The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
The concept is tricky: our God is three, but is also one. I remember as a child when my mother explained the classic water-ice-steam analogy to me, describing something with essentially the same properties but that takes different forms. It didn’t exactly clarify things for me; I was left vaguely wondering if God manifested himself differently at different temperatures—in the desert, say, or in Antarctica.
But as I matured, I came to see the Holy Spirit, arguably the least understandable of the persons of the Trinity, as the most personal form that God takes. After all, the Holy Spirit is with us and inside us. Every thought we have, every place we go, every moment of our lives, we’re not alone.
And the sacraments, the very acts that seal us to God and the Church, are clearly the Holy Spirit acting in us.
Through the Church’s ministry, Baptism is imparted by water and the Holy Spirit. Through Confirmation, one is strengthened in virtue by the power of the Holy Spirit. The words of absolution in the sacrament of Penance point to the role of the Holy Spirit in the forgiveness of sins. The words of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick invoke the grace of the Holy Spirit. - Mary Mark Wickenhiser, FSP
Oddly enough, even knowing that, we don’t turn to the Holy Spirit in prayer very often. We bless ourselves “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” but beyond that, the Spirit is somewhat of an afterthought.
One of the blessings of being Catholic, however, is that we don’t have to do things from scratch. We don’t have to make up prayers when we’re unsure of what to say. We don’t have to imagine what the Holy Spirit would like to hear. We have prayer books that can lead us into prayer through words that have been polished by centuries of use, generations upon generations who have said the same things, connecting us through time to all members of the Church, living and dead: the community of faith.
And now we can join that community more intentionally through the Holy Spirit Prayer Book, written and compiled by Mary Mark Wickenhiser, FSP, which includes a small guide to lectio divina, praying with the Holy Spirit in Scripture.
This beautiful treasury includes daily prayers, a novena for Pentecost, the litany of the Holy Spirit, the chaplet of the Holy Spirit, prayer for various occasions, Latin prayers and hymns, and suggested resources. You’ll discover the outpouring of spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit wants to share with you. You’ll have the words that you need to pray, to meditate, to read, and to prepare you to listen.
The Holy Spirit isn’t God from a distant past or a distant place. The Holy Spirit is God-inside-you. Never mind praying; when I think of this I want to sing!
Here’s another analogy. If you’re a parent, then you are no doubt familiar with the words, “batteries not included.” Woe to the father or mother who disregards them on Christmas morning! When batteries aren’t included, then there’s no power source to make the toy or mechanical device run. As Christians, however, our batteries are included, because the source of our power, our inspiration, our generosity, our love—everything, in fact, that makes us human—is indeed already in us: it’s the Holy Spirit. We didn’t need to insert the batteries, and we don’t have to worry that they’ll ever run down: our loving heavenly Father has seen to that.
When you were baptized into the Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit not only came to dwell inside you, but he imparted to you spiritual life, causing you to be born anew as a child of God. The Holy Spirit baptized you into the body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul explains, "We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body."
Bearing all that in mind, isn’t it regrettable that we don’t pray to the Holy Spirit more often? And doesn’t thinking about that make you want to? If it does, then you may wish to try this prayer book… and feel the love and power of the batteries within: the Holy Spirit!
- Article by Jeannette de Beauvoir
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