FROM THE PAROCHIAL VICAR
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St James’,
From the Nicene Creed, we profess “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life. Who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified; He has spoken through the prophets.” In this small paragraph we say a lot about the Holy Spirit. Originally, the Nicene Creed’s statement on the third person of the Holy Trinity ended as it does in the Apostles’ Creed: I believe in the Holy Spirit.
Nothing more is said.
Later on, the other words were added for greater clarity of our belief. Since the Day of Pentecost, Christians have been theologically trying to grasp the workings of the Holy Spirit. However, of the Three Persons, I would venture to say that the Holy Spirit is not so much to be intellectually grasped as He is to be experienced. I am threading on thin theological grounds here by invoking experience, because we take experience to mean something very subjective and unique to each individual. Hence, “experience” can become overly relative.
However, I am speaking about the objective experience of the Holy Spirit as He operates in creation. His work is the same in person after person. The Holy Spirit does not tailor Himself to suit our needs. We adapt His work to fit our understanding and worldview.
Consider the Holy Spirit’s work in the Sacraments. Let us examine Holy Baptism. Does the Holy Spirit baptize each neophyte differently from another? No. “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” Eph 4:5-6. What about in the Holy Eucharist? Does the Holy Spirit do something different from priest to priest when the words, “This is my Body, this is my Blood” are said? No. For “we, who are many, are one bread, one body: for we are all partake of the one bread” 1 Cor 10:17.
The Holy Spirit connects us equally in the Church, because all of His grace and wisdom is fully given to each of us all the time. In Holy Confirmation, we are receiving confirming assurance that the same Holy Spirit is already dwelling in us. He was not living elsewhere waiting to swoop into our lives on Confirmation Day. The bishop confirms the Holy Spirit was already in us and had given us His sevenfold gifts to equip us for the work of ministry.
Like those followers of Jesus on the day of Pentecost, what we do with our experience of receiving the Holy Spirit is uniquely left up to us. He gives us every power, every grace, and every good gift to enkindle in the world the fire of His love. This Sunday we will be “gathered in one place” Acts 2:1, to experience the Holy Spirit at work in us. I do not know what He will do this time, or how He will do it, but the Holy Spirit will be lovingly at work in our journey Godward. May we take advantage of His grace to bring Christ to the world.
In our blessed Lord,
Fr Richard Daly, SSC