Finding the Holy Spirit in life’s quiet moments

April 25, 2017

The first person of the Trinity mentioned by name in Sacred Scripture is the Holy Spirit. We read that in the beginning, before the world had form or shape, there was a “mighty wind sweeping over the waters” (Genesis 1:2).

The Hebrew word translated here as: “mighty wind,” is ruah; literally it means “spirit” or “breath.” Truly the Spirit of the Lord, is a mighty wind; He is described in just the same way in the Acts of the Apostles when He descends upon those gathered in the upper room (Acts 2:2).

Before the creative Word of God was spoken by the mouth of the Father, the Spirit of the Lord was “sweeping” over the waters. While sweeping is an adequate rendition, a more perfect translation of the Hebrew: rachaph, is “trembling.”

Recall to mind a moment in your life when you were eagerly awaiting something you knew was going to change your world for the better. Perhaps it was the moment before a first date or the seconds before opening a college acceptance letter.

In these quiet yet powerful moments, we tremble with the excitement of what is to come. Before God created the world, the Spirit was trembling with excitement for all the great things that would come once the words “let there be” were spoken.

This holy trembling is how the Spirit still works in the Church today. The Sacrament of Baptism is a true fulfillment of God’s promise in that Old Testament: “It shall come to pass that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 3:1). Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism becomes a bath which makes us holy (Catechism 1227).

The Spirit dwells within each member of the Body of Christ, and in the important spiritual moments of our life, He is there trembling with excitement as He did at the dawn of creation.

In our local Church of Galveston-Houston, young people prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, in 10th or 11th grade. A common misconception is that Confirmation involves the candidate “confirming” that they want to live out their Catholic faith. It is essential that we as a Church remember it is God who acts in the Sacraments, not us. When a person receives Confirmation, they are not confirming, they are being confirmed, which comes from a Latin word meaning “to strengthen” or to “make firm.”

The power and presence of the Holy Spirit is strengthened in each of us as we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation helping us to become active members of the Church, which by her very nature is missionary (Catechism 849). The same Spirit at work in the creation of the world is the principle agent of our mission to sanctify and renew the world.

In the Rite of Confirmation, as the bishop anoints the candidate’s head, he speaks the words: “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In Latin to be sealed: signaculum, means both to “mark” and to “make known.” To truly fulfill our mission as baptized Christians, our lives must be marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit who trembles within us, but we must also make the Spirit known to the world through word and deed.

I challenge you to pray for a renewed openness to the power of the Holy Spirit in your own life, and ask you to remember the teens and adults of your parish who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this year. Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and renew the face of the earth!

Brian Henritze is an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.