My dear Brothers and sisters in Christ
Today it is a time to look at the The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church
Referring to the last consideration regarding the Holy Spirit, I am going to quote a lesson from the classes with young children who experienced catechesis on the creation of the world. One day I gave each child a drawing and asked what it was representing? The children replied that it represented: ‘an elephant, a giraffe, a horse, a hare’. Little Paul, however, answered: ‘I do not know’. ‘Why do you not know? Have you never seen such an animal? Have you never been to the zoo?’– I asked. The little boy replied: ‘I was in the zoo, I know what this animal is called, but I do not know what it is called here.’ I continued with interest: ‘And what is it in the zoo?’ He said, ‘At the zoo, it is a squirrel’, he replied. ‘So here it is a squirrel as well’, I answered. But he, with a disappointed face said: ‘Here, you never know. A week ago when Father showed us a bird, and I said it was a dove, you said that it was the Holy Spirit.’
This is the answer of the child, but it perfectly illustrates the difficulty in using symbols and helps us to understand why the Holy Spirit is reluctant to present the Holy Spirit even in the form of symbols. The Holy Spirit is the very energy of Love, and energy cannot be presented. We can only present the effects of its operation. Nobody can draw an electric current; similarly, we cannot draw the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the mighty energy of God’s Love, given by God to the Holy Church and we discover His action only on the basis of its effects. If we get on the train today, none of us thinks about the appearance of electricity, we only use its fruits. Rarely anyone thinks about it when the light in the room shines, that we are dealing with electricity; only when the bulb is not lit, we wonder whether it is burned out or if there is no electricity. We use electricity at almost every step and we do not notice it alone, but we only record the effects of its operation.
Similarly in the Church. The Holy Spirit works in a hidden way through every sacrament. How many times does one approach holy confession to obtain the absolution of sins, we approach the Holy Spirit who purifies us so many times. We are also witnesses of His actions when we stand at the altar, when the Spirit of God transforms bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. We are witnessing His activities in us, when He enlightens our heart, that God’s Word may be understood. But the Holy Spirit also wants to work in the Church in a very visible way, and this is the topic I want to pay special attention to today.
Today, the Church is talking about the so-called renewal in the Holy Spirit. It is a movement known for twenty centuries, and it is connected with the action of the Holy Spirit, expressed in extraordinary signs. It takes place when people constitute a community of faith and prayer, available to God. Saint John Paul II was inspired by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, who gave themselves to the Holy Spirit for His disposal through the depth of their prayer and by opening their hearts to His action. That’s why this pope initiated the World Youth Day. There were many signs in this work, also many healings. There were many people who experienced the special action of the Holy Spirit there.
If we were able to create such a community of deep faith and prayer at the altar, we would be witnesses of such an extraordinary action of the Holy Spirit in our circle. The Holy Spirit, who works through the Church, needs a community of people of faith and prayer.
This is the charismatic work of the Holy Spirit, to which the Church always approaches very cautiously because many spontaneous events cannot be unambiguously assessed. However, the Spirit of God blows where He wants and always acts in the Church, intriguing and stimulating her to act, to go out to the prayers and charismatic achievements. Many times it was seen in the life of a lot of the Saints. Miracle workers, such as John Bosco or Francis of Assisi, are people filled with the Holy Spirit, acting on the basis of His power; and that was clearly visible in their lives. Saints are people who are used by the Holy Spirit.
I would like, by this reflection on the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the various forms of His activity, both invisible in the sacraments and in the charisms, to reach our consciousness so that we can make ourselves available to the Spirit of God through believers’ faith and prayer. The Holy Spirit wants to do signs and wonders in the 21st century, also here, among us. I do not think about extraordinary events here, but above all about what strengthens faith. As in the days of Christ the proclamation of the Gospel was combined with signs, so in the twenty-first century, the proclamation of the Gospel can also be combined with signs. I would also like to ask all of us to be able to critically but with all seriousness to receive all the news about the enthusiastic and spontaneous action of the Holy Spirit among us and around the world – ‘The Spirit blows where it pleases; you can hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going’.
(John 3, 8)
With love and prayers and asking for yours, Fr. Marcin