Grace to you!
Yesterday, I shared with you the incredible blessings we receive from the Lord at Confirmation. Today, I reflect specifically on the gifts that relate to the role of prophecy and evangelization.
When you read Saint Paul’s address to the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus (Acts 20:17-27), you would notice his obvious loyalty to the Holy Spirit. You would also observe his courageous commitment to bearing witness to the Gospel amidst the Spirit’s insight that he would face so many persecutions. Among the seven traditional gifs of the Holy Spirit is fortitude (courage). Saint Paul sure had an amazing gift of fortitude.
When the Lord instructed the disciples to wait until they received the Holy Spirit, he was to equip them to be effective witnesses of the Gospel (Acts 1:4-8). Effective bearing witness to the Risen Lord results from life inspired and renewed from within through the power of the Holy Spirit. Such a life, having been transformed from within, becomes a sort of Godly, holy music to the ears of others. Such a life shines the light of Christ, lighting up the darkness of the worldly, wherever they are found.
As the principal agent of evangelisation (Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75), the Holy Spirit gifts us to become dynamic evangelizers. Pope John Paul II teaches us that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the evangelizer, the witness, could fulfil the work of evangelisation (Catechesi Tradendae, 1).
Renewed from within through the Holy Spirit, the witness’ words and actions and even silence become a channel through which God is lived and communicated. The prophetic gifts are speech expressions of the gifts of God. The preacher, the teacher or the catechist who lives and communicates God’s Word is living this role of the prophetic ministry. Though ordained ministers live this call as part of their primary roles in Church leadership (hierarchic gift), every believer through Baptism is blessed to lead as prophets too. So, the Holy Spirit makes this prophetic role come alive in the believer.
On some occasions, as the need may arise, God gifts individuals with unique charisms of prophecy also. In such a case, they have an insight into things and speak in a manner in which God is glorified. This religious experience is for real. On rare occasions, it could be a unique charism of speech in terms of speaking in tongues that requires interpretations (1 Cor 14:27-33). Orderliness and proper interpretation were two guidelines Saint Paul provides to guide the use of this gift in the community of faith (see I Cor 14:30-33).
There is also what is called the gift of praying in tongues that I would like to highlight here too. Though many people look at this intercessory gift with suspicion, sometimes the Holy Spirit inspires such prayer of intercessions within the soul with groans we may not put into words. Scripture hints on how the Holy Spirit helps us in prayer. “Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Rm 8:26).
These expressions are not prophetic. They don’t belong to the gift of prophecy. Rather, they are intercessory, to aid the believer in their private prayer life. They are personal interventions of the Spirit, enabling a person with such gift in his or her prayer life.
How about during today’s Pentecost Novena, we pray that the Holy Spirit revive our commitments to be authentic witnesses of the Gospel through our actions and words. May the prophetic spirit and gift we received as baptized Christians come alive. May we also be gifted with the fervor of deep prayer life. Amen.
Pray: Come Holy Spirit, renew in me the apostolic zeal of bearing witness to Christ. Amen. Continue praying the Novena Come Holy Spirit.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Easter Week 7: Acts 20:17-27; Jn 17:1-11]
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.