Holy Spirit as the Impetus of Life
From the booklet “Who has seen the wind” by Louis M. Savary, S. J., one chapter titled “The Spirit’s own Book” included the following item by Reverend Morton T. Kelsey, who searched and discovered that 47% of the New Testament is about the Holy Spirit. With that statistic in mind it is easy to ascertain His role in salvation has a predominate significance in almost every facet of our beliefs.
However, this, according to Fr. Savary, mentions that perhaps very few can say they’ve heard that percentage of preaching about the Holy Spirit, showing a low percentage of interest in Christian lives.
Nevertheless, this role of the third person of the Trinity places an importance reflected by Sacramental Teaching and the very significant role we have in the Sacramental sharing we live with.
First, “the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.” (CCC 1285). Both must be received to complete these two sacraments of Initiation.
Secondly, the words from the bishop does more than become just that; words. It coincides with the position God-parents need to adhere to when standing as Official Witnesses for God-children. When an infant, or children too young to speak for themselves, those who are the witnesses answer in place of the words spoken by the celebrant “Do you etc, etc”. This means you who answer in the positive are preparing this child to complete the response when the bishop says, as he anoints with Chrism, “Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. From this point forward the Spirit of God lives within our being, not as physical flesh and blood, but as Spirit.
This ceremony is one of great importance for the lives of those stepping into spiritual maturity, which brings us to the crux of this writing. The newly confirmed step out in preparation to do the Will of God in a world filled with many obstacles relating to Christianity.
When any of us fall into sin does the Holy Spirit leave us? No! We must remember that when receiving the Holy Spirit he is not a physical person that dwells within as an appendage of some sort of a Grace-filled entity that brings an increase and deepens our baptismal grace. “It unites us more firmly to Christ, increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit within us, and gives a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never be ashamed of the Cross.” (cf CCC 1303).
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for God’s presence was Ruah meaning spirit and breath. “Breath and spirit signified also the dynamic force under which a person acts, whether for good or for evil.” (The book The Teaching of Christ on the Holy Spirit).
A question of the Holy Spirit remaining in the person of serious sin, we need to analyze the meaning of what serious sin does to us and how we are absorbed within its ugly grasp. Our quest to do God’s will requires our being open to the Holy Spirit’s presence and active participation in our individual effort to perform as a messenger of God. If our free will decides our participation in something immoral or away from the need of God, then relying on the Holy Spirit is never a consideration for us.
So, it isn’t as though there is a revolving door that God comes in and out, but it can be seen as an opening to our hearts and always remains open when we repent Seeking, Asking, and Knocking, and yes his Holy Spirit awaits for the invitation where he never really left us.
Read the poem “The Hound of Heaven” and see that God is always chasing after us waiting for the chance we will turn on our knees and wait for him to lift us and carry us home.
Never once will God determine our sins as a requirement to re-enter his forgiveness. Remember, sin and seek reconciliation and when he forgives he already forgot your infraction.
One more fact that we can never forget; when Jesus spread out his arms on that tree of life, he forgave not only the few who think they’re deserving but also those who know they are not deserving. We didn’t earn this mercy, it is God’s final gift in order to welcome us home.
Ralph B. Hathaway, God always with us.