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The Fire of the Holy Spirit

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We come across a very passionate and emboldened Jesus in Luke 12: 49-53. We are also given one of Jesus’ harder teachings to understand. What does Jesus mean that he didn’t come to bring peace? He is Jesus, isn’t that just what he does?

The point Jesus is trying to get across is this passage of Luke is that preaching the gospel will, at times, cause very difficult divisions. It is often said the two subjects never to talk about with family and friends are religion and politics. Why? Because these are such personal aspects of people’s lives. I’m sure we’ve come across many family tensions that are rooted in differences of faith or theological interpretations.

I wish that the world was set ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit. I wish that every believer’s heart, including my own, could be so on fire with God’s love that our world would be transformed. Since we are people of faith we must also be aware that though the fire of the Spirit does burn bright, we have our work to do to share the gospel message.

Yes, we might experience conflict in living out our faith, but let’s pray with Jesus that the world be evermore set ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit!

in Faith

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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We all know the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (maybe!). They are Wisdom, Understanding, Fortitude, Counsel, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. These gifts have been given to all of us. That first Pentecost event was not a one-time deal, it happens daily as we strive to live our faith in service of others. The good works that we do cannot be done alone, they can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In one of his homilies, Fr. Mike Ignaszak suggested we pray for one of those gifts each week. Just think how different our world could be if we took the time to pray for each of these gifts for a full week. For example, if for one week we prayed for fortitude think of what courage could fill our hearts to proclaim the gospel, or what strength we might have to invite our friend back to Mass or introduce them to Jesus!

This might be a good seven-week reflection or spiritual project, praying for a different gift of the Holy Spirit. Just imagine what graces could flow from such prayer!

in Faith

Gifts and Fruits

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Teaching students about the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit is what brought me into deeper appreciation of the power of the third person of the Trinity. The Spirit is like a guide, a force, so to speak. The Church is the temple and mission of the Spirit (CCC#798,#850). The Spirit encourages wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, fear of the Lord, and piety. With these gifts, disciples are more open to God's providence and may therefore be more in tune with what God desires. Additionally, I have learned that being more in tune with what God has planned can lead to the fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (CCC #1832). 

 It is no wonder that the Spirit brings unity. It is like the tie that binds human to the divine. It weaves itself through all. Understanding the Spirit more, praying to the Spirit more, really can explain how the Catholic Church is one, holy, and apostolic as we say in our creed. It is through the Spirit that we are one and through the Eucharist that we are made whole.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and filled them with the fire and the gifts needed to go forth and preach the good news for Jesus' passion, death and resurrection. I pray that you experience the power of the Holy Spirit this day and every day. May you come to know the Trinity in all its grace and beauty!