The Unknown God: Nine Steps to Pentecost

Day Five

The Visitation. A tapestry from the 1400s. Photo taken by Lawrence OP and uploaded to Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Let’s learn to know the Holy Spirit better during these nine days before Pentecost. Here is the fifth step.

In Luke’s Gospel (Luke 1:39-52), we encounter two people who are filled with the Holy Spirit—before Pentecost. Mary is full of grace and Elizabeth, because she is filled with the Holy Spirit, cries out, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Similarly, Simeon is said to have had the Holy Spirit upon him (Luke 2:25) and the Holy Spirit falls upon Cornelius and his friends before they are baptized.

How does a person become filled with the Holy Spirit? The usual way is through Baptism and Confirmation. But as Jesus told Nicodemus “The wind blows where it wills.” (John 3:8)

Why didn’t the Holy Spirit descend on the Apostles at the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus? It might seem like it would have been better if he had come earlier. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, it would have been easier for them to understand Jesus. Father Tadeusz Dajczer thinks that the Holy Spirit waited because the Apostles didn’t have the necessary capacity at first. They were not poor in spirit. Until they realized that they needed everything from God, they weren’t open enough to receive the Holy Spirit. If we aren’t open, the graces of the Sacraments lie sleeping within us.

Do you want to have your own Visitation experience? Then cry out, “Who am I that the Spirit of the Lord should come to me?”

The fifth day of a novena to the Holy Spirit:

My spirit rejoices in God my Savior…He has lifted up the lowly. (Luke 1:47,52b)

Come, Holy Spirit, and grant me poverty of spirit so that I am able to receive everything from you. Amen.