The Spirit calls. Do we respond?

Published May 19, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

 

 

By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

 

Once an archbishop was discussing Christianity with a learned Japanese writer. The writer told the archbishop, “I think I understand God the Father and God the Son, but I can never understand the significance of the Honorable Bird.”

Many people will understand the predicament of the Japanese writer because they find the Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Holy Trinity, mysterious.

* * *

This Sunday is the feast of the Holy Spirit or PENTECOST. One difficulty in knowing the enigmatic Holy Spirit is because He is represented in various symbols. The Holy Spirit is portrayed as a dove (“honorable bird”) that hovered over Christ when He was baptized at the river Jordan.

* * *

At Pentecost He came down “like wind.” “Wind” (pnoe in Greek) is used in the Scripture to designate a person’s “breath” or “spirit.” (Read Genesis 2,7; Acts 17,25). The Holy Spirit “inspires” or “breathes life into.” And one who is inspired receives life.

* * *

This is shown, for instance, when someone drowns and stops breathing. Somebody applies mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and his breath revives the unconscious person. This is a physical way of breathing life to a person.

Emotionally, a person is inspired when, for instance, an artist receives an idea to paint a masterpiece or when a girl meets a guy who inspires her because of his looks or intelligence.

* * *

For the apostles of Jesus, the dramatic transformation happened when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in tongues of fire on Pentecost Day. From scared, weak-kneed disciples hiding behind closed doors, the disciples went out and boldly proclaimed the teachings of Christ.

* * *

The Spirit also calls us to conversion or spiritual transformation. I had a friend in the Ilocos who worked in the bank whose accounting expertise I consulted about school finances in our Divine Word College of Laoag.

* * *

He would talk profusely about money, but would keep mum when I shifted to religious matters. He wasn’t really that irreligious because he attended Sunday Mass regularly. But one would call him a “church pillar” — because, literally, he was contented to stand behind the pillars of the church!

* * *

We lost track of each other for years. But when we met in Manila, I expected him to rattle off his favorite topic, but surprisingly, he was talking about prayer meetings, service for the Lord and the like.

“What happened?” I asked. “It’s a long story,” he replied, “but after joining a Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS), I realized that I’d been missing a lot of important things in life. Where God occupied just the fringes before, now He is at the center of my life.”

 

* * *

We, too, received the Holy Spirit in baptism and confirmation, but why does He not change our lives as He did to the apostles and that accountant?

We must remember one thing: the Holy Spirit won’t change us unless we WANT to be changed.

* * *

Did you ever experience, for instance, how deep in your heart you should give up gambling or underpaying your workers or helpIng someone in dire need but just brush him aside?

These are initiations of the Holy Spirit. But it’s up to us to respond, to accept, reject or ignore them. But when you do accept the Spirit’s call, then that’s the beginning of a new, joyful and more meaningful life as Christ’s follower.

* * *

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