My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As we approach the great feast of Pentecost, I feel called in my prayer to write to you about the Holy Spirit. I have preached in the past about the importance of a personal relationship with each person of the Trinity. Yet a relationship with the Holy Spirit can seem difficult because, unlike the Father or the Son, we do not often see images of the Holy Spirit depicted as a person. A relationship with the Spirit, though, is essential to our lives as disciples. In fact, one of the themes that emerged during our recent archdiocesan discernment process was a clear desire from people to have a greater relationship with the Holy Spirit, to know the gifts and charisms that he gives, and how to use them to advance God’s kingdom on Earth.
As we move as an archdiocese towards a missionary mode of life, it is important to remember that Christ did not send out his apostles immediately after his Ascension. Instead, “he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4). The apostles gathered around Mary in prayer to wait for the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Jesus told his disciples to wait and pray because reclaiming the world from the power of the evil one is beyond our human abilities. Only the grace of God prepares people’s hearts to receive the power of the Gospel. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives us the words to speak and ensures that all our efforts will bear fruit that will last.
We have all received the Holy Spirit in our baptisms and an outpouring of his gifts in our confirmations. We must choose, however, whether we ignore this gift of divine life or whether we choose to grow in intimacy with the third Person of the Trinity.