THE PARACLETE IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH – United and moved by one Spirit

– Miguel Augusto

This Sunday, June 9, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. The Church instituted by Jesus of Nazareth and initiated by His Apostles, gathered together in prayer in the upper room, with Mary Most Holy, awaited the Lord’s promise after His Ascension into heaven, strengthened by His presence after the event that transformed the faith of all: the Resurrection of the Lord. Before His Ascension into Heaven, Jesus said to the Apostles, “And (behold) I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

To speak of the Holy Spirit is to meet the Holy Scriptures, where He is present in all books. He the author, the divine inspiration, as we say in the Creed: “He has spoken through the Prophets.”

The first book of the Bible, called Genesis, forms part of the Pentateuch (Greek name meaning “five scrolls” or book) that contained the Law of Moses. Genesis is a Greek term and it means “origin,” “birth,” and in the first line of this book we see the creative action of the Holy Spirit: “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2).

It is interesting to note the familiarity of the words Pentecost and Pentateuch. Pentecost refers to the fifty days after the Resurrection of the Lord and Pentateuch to the five books of the Law of Moses. With Moses, God formed a Covenant with men, the beginning of the History of Salvation. And with the coming of the Lord, the apostles and His Church, Jesus establishes a New Covenant, also moved and guided by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus, even before His Passion, announced the coming of the Holy Spirit and its importance to the Church: “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).

Following the Biblical narrative, we see in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles the fulfilment of the Lord’s promise: “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:1-4).

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be our helper, would instruct us throughout the history of the Church: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth” (John 16:12-13).

On several occasions, we see clearly in the Scriptures that the apostles were allowed to be guided by the Holy Spirit. One of these interesting cases – and that makes all the sense today, knowing about the expansion of Christianity – is when the apostles prepare to start the task of evangelization. Inclined to move to the East, they are hindered by the Holy Spirit who directs them to the West and there they lay the first seeds of Christ’s Church and His word. “They travelled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” (Acts 16:6-10).

Thus we see how fundamental is the presence of the Holy Spirit in every member of the Mystical Body of Christ, in every Christian, so that each member moved by the same Spirit, may carry out the will of God.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.


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