Monday, May 21, 2012

God arises; his enemies are scattered

The Psalmist says, "God arises; his enemies are scattered, and those who hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so are they driven; as wax melts before the fire." On Pentecost, which is quickly approaching, the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit who proceeds as a gift to the Apostles. By the sending, God arose. He scattered their enemies by casting out all their fear. He gave them the power and the faith to preaching to the nations, and so Satan and all of his minions fled before them. When the Holy Spirit comes three types of gifts are given.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

If you consider the soul to be like a boat, the virtues are like oars. By rowing, a boat can make progress, but not very quickly. This is how it is with virtues as well. We row, but we do not progress in the spiritual life very quickly. Hence, God has equipped all of us, in the Sacrament of Confirmation especially with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the first reading, St. Paul baptizes some of those who were in Corinth and then immediately laid hands on them. That should sound familiar! After we are baptized, the hands of a bishop are laid on us and we are anointed by the Holy Spirit. So it was with the Corinthians; the Scriptures tell us that "when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them." In Confirmation, we are equipped with the Holy Spirit to testify to the Lord and bring the Gospel to the whole world. If we return to our boat analogy, the virtues are the oars, but the Gifts of the Spirit are the sails. These sails dispose our souls to be docile and to be moved by the Holy Spirit. If we open ourselves to these gifts by single minded devotion to the Lord God, we will be moved more and more by divine inspiration. By such movement, we quickly approach the shores of our homeland in heaven.


By the charisms (things like speaking in tongues, healing, prophesying, teaching, administration, and others) we are equipped to do extraordinary works, displaying the power of God. Unlike the gifts of the Holy Spirit, possession of these gifts does not make us holy. A person who can perform miracles isn't necessarily holy. Their gift is meant to be shared with others to build up the Church.

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

As we rely more and more on God's grace, put our charisms to good use, and live more by the Gifts the Spirit, we transform our lives and begin to experience the fruits of our labours. This includes peace: the experience of having our lives rightly order to God. Peace is like a well-oiled machine which smoothly and efficiently accomplishes its goals. We also find joy in doing the work of the Lord. We experience patience, humility, and self-control. If we are following the path of the Lord, God will scatter our enemies and fill us with these fruits. The war that rages in our hearts will be replaced with peace and serenity. And this is the purpose of Christ's teachings for us. Let me end with a quote from the Gospel, "I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."

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