and child. You're talking to mom and dad but ignoring the child there presents begging for attention. This wouldn't be proper or holy, would it? Now that's an image perhaps of many Catholics and Christians today-knowing about, and talking to two of the Three Divine persons but not knowing, or ignoring the Third Person-the Holy Spirit. Are you like those seekers in the early Church "For as yet the Spirit had not come upon them" (Act 8:15), or ""We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit" (Act 19::2)?

St Paul writes to the Church in Galatia: "In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.. Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit" (Gal 5:22-25). We should spiritually study (i.e., meditate upon) this list and ask ourselves how we can acquire these fruits more readily, rapidly.

Do you have these fruits of the Holy Spirit? If not, then pray to the Holy Spirit to attain them.

The Holy Spirit is the "Bond of Love" between the Father and the Son-a kind of eternal, celestial "Seal" of the two Divine Persons loving Each Other. Whereas the Son is the Father's knowledge and intellectual imaging-forth, the Spirit is the Father and Son's desire and willing between them. Meditate upon it this way: as you think you mentally create an intellectual image or thought; as you love you make or create a desire, a willing emotive feeling and movement of the heart. This is like the Holy Spirit within the Trinity, eternally spiriting from the Father and Son, blossoming-forth--eternally. As the Blessed Trinity is a perfect balance of thought and desire, of intellect and heart, so should we be balanced and pray to, and adore the Trinity. The Father generates the Son in "thinking," and Father and Son will or "breathe-forth" the Spirit in love-a "bond" between Them. St Augustine suggests that this occurs in eternity-ceaselessly within-as-- the Trinity-and it also analogously "happens" or is represented within us humans in created fashion-be-ing (Father), thinking (Son) and-loving (Spirit). We should contemplate these Sacred Mysteries in thinking- meditation, and then, when our reasoning falls short, we should fall to our knees and worship in adoration.

I was recently talking to "Pilgrim George"-a man who is literally walking the Earth in discipleship-he stays in people's homes for rest, but otherwise lives in his tent as he walks, all the while manifesting God's will for himself and others. This is his vocation! When I met him he said, something like: The Church needs constant regeneration by the Spirit. We all get routine, roboticiszed, sterile and ho-hum and need the Spirit to breath into our lives new Life. We need the law and structures of life, but we also need the Spirit to renovate us. Certain religious orders eventually grow away from their original founders' wishes and "spirit'-so we all need to rely on the Spirit to help revitalize our lives and original callings… Indeed! The Holy Spirit is like a "Sacred lubricant" That vivifies and animates us: "The Gift of the Holy Spirit has been poured out" (Act 10:45)-so have you received Him more deeply? Pray: "Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest…"

What are some key images and teachings of the Holy Spirit?

-The Ruach wind in Genesis (1:2) hovered over the primordial waters: God's Spirit is present in Creation. Do you detect Him?

The sacred Breath of the Father breathed into Adam (Gn 2: 7) was like the Spirit: Do you take every breath in the Holy Spirit and realize your absolute need of Him? He is as close as your very breath!

-"The Spirit will lead you to all truth" ( Jn 16:13)): We need to the Spirit to know truths of our Faith-like the body and soul unison; One God in Three Divine Persons; the truths hidden in the Holy Bible; moral truths like the evils of contraception, abortion, materialism; the goodness of natural law (written in our hearts)… Some things we can know by "natural reason" but many Faith-truths we need the divine Holy Spirit to help us in ways we cannot naturally know and believe.

-The coming of the Holy Spirit as the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room (Acts 1:2ff).Now, this is gigantically important-our Holy Catholic Church is a Divine Reality-the Bride of Christ. Though the Church's members are sinners and normally fallible, the Holy Spirit guides the Church to teach and preach all truth to liberate souls and sanctify us. The Catholic Church is no normal, human institution, then; our Founder is Jesus Christ, the Church is guided and guarded by the Spirit, and so we are compelled to examine and not only obey the church's teachings, but also to revel in them, as mysterious as they seem to be. We must ask the Spirit to lead us into Truth (see below) when we cannot understand what the Church is teaching. Remember: all teachings are meant for your and other's, salvation and holiness, so don't delay, ascent and believe joyfully today! Do you allow yourself as like an "open-clean room" in your soul to receive Him to invigorate and replenish you to New Life?

-"The Spirit helps us in our weakness…with sighs too deep for words" (Rm 8:26): Often we know not how to pray-we stumble and grumble. Ask the Spirit to lead you to pray for adoration and prayer for contrition-sorrow for your sins (to know them); for thanksgiving-blessings; for supplication-prayers for others in need (the starving, imprisoned, the sick and dying). Ask for help!

-"Do you not know that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit?" (I Cor 6: 19): We all need "Divine Awareness"-a kind of "spiritual umbilical cord" of the Spirit within us to connect us to God Himself--continually. Our normal consciousness (con-sciencia= "with knowledge") is often damaged and filled with "mental static"-like a spiritual walkie-talkie not transmitting or receiving the broadcast purely, openly-there's too much interference. So, in our fallen state, we are more aware of anxious or impure or dualistic thoughts all which separate us from God's Mind and Voice Whom is "eternally transmitting" His love to us. The "spiritual microchip" of Divine Awareness of the Holy Spirit's Link is implanted within and we must "actualize it" thru thoughtful presenting to Him-deliberately. How do you cultivate this awareness? How do you protect it in harmful, anxious times? How do you "tune in" to God's Spirit to recall you are a child of God and not of the world?

-Jesus said: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me" (Lk. 4:18): We need the Spirit of Prophetic utterance as Jesus had-against materialism, relativism (there are no absolute truths); pornography, violence in media, the neglect or rejection of the family and sacramental marriage;

-"Live by the Spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Gal 5:16): we all struggle against impurity. Chastity, esp. in this day and age, is a war and Awareness of love Ask the Holy Spirit to cauterize and breathe-away all your wrongful desires and impure cravings

-The Spirit as "interior master of the spiritual life": He will teach us about fasting and prayer, about virtues and discipleship; about liturgical rites and the grace of the sacraments. Pray to the Holy Sprit to help you enter into your Faith-to boost and propel you deeper into truth

-"And he (Epaphras, a minister) has made known to us your love in the Spirit" (Col 1:8). Look-we can know a lot about God and the spiritual life, but do you pass it on, especially through charity-love? When the Spirit truly dwells within us we are "spiritually fluid" and thereby should want to supernaturally give away our gifts (which are on loan anyway) to others. I recently was praying at a chapel and a beggar came up-"Jimmy"-and asked for help. I was trying to help him when a young couple then appeared and brought him some pants, shoes and toiletries. How beautiful and mysterious and charitable! .Then Jimmy asked for some food and drink. They didn't have any but immediately left and came back with a gift card to a restaurant for this poor wanderer to get food and shelter from the storms of life. The Holy Spirit was obviously working within them urging them to love-even at a cost to their time and treasure-and patience! Is charity flowing from your soul like this prayerful, charitable couple? Pray for the Gift and also participate with Him to "love in the Spirit". Remember; If you want to keep Him-the Spirit-give Him away!

-The Holy Spirit in the Mass-the epeklesis (coming of the Spirit) is when the priest holds hands over the bread and wine; to empower the priest to bring us the True Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Be aware, awakened and know the Spirit's power to transform and change normal things into supernal ones-esp. at Mass and also within yourself!

How can you form a more intimate life in the Spirit?

How can you talk to Him as a Person? How can He help you in your marriage, in your job, in your family…How can He help you know your Faith more deeply, richly? Remember these Three Principles of the Holy Spirit---Animate=be alive in the Spirit-filled with Gifts and Fruits…Translate=means to give Truths of the Bible and Church to others….Spirate means to give, "spirate" these Gifts and fruits to other in charity.

"Come Holy Ghost…" remember: "The Spirit of God dwells within you" (Rm 8:9)

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi