The Spirit calls us. Do we respond? » Manila Bulletin News



By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD


Once an archbishop was discussing Christianity with a learned Japanese writer. The writer told the archbishop, “I think I understand God the Father and God the Son, but I can never understand the significance of the Honorable Bird.”

Many people will understand the problem of the Japanese writer for the Holy Spirit has eluded the imagination of scholars, preachers and, much more, the lay people .

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This Sunday is the feast of the Holy Spirit or PENTECOST. It commemorates that momentous event when the Holy Spirit descended on the timid apostles at the Upper Room.

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One difficulty in knowing the mysterious Holy Spirit is because He is represented in various symbols. The Holy Spirit is portrayed as a dove that hovered over Christ when he was baptized at the river Jordan.

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At Pentecost He came down “like wind.” “Wind” (“pnoe” in Greek) is used in the Scripture to designate a person’s “breath” or “spirit” – ruah in Hebrew. (Read Genesis 2,7; Acts 17,25). The Holy Spirit “inspires” or “breathes life into.” And one who is inspired receives life.

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I’m reminded of a seminarian in college who was shy, always keeping to himself; in local parlance, “walang kabuhay-buhay.“

When he took a one-year regency, a period of exposure outside the seminary, he met a lady-teacher who, to make a long story short, “inspired” him. From then on his life changed dramatically.

Unfortunately, after regency, he left the seminary. Maybe, he was over-inspired!

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The Spirit is the Church’s breath. The divine breath gave the young Christian Church astonishing powers.

The Spirit also moves us to conversion or spiritual rebirth. When one experiences remorse for sin, the Spirit renews that person giving him new life.

I had a friend from the Ilocos who was a bank manager and whose accounting expertise we consulted in our school finances.

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He talked of nothing except money–and how one could make more of it. He wasn’t really that irreligious because he would go to church regularly, but stayed at the back. One would call him a “church pillar” because he stood behind the pillars of the church!

We lost track of each other for years. But some time ago we met. I expected him to rattle off his favorite topic–money. But surprisingly, he now talked about religious matters.

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“What happened?” I asked. “It’s a long story,” he said, “but after joining a Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS), I realized that I’d been missing a lot of important things in life. Where God occupied just the sideline, now He is at the center of my life.”

The dramatic transformation was the working of the Holy Spirit.

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Did you ever feel turning a new life because of guilt feelings over some illegal deals or illicit relationships? Or were you inspired to do good to people because of a priest’s homily or an article you read? Or like that accountant, did you ever attend a retreat or a Life in the Spirit Seminar and experienced a spiritual transformation?

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Such are the promptings of the Holy Spirit. But the question is: Do you heed the Spirit’s promptings? The Spirit keeps calling us but we must heed His call if we want to be transformed.

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