The Glory of God Manifest Within Us
By Paige Kohlman
This last week I found myself reflecting on what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit and set on fire for Christ and His Holy Church. Pentecost, the birth of the Catholic Church, is where the companions of Jesus, who full of fear, were also filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Just imagine it, the friends and followers of Jesus are awaiting the promised gift from the Father, however, all the doors and windows were locked up because of their fear of the Jews. I find that we too wait for that deep awaking or stirring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or we are waiting for that “wow” moment where we expect something fabulous to change us. What a gift that has been given to us believers through our Confirmation, this gift of the Holy Spirit, which we are called to stir within us. Often we do not realize the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within us; that same power that created the Heavens and the Earth and rose Jesus from the dead. The power of the Holy Spirit within us is waiting to be unlocked and made manifest within our lives. How do we awake the gifts of the Holy Spirit within us and allow them to manifest the Glory of God in our lives?
Recently in one of the Gospel readings, Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world, a city on a hill or a lamp on a lamp stand, which is not to be hidden under a basket. He calls us to be a light that shines so that people may see our good deeds and give glory to God our Father so that others too may come to know Him as their Father. Before the Holy Spirit came to fill the followers of Jesus, they were full of fear for their lives praying behind locked doors. Yet when the Holy Spirit came in power, as tongues of fire which came over them, they proclaimed the Gospel of love and salvation in different languages. All the Jews who had come to celebrate a great feast in Jerusalem would now be able to hear the good news of Christ and would be saved. Think about it, in this moment of being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, these followers of Christ were empowered to proclaim the Gospel of love to those they feared. Through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit they became true Apostles of the Lord; set on fire for God, no longer hiding behind locked doors saying their prayers, but rather becoming a bold prayer and offering to God, many of these Apostles were willing to shed their blood and die for the faith. Through the filling of the Holy Spirit, the followers of Jesus truly became the light of the world, boldly proclaiming the love of God. On that day of Pentecost 2000 years ago, the Catholic Church was born. As Fr. Kevin put it, at the moment of conception we are each given a gift of God and carry a peace of God’s glory within us. During Baptism and Confirmation we become true children of God, receiving new graces. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit. This gift is meant for the building up of the Church, rather then be locked away due to fear of what others will think. In the Gospel of Matthew 5:10, Jesus says “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” As Catholics we need to unlock the gifts of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and not let them lay dormant. Let us be set on fire for the Living God who loves us and from that become a living prayer of praise to God our Father.
Baptism and Confirmation are like seeds that have been planted or a fire that has been lit within us, however, the seeds need to be watered and fertilized and the fire needs wood to keep burning. How do we allow the seeds of Baptism and the fire of Confirmation to grow within us? We do this by going to Sunday Eucharist weekly, going to Reconciliation regularly, reading the Word of God, doing acts of charity and getting involved in the Church. Then we are going to unlock the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I leave you with this quote written by Marianne Williamson that speaks much truth to the topic of allowing the gifts of God to be made known in us:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Williamson M, (1992). A Return to Love, p. 190.