As a kid, I had no clue that the Holy Spirit was a real person and the third person of the Trinity with God the Father and God the Son. I remember during Confirmation preparation learning about the supernatural grace that is given in the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, fortitude and fear of the Lord. While I cannot adequately put into words what I experienced during Confirmation, I can say it was a spiritual interior infusion of grace that was given to me, not something another human or I could create.
Receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit resulted in deep spiritual peace and joy. For me, the gifts of the Holy Spirit were, and are, true and real. I was different interiorly having received new spiritual insights, strength and reverence for God that were purely supernatural.
Every time I receive God’s love through the grace poured forth through the Holy Spirit, I am “most myself” in peaceful communion with God and others. It is a foretaste of what heaven will be when we will have the perpetual fullness of divine intimacy. They are an outpouring of God’s love for me and all of us, which derive from the loving communion of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We first received the gifts of the Holy Spirit at our Baptism. In Confirmation, those gifts are strengthened. If we are open each day to the supernatural indwelling of God’s love for us through the gifts of the Holy Spirit (the supernatural cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude or the supernatural theological virtues of faith, hope and love), we flourish humanly and spiritually.
When I wonder how much God really loves us by sending the Holy Spirit to us, I am reminded of Romans 5:5, “The love of God has been poured into our hearts …” and John 14:17, “for he dwells with you and will be in you.” Oh, what a gift it is to be so incredibly loved by God personally and to have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, the giver of divine life through grace.
If you are open to learning more about the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to read the book “The Holy Spirit, Fire of Divine Love” by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, OCD.
If everyone in our diocese is open and disposed to God’s love through the Holy Spirit, then the parish planning process of Set Ablaze will be spiritually fruitful for many people, now and in the future. We will flourish humanly and spiritually in ways beyond what we currently are, and we will be a great help to others to experience the peace and joy of having God be alive in and through us and share in the communion of charity with God and others.
I encourage us to pray for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon everyone in our diocese, that everyone will be open to the Holy Spirit. May all our efforts of pastoral planning in each of your pastorates and schools be led by the Holy Spirit working through each of you. It is my hope that our understanding of the Holy Spirit, our personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, and humble prayers asking the Holy Spirit to be poured forth on us will infuse all our minds and animate our actions.