Sealed With the Gift: The Holy Spirit

I once heard this: “Without the Holy Spirit, the Good News is not actually good news.” Whoa. I like that quote. It opened my inner eyes to see just how much I need the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, to be active in my life. Without the Holy Spirit, it becomes impossible to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, Jesus knows this, which is why he ascended into Heaven after his resurrection. There are several quotes from the Gospels, especially from the Gospel of John, where we see Jesus talking about the Holy Spirit – too many to list them all – but he basically tells his disciples, ‘If I don’t go back to Heaven, then the Spirit can’t come. And the Spirit is going to guide you along the way. So I have to go.’

In fact, Jesus did ascend into Heaven and the Holy Spirit was sent upon the disciples. The second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles speaks directly about this:

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Acts 2:1-4

We still celebrate Pentecost fifty days after Easter Sunday every year, but I wonder how much we actually ask God the Father for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I wonder how much we actually prepare for the day of Pentecost. I wonder whether we actually anticipate the Holy Spirit stirring in our hearts like never before. Let’s resolve to prepare in a new way this year and ask the Father for a new Pentecost. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to kindle in us the fire of his divine Love.

There is so much we could write about the Holy Spirit, but for the next week and a half I’m going to focus on some of the gifts the Holy Spirit can give us if we are well-prepared to receive them. The Book of the Prophet Isaiah speaks about these gifts:

The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LordIsaiah 11:2

Some other translations of this passage provide a seventh gift, piety, so we’ll add that to our list, too. These gifts make us free to live entirely for the Lord through prayer and activity. I’ll explain each one with an individual post (they will all be shorter than this one, I promise!), but first allow me to explain a bit about how we can prepare ourselves to receive them in a general sort of way. For this task, I’ll turn to spiritual master, Adolphe Tanquerey. He provides seven tips for us to follow as we prepare ourselves to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

  • Remain in a state of grace. There are some actions that completely cut us off from the Lord’s grace. We want to avoid those actions if we’re going to be actively preparing for a new Pentecost in our lives. We need to remain close to the Lord if we want to receive the fullness of his gifts!
  • Combat the passions of the ‘flesh’. We were created by the Lord, with the cooperation of our parents, with a body-soul combo package. Our souls desire God’s goodness, but our bodies tend to desire pleasure more than anything (see: Romans 7:15). Our bodies would much rather stay in bed for ‘five more minutes’ than rise at the first sound of the alarm clock. Our bodies would much rather go for a second dessert than pass on one completely. This isn’t to say all worldly pleasures are bad; however, it is to say that sometimes it’s better to deny ourselves something good because we know something better is coming up. Combating our passions will allow us the discipline and openness to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • Live virtuously. We cannot ascend to the heights of contemplation if we are not first rooted in virtue. We must learn habits of meekness, patience, humility, obedience, chastity, etc. before we can be free to receive the gifts of the Spirit.
  • Live the Gospel. It’s important to read the Gospel, meditate on the words and actions of Jesus, and strive to imitate him as best we can. Our world and culture loves the message of compromise, telling us that we can claim to be Christian while at the same time indulging in this sin or that. We must reject the spirit of compromise and wholeheartedly embrace the Gospel of our Savior!
  • Think of God as often as possible. We have to remember that God is with us always, that he lives within us by virtue of our Baptism. Take moments frequently throughout the day to enter the chapel of your baptized soul and recall his Presence with you.
  • Always obey inspirations from prayer. The Holy Spirit is going to demand sacrifices (for more on this, look to the Cross!), so we must be prepared to respond promptly and generously when we hear his voice. We must never deliberately resist his inspirations.
  • Pray! Ask for Divine assistance! We must go out to meet our Lord! Before every action and every word, pray: Come, Holy Spirit! Holy Spirit, come to my aid! Breathe on me, O Breath of God!

Begin preparing for the Holy Spirit to enter your life like never before. These seven tips provide an excellent game plan. They provide a good structure for the Holy Spirit to move through with ease and they will provide a good opportunity for the Gospel to become Good News for all who believe.

Psalm 16 and What Jesus Knows /// A Deep Thought with a Simple Example

What was in the mind of Jesus, when He walked around Israel in our human flesh?
He was God before He came.
He is God after He ascends.
But what about when He came and walked around on earth?

Did He know everything that was going to happen for Him?  Did He know that He was going to suffer and die and rise on the 3rd day?

jesus praying

This huge question has been asked for centuries, since Jesus is a divine Person, with a divine nature and a human nature: Did Jesus possess divine knowledge, since He took on everything it means to be man, except sin.  “Therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people” Hebrews 2:17.  So, did He not know the things that God knows?

Did Jesus know what God knows, or only what man can know?

In the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, Peter gets up and speaks.  He quotes from Psalm 16 and talks about David.  This is a very profound, and very simple, place to dig up a lot of awesomeness.

Peter Preaching

Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2: A breathed upon text, inspired by the Holy Spirit, who with the Son and the Father is God.

Psalm 16, verses 8-11: A breathed upon text, inspired by the Holy Spirit, who with the Son and the Father is God.

Jesus: The 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity.  Before taking on Flesh and the name Jesus, He existed forever with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and who, after dying and rising, took this Flesh with Him back to the right of the Father, to exist with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever.

OK, let’s break this down more.  When using the name Jesus, which He received in time, I am referring to the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, even though He didn’t have the name Jesus before he took on Flesh.  He has always been and will always be the eternal Son of the Father, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

That means that Jesus was with the Father and the Holy Spirit before He took on flesh.  That means that Jesus is with the Father and the Holy Spirit while He is in the flesh.  That means that Jesus will always be with the Father and the Holy Spirit after ascending to Heaven.  That means that there is no time when Jesus is apart from the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Let’s break this down another way, using these Scriptures as an example.

Before Jesus took on Flesh, He breathed with the Father the Holy Spirit upon David, who wrote Psalm 16, verses 8-11.  So, Jesus knew this passage as He inspired David to write it.  “I keep the LORD always before me; with the LORD at my right, I shall never be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure, for you will not abandon me to Sheol, nor let your faithful servant see the pit.  You will show me the path of life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever” Psalm 16: 8-11.

bible-open-on-psalms

After Jesus ascended to the Father, taking His seat at the right of the Father, He breathed with the Father the Holy Spirit upon Peter, who took again these same words from Psalm 16, and applied them explicitly to the resurrection of Jesus. cf. Acts 2:25-36.

Jesus knew what Psalm 16 was going to be about
when He breathed it through David.
Jesus knew what Psalm 16 was going to be applied to
when He breathed it through Peter.
Jesus has never not been united to
the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus read the Psalms when He was in the Flesh.  Jesus read Psalm 16 when He was in the Flesh.  Is there any difficulty in thinking that since He had always known what that passage would mean from all eternity and that He would again in Acts refer to what that passage meant for all eternity, that Jesus knew what this passage meant when He read it in the Flesh?

Maybe this is a no-brainer for you.  But, for many who have reflected on what it means that Jesus became like His brothers in all things, they have been trying to figure out what Jesus knew in the Flesh.  Did He have Divine knowledge or only Human knowledge.

Jesus knew what Psalm 16 was going to mean from all eternity, all the way back, prior to creation.

Jesus knows what Psalm 16 means in reference to His resurrection, after He ascended to the Father, forward for all eternity.

Jesus knew, when He was in the Flesh, what Psalm 16 meant in reference to Him.  He inspired David and was going to inspire Peter.  He Himself is Inspired.

One passage: Psalm 16: 8-11.  A whole lot of realities.  Before, during, and after.  So much to absorb for us.  Thus it is with God and His Word!

“Who is and who was and who is to come” Revelation 1:4.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8.

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