Why Be Baptised In The Holy Spirit?

Since the Spirit is our life, let us be led by the Spirit!“ (Gal 5:25)

A personal and intimate relationship with Jesus is an essential part of Christian life and being baptised in the Holy Spirit brings this relationship alive within us.

It’s like a fire that sanctifies us and sets us free from sinful choices and activities. We receive an experiential faith relationship with Jesus, and a spiritual bonding with others of joy, love and peace.

Our desire to praise God and a hunger to pray, increases after we have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

We begin to receive new insights about the mysteries of God, develop a love for God’s Word in His Scriptures and courageously witness to others about the Love of Jesus.

In the early Church the Holy Spirit was most tangibly present. The book of Acts could be called the Book of the Holy Spirit.

Christian Initiation was not seen as being completed until the gentiles received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that Peter preached about in Acts 8:17- cf Acts 10:44.

St Paul would ask if people received the Holy Spirit when they became believers and were baptised in the name of Jesus cf Acts 19:1-7. [See editorial note 1]

Using the phrase Baptism in the Holy Spirit today, to depict the deeper later awakening of the original sacramental grace, by no means signifies a second baptism. While not suggesting that the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit ‘ happens only in charismatic renewal, the Charism of the Angelus Association draws on it. [See editorial note 1.]

So the Spirit bestows Spiritual Gifts or Charisms for God’s people to pray, praise and worship Him, to serve one another in love, prophecy, preaching, healing, miracles, discernment of spirits, tongues and the ability to interpret them. The Gifts supernaturally empower them to participate in the life of the Church and to evangelise. But all Gifts lead to Love cf St Paul 1 Cor 13. [See editorial note 2.]

“This fully maturing of the union of the Holy Spirit happens not just as we contemplate God Word (although Jesus said His Word cleansed His disciples John 13:10) but especially is powerful though the Eucharistic.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of our spiritual lives. The Eucharistic prayer invokes the coming of the Spirit, not only on the gifts of bread and wine, but also upon us so that we who are nourished by His Body and Blood, may be filled with His Holy Spirit”. (Extract from Fanning the Flame by authors K Mc Donnell and George. T. Montague Liturgal Press Collegeville Minnesota) [See editorial note3]

The Spirit calls each of us and the Church as a whole after the pattern of Mary and the Apostles in the Upper Room. [See editorial note 4]

God freely gives this grace, but it requires a personal response of ongoing conversion to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and openness to the transforming presence and power of His Holy Spirit.

 

PRAYER COMMENT:

The New Living Water of the Spirit conforms the believer to Christ, producing holiness, and a hunger and thirst for God.

“In one Spirit we were all baptised into one body … and we were all given to drink of the one Spirit. “ (1Cor 12:13)


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EDITORIAL NOTES:

[1] [Note: our pastoral experience and theological reflection leads us to believe that the Grace of the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’ is meant for the whole Church].

Mary herself was the first one Baptised in the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit Lk 1:35 and others were filled with the Holy Spirit around her at the Visitation cf Lk 1:39-45. Even in the Old Testament King David was “seized” by the Holy Spirit 1 Samuel 16:13.

We enter a deep mystery here where volumes have been written to help understand it, to the extent us creatures can. But the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) puts it simply: while we are made in the image of God we lost the Divine likeness N. 708 the Angelus consecration prayer gives us the belief and awareness that God can restore that likeness which is fully seen in Jesus. Baptism in Jesus’ Name begins this process and as we grow to know God’s Word, we see how much we are not like Jesus (another way to express what sin is) this enkindles in us a desire for His Love or the Holy Spirit.

In fact the Holy Spirit was with us all along. Jesus does not lead us to Jesus as such but the Holy Spirit does as the CCC says Their missions are conjoined N.743. Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks loudly like in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and gives us Gifts that Jesus had so as we grow in them (cf angelus teaching) and as we do we are actually growing in love- the Gift of Love where the sin is then forgiven and the communion of the Holy Spirit is fully realised or mature, the Divine likeness restored CCC734.

[2] The Baptism of the Holy Spirit becomes more subtle with time, hence the Angelus teachings on contemplation and discernment. Later teachings will touch on the dark night of the soul and mystical marriage where the deepest listening to the Holy Spirit is achieved.

Again Mary’s Angelus experience is our guide for this as the CCC puts eloquently in N.2617 “... FIAT: this is Christian prayer: to be wholly God’s because He is wholly ours.”

[3] Where we fall short of the Divine likeness the Holy Spirit would free us, but Jesus in the Eucharist makes good the shortfall until we become like the consecrated host. [The Eucharist is the doorway to receive the Grace of Calvary – the great atonement for sin where Jesus became the Lamb of God slain for us. ]

[4] The Church sees the upper room as the Annunciation Mary first experienced now given to the Church.