Then Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, uttered this prophecy: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and ransomed his people…And you, child, shall be called a prophet of the Most High; for you shall go before the Lord to prepare straight paths for him, giving his people a knowledge of salvation in freedom from their sins. All this is the work of the kindness of our God: he, the Dayspring, shall visit us in his mercy to shine on those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:67-79
Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit when he spoke the beautiful prophetic words in today’s Gospel, a song of praise known as the Benedictus. We, too, can be filled with the Holy Spirit, praising God with our whole beings. How? Well, because the Holy Spirit is a person, like the Father and the Son, we can have a relationship with the Holy Spirit just as we have a relationship with Jesus and with God the Father.
The Chosen People gradually came to understand, through the patriarchs and prophets, that there is only one God, and they waited for the Messiah, the Son of God. Finally, the Messiah, Jesus, came, and we celebrate His coming tomorrow on Christmas. When Jesus was leaving the earth, He promised to send an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who would teach us, comfort us, and guide us. So, God slowly taught us the Truth of the Trinity, one God – three divine persons – living in perfect unity.
They are all-knowing and all-powerful but, most of all, they are all-loving. Of course, the Holy Spirit did not just appear after Jesus went to heaven, for the Spirit spoke through the Old Testament Prophets and in many who lived before Jesus. It is just that we came to a fuller understanding of the Spirit living within us after that.
As in all relationships, we need to listen to, talk to, and understand a person in order to develop a close friendship. As we draw closer to a person, we understand what that person would like. When we love a person, we find joy in making that person happy. This is true with the Holy Spirit as well. We can listen to the Spirit in our hearts, listen to the Word of God, and be attentive to the Spirit’s presence in our lives. Just as with another human being, if we ignore someone’s presence and don’t hear what the person says, no good relationship will be formed or continue. We also need to share our lives with another if we are to develop an intimate relationship with someone. So, too, we need to speak honestly with the Holy Spirit in praise, in thanksgiving, and in petition.
As this relationship grows, we will find joy in pleasing the Holy Spirit; we will be bursting with love even in the most difficult times. We will know we are never alone but have someone who is all-wise and all-knowing and loving walking with us.
As the feast of Christmas breaks upon us, let us join in singing (at least in our hearts) the hymn of praise Zechariah broke into in today’s Gospel!
The Holy Spirit is our twenty-sixth Ornament of Grace.
Observing the Beautiful Ornaments
What are some ways you can remind yourself of the presence of the Holy Spirit?
St. Paul says… “ the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” What fruit are you bearing in your life?