Waiting for the Holy Spirit to Empower Us
Sacred Scripture tells us that while meeting with His disciples, our Lord Jesus Christ instructed them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which [they had] heard [him] speak…” He also informed them, “you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:4, 8) It should not surprise us that Jesus gave such a specific command. His first departure following His passion and crucifixion caused at least two of His disciples to leave the main group of Apostles in Jerusalem. Christ’s conversation with the disciples heading to Emmaus reveals how temptations of doubt, disillusion, depression, and discouragement can grow exponentially when disciples of Christ separate themselves from the gathered community of Faith.
On this occasion of the Ascension, Jesus instructed them to remain in Jerusalem and to wait for the Holy Spirit’s power to descend upon them. This was necessary given that the Spirit of God is the primordial witness of the Son of God’s life and mission. Indeed, the Holy Spirit accompanied Jesus Christ at all times from the moment of His conception until He ascended into Heaven; they shared in the same mission of salvation. Hence, the Spirit of God will descend upon Christ’s disciples to empower them for a purpose.
The Holy Spirit Desires to Make Us Witnesses of Christ
The Spirit of God comes to make us witnesses of Christ’s resurrection and of the message of salvation. Without His presence, we can easily become doubtful, disillusioned, depressed, and discouraged. However, when the Spirit of God penetrates our minds, hearts, and souls we are empowered to willingly and effectively proclaim the Good News of salvation with conviction, joy, courage, and extraordinary grace.
Christians become temples of the Holy Spirit when they are baptized. In addition, the sacrament of Confirmation, which consummates Baptism, is that sacred moment in which the baptized receives the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, this Holy Spirit very often becomes dormant within some overtime due to a mediocre, lukewarm, and sinful life. An incautious Christian can potentially allow himself to become influenced by the errant values, ideologies, and standards of this misguided and secular society. Hence, the Spirit of God becomes the inward, unknown Companion of our soul whose presence and guidance is frequently ignored, neglected, and rejected.
Collaborating With the Holy Spirit
Some of us Christians can often forget that we are temples of the Holy Spirit who desires our collaboration. Truly, the Spirit calls us to defend Christ and the traditional teachings of the Church, as well as to be countercultural for the sake of God’s kingdom. The good news is that we do not have to fulfill this calling alone: the Holy Spirit Himself descended upon us to assist us in this crucial vocation. The Father’s Promise strengthens our faith, prolongs our hope, and inflames our love so that we can bear witness to Christ at all times and in all places.
Indeed, this is not an easy task given that the devil, the flesh, and the world continually tempt us to become absorbed in the dangers of individualism, materialism, and moral relativism that is destroying life, the family, and society. During these times, the Lord commands us to wait for the Spirit to empower us anew. What obstacles exist in our lives that prevent the Spirit from guiding us freely and completely? How do we prepare our hearts to receive a fresh anointing of the Spirit of God? Are we willing to permit the Spirit to empower us to make us capable of giving witness to the truth of Christ and His Church no matter what the circumstances and consequences may be? These questions are significant given that we are called to continuously be giving witness in the Spirit.
“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth… O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”