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Know Your Faith: The role and power of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit existed before, during and after creation. It empowers people giving them courage to fulfill the mission left by Jesus.

Zimbabwe-born Deacon Ronald Abraham CSSp, a final-year Theology student of the Seminary St John Vianney and Uganda Martyrs, Mt St Benedict, Tunapuna shared these insights Monday, April 12 in his presentation ‘The Biblical Foundation of the Holy Spirit’. It was the start of the second instalment of the Know Your Faith series hosted by the Catholic Religious Education Development Institute (CREDI), in conjunction with Catholic Media Services Ltd and the Office of Pastoral Planning and Development. Moderator was Director of CREDI Dr Maria Byron. The first, instalment in January focused on the Gospel of Mark. The seven-part series is being broadcast on the catholictt Facebook page on Monday and a delayed broadcast 8 p.m. on Trinity TV. The theme is Come Holy Spirit.

Rev Abraham’s presentation dealt briefly with ‘Who is the Holy Spirit’ before delving into the main topic. Citing various scripture readings, he said, “The Holy Spirit is God; the Holy Spirit is the wind of God, the breath that gives us life; the Holy Spirit is teacher.” Rev Abraham said when Jesus was giving the disciples their mission to go to the whole world and baptise, this was to be done in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit makes complete the person of the Trinity,” he said.

Citing Genesis 1:2 Rev Abraham said the Holy Spirit was an agent of creation and in all that happened in creation, the Holy Spirit was involved because “the Holy Spirit was one with God”.

It was “there before creation” and is described as moving on top of the waters. Rev Abraham said God breathed into Adam’s nostrils and gave him life and in the Gospel of John 20:27-29, on Divine Mercy Sunday, Jesus entered the room where the disciples were and breathed on them and gave them new life. “The Holy Spirit gives life”.

Rev Abraham highlighted persons of the Old Testament who were empowered through the Holy Spirit to work for God. Joshua, who succeeded Moses to lead the Israelites into the promised land. “The scripture [Num 27:18] says he was a man of the Holy Spirit and with the Holy Spirit”. There was Gideon, who “was afraid of his own shadow but the Spirit took possession of him and he went to fight the Israelites so the Holy Spirit can act in us to give us courage” (Judges 6:34) and Sampson, seized by the Holy Spirit and able to defeat a lion (Judges 14:6).

Rev Abraham said, “The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament we have seen empowers some people to do extraordinary tasks… I am sure there are people we can identify in our Church, in our country, who are doing extraordinary things.”

Contrasting the empowerment which can come from the Holy Spirit is disempowerment when sin brings its withdrawal. Adam and Eve lost eternal life through the sin of disobedience, “the Spirit left Saul”, the first king of Israel after he sinned and he was tormented by an evil spirit. The Spirit was working in David but he sinned with Bathsheba, and knowing what happened to Saul repented. “Psalms 51: 11, we hear this same David pleading with the Lord that the Holy Spirit stays with him…if it stays with him, he would be able to lead and be able to have strength and continue the mission of God”.

The Holy Spirit is an agent in bringing the Messiah when Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit are involved in Jesus’ baptism by John ; the Spirt came upon Him like a dove.

Rev Abraham discussed the role of the “Holy Spirit in the realm of prophecy” referring to the Book of Nehemiah, Isaiah and Matthew’s gospel in which John the Baptist, the last prophet to “pave the way for the Messiah” announces Jesus will baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

“We see this come to fulfilment on the day of Pentecost when all the believers sat in one room and the Spirit came upon them in tongues of fire,” Rev Abraham said.

He rounded off his talk with this question: “What does the Holy Spirit expect of us today?”. He provided some ideas: “The Holy spirit wants us to be sanctified…to be people who are righteous—Jesus said be ‘perfect like your Heavenly Father’.” The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit so Catholics should live as holy people. Rev Abraham continued, “The Spirit of the Lord is also upon us to bear that image of Christ so that being called Christian, we can truly abide by that name knowing we are doing what Christ instructed us…We should love one another, love God. The Spirit wants us to love”.

Know Your Faith continues every until Monday 24th