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24 May 2015
posted by Canon Dakin on 27-05-2015


During the week leading up to this feast of Pentecost the prayer of the Church has been full of references to the Holy Spirit. On Tuesday, for instance, the prayer at Mass was this: ’God of power and mercy, grant that when the Holy Spirit comes, he may dwell in us and make us a temple filled with his glory’.        

    So when did the Holy Spirit come to you? You are going to say: ‘At my Confirmation’?  Until you were confirmed, then,  the Holy Spirit was not a presence in your life? Don’t believe it. We have exaggerated Confirmation because we have taken it out of context.  Confirmaton is not your being firmed up to take hard knocks. It is the confirmation of your baptism.                    

   The sacraments have got out of sync.  In early days baptisms took place in the cathedral at the Easter Vigil. The person who had been baptised by a priest was taken immediately to the bishop who confirmed the baptism by anointing with oil. As Christianity spread and parishes were far from the cathedral city confirmation was delayed until a bishop could visit and so became detached from baptism. The Holy Spirit is the engineer of the change signified by baptism when we entered into a new relationship with God. Because of the unity of the Bl.Trinity that relationship is - must be - with all three persons. As we share the relationshp of Jeus to his Father so we share his relationship to the Spirit.  It is through the Spirit that we are empowered to live on his plane, to love like him, so fulfilling Our lord’s commandment - Love one another as I have loved you.

You might have been asked the question, some years ago, ‘Hzve you been baptised in the Spirit’? It became a popular question within the charismatic movement. It was badly phrased and quite misleading. It referred to the emotionsl response which some people experienced in prayer   When I am watching Songs of Praise and a Gospel Choir takes the stage I am not impressed by the swaying and stamping, arms raisecd and waving. It turns me off.  It’s not me.  Some people speak in tongues. There are many gifts of the Spirit to fit diffeeent personalities. St Paul tells us hat they are all worthless unless informed by love, God’s great gift to all. How do you describe God? Our Lord used only one word: Love. Love is the relationship between the Three Persons which makes God what God is. By baptism we are inserted into that rel;atonship. Any human achievement is just dross unless motivated by love. It doesn’t matter how humble you are, how insignificant in wordly terms is what you do, it becomes pure gold if offered to God with love.  We are able to do that only through cooperation with the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts, through our acceptance of his prompting and his assistance. ‘Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.’.

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