by Bryan Francisco
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
When the day of Pentecost came, the apostles encountered something unfamiliar and new, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” This was different, exciting and something beyond their comprehension.
The Spirit that Renews
Before the Lord ascended into heaven, He promised that, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). As Jesus’ promise was being fulfilled, the apostles were being renewed and given the power to go forth and make disciples of all nations. In that same way, the power of the Holy Spirit, given to us at our baptism, renews our being and restores us to the divine likeness that we have lost through sin (CCC 734).
Many of us, myself included, especially during the current global pandemic, may be living life as orphans, by forgetting our Heavenly Father. We forget what it means to be loved by Him. This season of restrictions could have made room for the painful areas of our lives to grow and push us away from the Lord. Fortunately, Pentecost presents the perfect opportunity for us to return to living in communion with the Spirit, and allowing Him to abide within us once again. Similarly, the Holy Spirit has given me the grace to surrender these areas of my being to the Lord and He has given me fresh lenses to view myself in the way that our Heavenly Father does. Full of love and excitement for what is to come for His child.
The Spirit that Restores
Pentecost highlights the eternal promise of the Lord, “Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight” (Luke 12:4). The darkest areas of our lives do not separate us from the love of our Father. God has already seen all the times in when you have fallen short. Even before you were in your mother’s womb, He already knew you (Jeremiah 1:5), and loved you. And He continues to choose you. You are not forgotten.
In our daily lives, the Holy Spirit can be likened to little notifications of truths or promptings from God. Reminders such as “you are capable”, “I am with you” and even that inclination to listen to a specific worship song, can help to realign our hearts to the voice of the Lord. He is the consoler, He is the Advocate and He is by our side always. If only we were ‘free’ enough to be still and listen. For His restoration to happen, it’ll need to come with our cooperation. This was something that I realised in my struggles as well. It was not enough to just hear truths but it is essential to intentionally listen to them and to allow them to move you towards Jesus and desiring Him more.
The Spirit of Love
As we have learned through previous articles from this series, the Holy Spirit is known as the spirit of adoption. Through the Holy Spirit, we are restored to our original relationship with God, adopted as children of His, and given the privilege to call God “Father”. When the Spirit descended upon the apostles that night, I would imagine that their proclamations in various languages were a physical expression of the joy of which their hearts felt. They realised that they were renewed, restored, and infinitely loved, and they couldn’t contain it.
Many of us, (myself included) especially during pandemic, may not be entirely cognisant of the fact that we have the Holy Spirit our Paraclete, who is always with us. We may be living as if we are not children of God. Perhaps this season brought painful areas of our lives to the forefront and we now feel that we were now too far gone to return to the Lord. Fortunately, this is far from the truth and thankfully, Pentecost presents the perfect opportunity for us to return to living in communion with the Spirit.
Pentecost highlights the eternal promise of the Lord, “Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight” (Luke 12:4). The darkest areas of our lives do not separate us from the love of our Father. God has already seen all the times that you have fallen short. Even before you were in your mother’s womb, He already knew you (Jeremiah 1:5), and loved you. And He continues to choose you.
The same Holy Spirit that descended upon the apostles, presents us with that same moment of being filled with the love of God, of being chosen, and of deep communion with Him. This same invitation is once again presented to us this Pentecost Sunday and is subsequently available to us each and every single day of our lives.
However, with our external distractions growing ever so loudly in the world, it is getting harder to be in tune with the Spirit and to know what He wants to speak to us or where He is guiding us to. He is the consoler, He is the Advocate and He is by our side always. If only we were able to practice stillness, and listen. With our external distractions growing ever so loudly in the world, it is getting harder to be in tune with the Spirit and to know what He wants to speak to us or where He is guiding us to.
Here are some practical steps that have helped me listen to the voice of the Spirit in my life. My prayer is that these steps will help to reignite your relationship with the Holy Spirit and develop greater intimacy with Him.
Identifying the voice of the Holy Spirit
It is important to note that the words of the Spirit are uplifting and lifegiving. He does not ridicule or condemn, but is loving, and is rooted in God’s truth. Finally, any promptings from the Spirit will always be in line with Scripture and does not contradict any of the Church’s teachings.
Set Aside A Fixed Time Each Day For Prayer and Silence
Setting a time to pray is a realistic way to build a new habit and make it more sustainable. This time is to be kept sacred, which means that it is to be set apart and prioritised. You may wish to start with a 15 to 20mins and adjust accordingly as you become more accustomed to being still and incorporate it into your daily life. Prayer is like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly. So be realistic and set achievable goals for yourself especially if you are starting out.
Carve Out A Conducive Prayer Space
Find a space in your home that is free from distractions (as far as possible). Furnish this space with a crucifix, some candles and your bible and journal.
Make Room for the Holy Spirit In Your Personal Prayer Time.
We all have moments when we feel that we do not know what to pray. However, prayer is not just about us speaking. By observing silence and making room for it, we are able to then create room for the Holy Spirit to speak to us. Try to begin your personal prayer by observing a short time of silence to allow your mind to slow down. Peacefully allow any thoughts that enter your mind to pass right through. Invite the Spirit to sit with you and acknowledge His presence. Write down any messages of truth and affirmation that you may receive. It is important to remember them! Finally, end with a short time of thanksgiving. Speaking our gratitude out loud especially in times like this is powerful and help us to claim God’s promises!
This Pentecost, may you discover a new way to relate to and hold the Holy Spirit close to your heart. May you continue to grow in intimacy with Him as you navigate the rigours of everyday life! Blessed Pentecost dear friends!