by Anita Zidar
We are often only more cognizant of the oft-neglected member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit at the celebration of Pentecost. However, this was not the first time nor the last time that He appeared in Scripture. In the book of Genesis, it says, ”the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ’Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:2-3). The Holy Spirit was present even at the beginning, as the breath of God (‘wind’) that breathed life into all creation.
Spirit Without Measure
“He whom God has sent speaks the word of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure.” (John 3:34)
If we as children of God can truly believe that we are salt and light called to be sent out as bearers of the Good News, then we are indeed the one God sends. To us then, He gives His Holy Spirit. Not as much as we need, not as much as He deems fit. No, He gives us His Spirit without measure. How generous is the love and provision of God the Father that He does not only give but that He gives without any limits, and without measure.
The Holy Spirit is depicted countless times in both the Old and New Testaments. He is present at various miracles and is present both at the moment of Jesus’ baptism; marking the beginning of His ministry, leading Him through various trials during His time in the wilderness and eventually accompanying Him through His passion and resurrection as well.
The Baptism of Jesus
At the Baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descends on Him as a dove, “… when Jesus also had been baptised and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ’You are my Son, the Beloved; with you, I am well pleased’ ” (Luke 3:21–23). At the utterance of these words, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as a mark of God’s favour and anointed Him. This is a significant moment in the life of Jesus as it marks the beginning of His earthly ministry. As Jesus was about to embark on His mission here on earth, He was not being sent out alone to make His own way. He first received the anointing of the Holy Spirit that empowered Him for the Good work that He was about to embark on.
What is even more significant is what this anointing means for us as children of God. The CCC says, ”The notion of anointing suggests . . . that there is no distance between the Son and the Spirit. Indeed, just as between the surface of the body and the anointing with oil neither reason nor sensation recognizes any intermediary, so the contact of the Son with the Spirit is immediate, … In fact there is no part that is not covered by the Holy Spirit” (CCC 690). Through Jesus’ anointing by the Holy Spirit, we too are not only anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, but have received complete and intimate access to Him!
You may be interested in our previous articles on the Holy Spirit:
- The Holy Spirit Series Part 1: Getting to Know the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit Series Part 2: The Names of the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit Series Part 3: Renewed Restored Loved
The Temptation of Jesus
Again, at the Temptation of Jesus, it is the Holy Spirit that leads Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, ”Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). Jesus neither walked into the wilderness alone nor was He left there on His own to contend with the temptations of the devil. The Holy Spirit was with Him at every turn. It is through the Holy Spirit that we too are united with Christ in every trial and moment of suffering in our own lives, and empowered to walk through them triumphant. It is important to remember and know the Truth that we are never truly alone; especially when in the depths of our despair, it feels that way. If the Lord calls us to it, He will lead us through it by the power of His Holy Spirit!
The Crucifixion of Jesus
Perhaps most powerful of all, is the great sacrifice of Jesus through His crucifixion out of obedience to God the Father. In Hebrews 9:14 it says,”how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!”
In our lifetime, we will begin to see how our own lives at times intersect with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. “Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ’s Passion by dying to sin, and in His Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of His Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is Himself” (CCC 1988). Through these significant events in the life of Jesus, we begin to see the unifying power of the Holy Spirit who joins us to Jesus and God Himself, so that we not only experience His passion with Him, but ultimately, also rise with Him!
The Constancy of the Holy Spirit
It is comforting indeed to know that there is nowhere the Spirit cannot go. There is no trial, no struggle, no journey that the Holy Spirit cannot accompany us on; not even death. How specific and involved the love of God the Father is through His Holy Spirit! Through this precious gift, we are assured that we are never left alone.
In our earthly lives, we are not promised that we will be spared from suffering, pain or difficult times. How then do we reconcile the existence of suffering with our belief in God who is love? Living in this world means that suffering at different points of our lives is inevitable. But, we can take heart because we have the Holy Spirit, the love of God who strengthens, accompanies and consoles especially in trying times. Through Jesus, we have access to this same Spirit not just at Pentecost, but in every moment of our lives. He hovers over us and is there for us without any limits for He is God’s gift of love to us! A gift without measure. All we have to do is call upon Him.
In whatever season you find yourself in, know that the Holy Spirit is there. He has always been there, since the beginning of time, silently but unwaveringly pointing us towards Jesus, and if we let Him, He will transform and empower us to love God and others.