Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Holy Spirit

Part of the essential message of the Gospel over existing Spiritual Methods, including the old Law of Judaism, was the promise of the Holy Spirit for the Church; it's leaders and laity alike.

When Jesus spoke of the necessity of Baptism, he promised that in addition to John's Baptism of desire, and the symbol of water cleansing the penitent, they would also be "Baptised by fire and the Holy Spirit". He also exhorted His Disciples to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit after His Ascension into Heaven, so that He, as God, would continue to be with them. It is this Trinitarian transformation of God's relationship with His people that salvation is possible: Having become incarnate and conquered Death, God is able to live in His Creation in a much more profound and atoning way. The last words Jesus gave His Disciples was to "Baptise all Nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".

This shows Christians that the Holy Spirit is a powerful, purifying and Godly force which has the power to transform the believer. The idea of Sacraments is based on this: that a physical action like Baptising can be imbued with God to change the soul of the believer.

Rather than making a concerted effort in acquiring secret knowledge and experiencing transcendence (like in Gnosticism), or in following a ritually prescribed Law of physical purity (like in Judaism); the gifts of the Holy Spirit really are that: Gifts. Freely given.

This Gift was prophecised by Isaiah many centuries before Christ came into the world:

“There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: the Spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the Spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And He shall be filled with the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears. But He shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips He shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of His loins: and faith the girdle of His reins.” (Isaiah 11:1-5)

Although this Prophecy is applied to Christ; we can assume from what He told us, as well as the teaching of St Paul, that this Gift applied to all believers through Baptism. A gift which will lead to the total fulfilment of the Law, and truly Holy Fruit overcoming all the evils of the world:
I say then, walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-26)

Let us pray on this Feast of the Four Holy Martyrs, that we may be granted the Gift of the Holy Spirit, acquired through our Baptism, and that this may be present and fruitful in the world.

-- Post From My iPhone

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