The Gift, the most fundamental gift that Jesus gives—indeed the first give he gives, at the moment of baptism—is the Holy Spirit. He promised to send this gift, for without the Spirit there is no relationship with Christ and with the Father; indeed all spiritual work within us is performed by the Holy Spirit. When Abraham welcomed three wayfarers into his tent, he actually encountered God. So too we are brought into encounter with the mystery of the Trinity as the Spirit moves us towards the Father, with Jesus. As Pope Francis said, “because the Holy Spirit dwells in us; he is the One who transforms us deep within and makes us experience the soul-stirring joy of being loved by God as his true children.”
“Every time we begin to pray to Jesus it is the Holy Spirit who draws us on the way of prayer by his prevenient grace. Since he teaches us to pray by recalling Christ, how could we not pray to the Spirit too? That is why the Church invites us to call upon the Holy Spirit every day, especially at the beginning and the end of every important action.” (Catechism 2670)
Through the work of the Spirit we encounter Jesus, who teaches us and transforms our hearts. We do not only recall Jesus as a memory, which would reduce him to the past, but rather the Spirit makes Jesus present. The Spirit brings Christ to us today, at this moment, in our heart, making it possible to encounter Christ in every time and place.
The Holy Spirit gives the gift of prayer, of dialoguing with God, of encountering Jesus: in the Gospel, in the Eucharist received and adored, and in the face of a brother or sister in need. This is not something given only to monks and nuns, but ordinary, humble people are given the grace to be configured to Christ and keeping the fire of the Spirit, the flame of love, burning in their hearts. Pope Francis explains:
The image of the lighted lamp next to the Tabernacle, where the Eucharist is reserved, comes to mind. Even when the church empties and evening falls, even when the church is closed, that lamp remains lit, and continues to burn; no one sees it, yet it burns before the Lord. This is how the Spirit, in our heart, is always present like that lamp.
Too often we fail to pray, we don’t feel like praying, or perhaps we pray with the mouth, but not our heart. Pope Francis says this is the moment to say to the Spirit: “Come, come Holy Spirit, warm my heart. Come and teach me to pray, teach me to look to the Father, to look to the Son. Teach what the path of faith is like. Teach me how to love and, above all, teach me to have an attitude of hope.” When we continually call on the Spirit, he will be present in our lives.
No two Christians are completely identical, no two people pray exactly the same. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the infinite field of holiness, making each disciple unique in the beauty of His gifts, yet equal in dignity as His children. The Holy Spirit is present in us, therefore: listen to the Spirit, call upon the Spirit, ask for strength, ask for light, ask the Spirit to teach you how to pray. “Come, Holy Spirit” is a most beautiful prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit.”
You are invited to further meditation from the Last Supper Discourse John 15:26-16:15
- I will send you the Spirit of truth from the Father.
- It is to your advantage that I go away, for I will send the Helper to you.
- He will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but he will glorify me.
In the Spirit we are enabled to call God our Father, to live our vocation to holiness, and to carry out our baptismal mission as witnesses of Christ’s redemptive and merciful love. In the Spirit we are able to pray; and in our prayer, we ask the Spirit to guide us in our daily lives, draw us ever more fully into the life of the Blessed Trinity, and bestow upon the Church the richness of his gifts.