Jesus once said; ‘It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless’ (Jn 6:63). On another occasion he added that ‘ out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water’ (Jn 7:37). In the next sentence we read that this statement was about the believers in Jesus who were to receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 7:39).
In Jesus, we saw the Word of God becoming flesh. It follows that the words that Jesus speaks are indeed spirit and life (Jn 6:63). As we know, God’s Spirit is present in the Word. In the sacraments also the Spirit is present. So the works of the Spirit should be visible in a person who has the Spirit. Stephen, the first martyr is the best example. To be able to stand his ground before a mob that was approaching him with stones in their hands, Stephen sought the help of only one person, the Holy Spirit. It is no easy thing to gaze into heaven in times of trial so as to see the glory of God with Jesus by His side.
One who submits his life to the Holy Spirit will experience the mysterious guidance of the Spirit in everything he does. The experience of Philip was no different. Once his mission for the Ethiopian eunuch was completed, next we see Philip being snatched away by the Spirit of the Lord. Philip had to wait until he reached the destination of Azotus to know where he landed.
It is characteristic of the works of the Holy Spirit. Because ‘the wind blows where it chooses’ (Jn 3:8). We may be able to hear its sound. But to know ‘where it comes from or where it goes’ is beyond our comprehension. Jesus said this parable about those who are born of the Spirit.
We have received this birth in Spirit at the time of our baptism. And with every sacrament that we receive, this anointing should grow and start yielding fruits. But oftentimes we find that the anointing that was revealed in Philip and Stephen are lacking in our life. During times of trial, our conduct does not rise to the level expected from a Chhristian. A life in spirit remains a distant dream for many of us. The gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are seldom visible in our actions.
A single word answer will suffice for all these. It is our indifference towards the call of our heavenly Father, who is ever ready to pour out His Spirit upon His children. As we know our relation with God is best expressed in our prayers. Do you remember the last time when you prayed for the Holy Spirit? Or among the litany of our daily petitions for material benefits, how much importance is given for beseeching this precious gift from God? If our desire for getting anointing is strong enough, it is a foregone conclusion that our petition will be answered from heaven. This is not a hollow promise, but the unchangeable word of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. ‘If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ (Lk 11:13).
Let us wake up from the spiritual lethargy that has been obstructing us from earning this precious anointing. Let our prayer for the Holy Spirit occupy the first place whenever we communicate with our Father. Is there a bigger tragedy than losing the anointing of the Holy Spirit for the sole reason that we did not care to pray for it?
The easiest way to get anointing is to follow those who already got it. God also wants us to follow what the Blessed Virgin and Apostles did in those days preceding the first Pentecost; Constantly devote ourselves to prayer!
Let us pray. Come, Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well-beloved Spouse.