Following the Ten-Day Devotion to the Holy Spirit, we reflect on the Holy Spirit's presence beyond Pentecost.
It’s tempting to believe that the Holy Spirit only came upon the apostles at Pentecost, and that the Spirit is no longer active in the world. Yet, to believe that would be to deny the great gift Jesus promised when he said to his disciples, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always” (John 14:16).
As St. Josemaria Escriva explains in his homily entitled “The Great Unknown,” “The solemn coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was not an isolated event. There is hardly a page in the Acts of the Apostles where we fail to read about him and the action by which he guides, directs and enlivens the life and work of the early Christian community.”
According to Escriva, “It is he who inspires St. Peter’s preaching, who strengthens the faith of the disciples, who confirms with his presence the calling of the Gentiles, who sends Saul and Barnabas to the distant lands where they will open new paths for the teachings of Jesus. In a word, his presence and doctrine are everywhere.”
The Church confirms this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, explaining how the Holy Spirit has always been present in the world and will continue to be in the world, “From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable … The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity’s communion with men” (CCC 743,747).
This continual presence of the Holy Spirit should give us hope, knowing that God is with us, even in our weaknesses. As Escriva points out, “The Holy Spirit is present in the Church of Christ for all time, so that it may be, always and in everything, a sign raised up before all nations, announcing to all people the goodness and the love of God. In spite of our great limitations, we can look up to heaven with confidence and joy.”
God did not forget about us or leave us as orphans. He continues to show his love for us through the presence of the Holy Spirit in the world today. Let us continue to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, welcoming him and allowing him to have a greater impact on our lives.