“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul crossed the plateau and came to Ephesus. Then he met some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you embraced the faith?’ They answered: ‘We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit!’ “(Acts 19: 1f).
As we read this text of the Acts of the Apostles in its entirety, we perceive that the men questioned by Paul were disciples of John the Baptist, men who had been baptized by him, with the baptism of conversion which he administered to the people. John the Baptist himself preached to the people that after him there would come a greater one than he. And that this, in turn, would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
This one greater than John the Baptist was Jesus, of which John was the forerunner. These men knew the baptism of John the Baptist, but they did not experience the baptism of Jesus. Until the day they met with the apostle Paul. That meeting changed the lives of these twelve men! It is written that “Paul laid his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them. Then they began to speak in tongues and prophesy “(Acts 19: 6).
From that day on, from that prayer, the Holy Spirit was no longer a “stranger” to these twelve new Christians. From unknown to friend; from strange to intimate; from abstract idea to faithful companion. Not a “cosmic energy”, a simple emotion, but above all a Person!
An eternal message from God
The Holy Spirit is not “something” but someone! The Spirit of truth (so called by Jesus himself) comes to lead every man and man as a whole to the discovery of something that is nothing new – like the passing novelties of this world – but an eternal message from God, so the creation of everything we know.
What message is this? God loves us with everlasting love!
This is the divine message that the Spirit has always said and continues to say with the strength and authority that is proper to the four corners of the earth, through his Church, to the world insensible to God. Only the Holy Spirit can convince us and lead us to the experience of this unique love of the Father. Divinely human and humanly divine love.
The man who has this certainty within him, “Whatever happens in my life, God will always love me and take care of me!” Is a man who is certainly happy, who infects the desperate world with the overwhelming force of hope. The sure man of God’s love is like an oasis in the midst of the desert in which we live. But how to be firm and unshakable, all secure in this love of God, without the help of the Lord Himself, not counting His grace?
Without divine aid, we run the risk of easily being disappointed by the tragic discovery of how fragile the material we are made of. Hence the discouragement, the tiredness, the depression and the resentments.
Let us not ignore the Person of the Holy Spirit
I want to finish this article by addressing you, who reads these words: It may be that today, you are in the way of those men: ignoring the existence of the Holy Spirit. You may also say, “I did not even hear that there is a Holy Spirit!” Hence, I am forced to acknowledge that many of his mistakes and stumbles of the past have been committed out of sheer ignorance (in the sense of a lack of knowledge and not an aggressive attitude). After all, you had never been presented to the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps, today, you are like this, in the worst ignorance! What would it be? To have been baptized, believed, to be inserted in the Church, to live piously the fulfillment of the precepts and everything else and to realize that there is still a void in the soul, a continuous feeling of impotence in the face of the injustices that surround you, a grief in the heart that cannot be explained with mere words?
What, then, happens? Why do you lack that sparkle in your eyes when you pronounce the name of Jesus? Because, unfortunately, we can instead of living having the Holy Spirit not only on our side, but, especially, within us; just simply live our lives ignoring His presence, pretending that He does not exist, not listening to His voice that speaks to the hardest heart?
.: The gifts of the Holy Spirit have the power to sanctify us
.: Letting oneself be led by the Holy Spirit
.: The Holy Spirit is Paraclete, especially close friend
The worst ignorance is to be of God and live as if we were not of Him, ignoring His “seal of property” on us! We are stubbornly fighting the Lord, defying His will, questioning His Word, trying in vain to point out “the finger that accuses” the face of the Creator and give Him all responsibility for the madness and suffering of this world. We live as if we have no owner.
So it is difficult to be a Good Shepherd sheep without ever having heard His voice. It is difficult to be baptized in the Spirit and not be led by Him.
How to deal with this longing for God?
Are you like me, longing for God? I think the recipe for us is to open ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, for He alone can bring us back to the essence of what we are in God’s design and what we need to be as witnesses to the existence of the Spirit in the eyes of all who still ignore him.
Accept the Holy Spirit! Let Him, once and for all, finally double you in your stubbornness and pride.Pass control of your life to Him! You will not regret it!
Only you can ask for it. No one can do it instead. It’s simple. It is necessary. Is it urgent. And everything will change for the better. Believe and ask yourself, “Come, Holy Spirit!” Ask for it now. Do not leave for tomorrow the gift that God has reserved for you today.
“He (the Holy Spirit) will teach you everything and remind you of everything I have said to you” (Jn 14:26).
A fraternal hug.