Good and bad cop

Tele-evangelists have given the Holy Spirit a bad name. Often while invoking the power of the Spirit they also evoked a spirit of intolerance and fundamentalism. This is so contrary to the writings of early church saints like Basil and Ephrem who spoke with such eloquence of the role of the Spirit.

The gift of the Spirit

The book of Acts describes an interesting incident in the early church. The deacon Philip had made some converts in Samaria. Hearing this, the leading apostles, Peter and John, travelled down from Jerusalem to give him support. Discovering that the converts had received only the baptism of Jesus they prayed that the converts would also experience the gift of the Spirit. (Acts 9.1-17)

Being baptised in Christ makes one a member of the Christian family with all the privileges that brings: freedom, grace and forgiveness. But when Christ departed his friends he promised he’d leave them the gift of his own inner being, who is the Spirit. (Jn 15.26-16.21)

As a result, they’d never be alone. He would fill them with his Spirit of love; they would enjoy a deep intuitive understanding of the truth. Till he returned, they would be filled with courage when speaking of him and could be utterly assured of seeing him once more.

The Spirit does bestow power – but not a power to dominate and coerce. Rather it’s a power deep within that gently but irresistibly transforms men and woman into the image of God.

Father Neil Vaney

Next steps

This writing is based on the content of ‘What Catholics Believe’, Booklet 3, ‘Jesus Christ’ referencing page 20 – 21. Should you like to read more just click either of the links below to download ‘Booklet 3’ or the complete set of ‘What Catholics Believe’.