Ten Ways to Grow in Devotion to the Holy Spirit
The Gift of Gifts, the Sanctifier, the Interior Master, the Finger of God, Paraclete, Sweet Guest of the soul, the bond of love between Father and Son, Consoler and Counselor, the Soul-life giving principle of the Church, the Light from on high —all of these are descriptive titles of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the most Blessed Trinity.
Let us venture into deep waters as we strive to get to know, to fall in love and establish a deep and dynamic rapport and relationship with the Holy Spirit. He desires to enter into deep communion and friendship with you as soon as you open your mind and heart to His Presence. Now is the time!
The thrust and purpose of this short essay is to help us to become more familiar with the oft forgotten person of the Most Blessed Trinity: The Holy Spirit. Our growth in holiness and our salvation depends upon many things, but of primary importance is our intimate union and friendship with the Holy Spirit who desires very much to be our most intimate and best of Friends!
1. Read the Acts of the Apostles
This book of the Bible following the Gospels, containing twenty-eight chapters and attributed to Saint Luke, is a spiritual masterpiece, to say the least! However, of capital importance in reading and meditating upon this book is the presence of the Holy Spirit. It has actually been called “The Gospel of the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, open up the text and read and meditate upon it prayerfully.
2. Underline or Highlight References to the Holy Spirit
During the course of your perusal and meditation upon The Acts of the Apostles, you might underline or highlight (or even copy into your notebook) all the different references made about the Holy Spirit. With that, reflect upon the different ways that the Holy Spirit acts or operates according to the specific context. This will serve to help you get to know the Holy Spirit better and become more cognizant of His workings in the early Church, in individuals, and how He can work in your own spiritual life!
3. Pray Often to the Holy Spirit
There are many prayers that can be said to the Holy Spirit; try to memorize at least one of these prayers and pray it often. Learn the classical or traditional prayer to the Holy Spirit:
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle within us the fire of your divine love.”
V: “Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created,”
R: “And you shall renew the face of the earth.”
Let us pray: “O God, who did instruct the hearts of your faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us that we might be truly wise and always rejoice in His consolation, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.”
4. Learn the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Get to know the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and beg the Holy Spirit that these Heavenly Gifts will become more and more active or operative in your daily life.
The following are the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. Six of them are found in the writings of the Prophet Isaiah.
Pray the following prayer that I myself wrote for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit…
Prayer to the Holy Spirit …
Come Holy Spirit, come fill my heart with your heavenly love. Enlighten my mind so that I may know the Truth, live the Truth, and be willing to die for the Truth.
Come Holy Spirit, come in the dark and lonely moments of my life, come to console me and comfort me. You who are the Sweet Guest of the soul, make me aware of your constant and living presence, so that I recognize that I am never alone because you are with me as a Faithful Friend.
Come Holy Spirit, come, you who are the Interior Master, teach me how to pray. I do not know how to pray well. I implore you to intercede for me with ineffable groans so that I can cry out: “Abba, Father!”
Come Holy Spirit, come in moments of doubt and confusion, be my light and counselor. Help me to make decisions, not according to my will but according to your holy will.
Come Holy Spirit, come in moments of weakness, give me strength. You who are the courage and strength of the martyrs, obtain for me interior strength to fight against sin, my fallen human nature, and anything that is not pleasing to you.
Come Holy Spirit, come, grant me a filial love for you and a sincere love for my neighbor, especially for those I live with and meet every day. Set my heart on fire with love.
Come Holy Spirit, come, sanctify me with your presence. You who are the sanctifier, attain for me an ardent yearning for holiness of life. “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.” May I attain holiness of life so as to attain the promise of eternal life.
Come Holy Spirit, come, produce in me a reverential fear that motivates me to avoid all that is displeasing to you, and to avoid any persons, places, things, or circumstances that could damage my friendship with you.
Come Mary, Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Temple of the Holy Spirit, you who had the most intimate and constant union with the Holy Spirit, pray for me so that my knowledge and love of the Holy Spirit will grow daily until I am with you forever in heaven, worshiping forever the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
5. Beg the Holy Spirit to Make You a Saint
One of the many titles given to the Holy Spirit is that of the Sanctifier—which means: to make one holy. Vatican II, Chapter V of Lumen Gentium asserts the universal call to holiness. All of us, despite our age, culture, condition, or specific vocation, are called to become great saints. Jesus states this clearly with these words: “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.”
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta expressed the universal call to holiness as such: “Holiness is not the privilege of the few, but the duty of all.” Saint Pope John XXIII added: “The saints are the masterpieces of the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, with all the energy of your heart and fiber of your being humbly beg the Holy Spirit to make you a saint!
6. Make the Sign of the Cross
They can become commonplace, jaded, mechanical, perfunctory, and nonchalant— that is, our prayers and prayer gestures. This can easily be the case when we start all of our prayers with the Sign of the Cross.
Perhaps it is time to stop and reflect upon the meaning of the Sign of the Cross related to God, related to the Trinity, related to the cross and our redemption, and related to the Person of the Holy Spirit. It could be helpful to recall upon making the Sign of the Cross that you are truly the living and vibrant Temple of the Holy Spirit! Saint Paul exhorts us: “Glorify God in your bodies.”
7. In Times of Trial and Affliction, Call Upon the Holy Spirit
One of the most powerful and beautiful examples of the powerful Presence of the Holy Spirit is in one of the trials of Saint Joan of Arc. The maid of Orleans is being tried as a heretic, and will eventually be burnt at the stake, and she is asked this trick question: “Are you in the state of grace?” Enlightened and moved by the Holy Spirit, the saint responds: “If I am, thanks be to God; if I am not, may God put me there!”
Without time to reflect and study, the Holy Spirit with great alacrity inspired her with a response that even the greatest of theologians could not have surpassed.
8. Read About the Holy Spirit
Make an intellectual effort to apply your mind to study one or more of the classics on the Holy Spirit. Often it is the case that we do not know basic truths about our Catholic faith due to mental lethargy, mental laziness, mental inertia. Let us fight against a lazy mind!
The following are some suggestions for your intellectual pursuit:
- In the School of the Holy Spirit by Jacques Philippe
- True Devotion to the Holy Spirit by former Archbishop of Mexico City, Luis Martinez
- Catechism of the Catholic Church referring to the Holy Spirit #683-747
- The Spiritual Life by Adolphe Tanqueray #1307-1357
- the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Prima Pars, Questions 36)
- the Encyclical of Pope Saint John Paul II on the Holy Spirit, Dominum et Vivificantem, May 18, 1986.
These sources should keep you busy, at least over the weekend!
9. Learn About Sacramental Theology
Within the context of the Church, the Holy Spirit’s role is essential in the Church which is the Mystical Body of Christ. Jesus is the Head of the Mystical Body; we are the members of His Body. But what about the role and Presence of the Holy Spirit? His role is key to say the least!
The Holy Spirit is actually and truly the Soul of the Church! In philosophy the soul is defined as “the life-giving principle—that which gives life! Without our soul we are dead, a corpse. Without the Holy Spirit the Church cannot exist. It is the Holy Spirit that gives life to the Church and all of its members!
Here is a study for you to undertake: In the administration of the Sacraments, how often does the presence of the Holy Spirit come into play? Much more than we are aware! Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1091-1109)
10. Imitate Mary’s Love of the Holy Spirit
Finally, let us invoke Mary most Holy and beg for her intercession that we might be more open and docile to the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was, at all times and places, open to the workings and operations of the Holy Spirit. However, the Holy Spirit intervened in three key moments in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
- The Immaculate Conception,
- the Virginal Conception,
- and Pentecost—the birthday of the Church.
A word on each: In the Immaculate Conception of Mary in the womb of her mother Saint Anne, Mary was preserved from the stain of Original Sin by the working of the Holy Spirit. In the Virginal Conception, in which Jesus was conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit that Mary conceived Jesus. (In Hebrew the shekinah—the overshadowing).
Finally, fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, but through the presence, fasting, prayers, and good example of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For that reason, Saint Louis de Montfort enthusiastically asserts: “Those who love Mary, the Holy Spirit flings Himself into their souls.”
Mary is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and Mary is the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit. To love the Blessed Virgin Mary is to open a floodgate of graces and the powerful invasion of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Let us pray often: “Come Holy Spirit, come through the Heart of Mary.”
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