Let’s chat about the little voice inside you. You do identify it as the Holy Spirit. Biblical symbols are often used to describe the Holy Spirit. What I write below about the Holy Spirit may appear new, controversial, or refresher. It’s intended to evoke a yearning for the outpouring of the Spirit.
I grew up in a parish dedicated to the Holy Spirit, one among the three in the archdiocese of Goa, India. The pictorial on the main altar continues to capture my imagination. God the Father is depicted holding the globe, the God the Son with visible wounds, and God the Holy Spirit like a dove with a halo. The central panel displays the outpouring of the Spirit on the apostles along with Mother Mary (see the above picture for details).
I do recommend recalling your tangible connection with the Holy Spirit – a recent memory or an experience. Yes, we do receive the Spirit through the Sacraments. You know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But when was the last time you were asked about the Holy Spirit or shared things about the third person of the Trinity? A friend requested to do a YouTube video on the Holy Spirit. I delayed working on it. Now, here I am writing about the Holy Spirit.
1. Holy Spirit is also known as the Paraclete.
Jesus left the earth and gifted the disciples with a Paraclete. In Greek, Paraclete means comforter, counselor, or advocate. The name Paraclete communicates three functions of the Holy Spirit.
2. Holy Spirit will not Shut Up.
You can’t tell the voice inside you to shut up – increasing the noise does not work. The Holy Spirit is active and living inside you. We need to shut up to listen to the promptings of the Spirit. Two months ago, I heard Father Rob Galea explaining the meaning of ‘be still and know that I am God.’ Be still means shut up. It’s time to stop our banter and discern the Spirit working inside us.
3. Holy Spirit is identified as cloud, fire, and water.
In Exodus 31:21-11, God guided the people in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Isaiah 44:3 describes Holy Spirit as being poured like water – quenching the thirst of dry ground. In contrast, Holy Spirit also has traits of gentleness and peace.
We are trying to comprehend the complex personality of the Holy Spirit.
4. Holy Spirit is not a dove.
It may come as a shock. Holy Spirit is often described as a dove in the scripture and Christian imagery. The traits of the Holy Spirit, like gentleness and peace, may resemble a dove. Holy Spirit is like a dove, but not an actual dove.
5. Holy Spirit is an agent of change, revival, and anointing.
The fruit of the Spirit brings gifts beyond the law, sows change and revival, and starts with a symbolic anointing. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness (Galatians 5:22-26).
6. Holy Spirit is unpredictable.
Holy Spirit is full of surprises – bringing good things into our lives. Paul writes in Corinthians 12:7-11 about the manifestation of the Spirit in different people, differently. The unpredictability should lead us to better appreciate the gifts of the Spirit in other people.
7. Holy Spirit is our intercessor.
We feel alone, overwhelmed, and discouraged. Holy Spirit has us covered – ministering to our needs as Romans 8:26 states, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
8. Holy Spirit is a person, not just a force.
The Bible, including Jesus, refers to the Holy Spirit as a person, not a force. Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. Trinity is a Christian God revealed in three persons – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – equal, and each distinct from the other. We worship the Triune God – a profound mystery revealed.
9. Holy Spirit is God’s empowering presence.
The Holy Spirit mediates the presence and the power of Christ to the believer (John 14-16). It’s not comprehensive but a start to our comprehension. The Spirit brings new birth to the believer – a conversion and assurance of salvation – a sort of down payment for an eternal inheritance.
10. Holy Spirit brings us freedom from Sin.
The Spirit offers freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17) from addiction to sin. Freedom is a deep sense of peace, unexplainable joy, and renewed passion. The freedom of the Spirit is a boldness to witness the fruits of the Spirit. Holy Spirit is needed to appreciate the beauty and glory of God, giving us hope and growth in holiness.
11. Holy Spirit is needed for Spiritual Growth, Christian fellowship, and Charitable Service.
Holy Spirit guides us to display behaviors of love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Holy Spirit fosters Christian fellowship and unity – making us one in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-6). The spiritual growth and gifts are for the service of the church and the world. Without the Holy Spirit, you cannot convince an unbeliever of the truth – allow the Spirit to illuminate the skeptic’s mind.
Holy Spirit is dynamic, so try not to fit a God into a box of our manufacturing. At times, the work of the Spirit may appear illogical. Why not? It’s a mystery. Let’s stay away from regulating Holy Spirit’s function in the world. Our prayer is to recognize the working of the Spirit in our life and the world – however uncomfortable it may appear. The little voice inside you does make the difference.
About the Author
Feroz Fernandes, a Catholic Missionary, identifies himself as an Uncommon Priest. Father Feroz loves adventure in the apostolate. Check out his debut book The Uncommon Priest: Incredible Stories You Never Read on amazon. And also, the YouTube Channel: Feroz Fernandes promotes a better understanding of scripture.