One of the most mysterious and at the same time one of the most all present realities in our lives is the being we call ‘Holy Spirit’. We know by that term the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity but we often do not see the Spirit as a person like we see the Father and the Son, Jesus.
This is very counterproductive to our Spiritual journey since this companion which we call the Holy Spirit or formerly the Holy Ghost is the way God works with us and in us in an everyday kind of way.
By making this Someone a thing, we not only depersonalize the Holy Spirit, but we throw a monkey wrench into our spiritual life!
The Holy Spirit is at work everywhere in our Church and in our World!
In the Sacraments, there is one gesture that we often bypass in our consideration of the Holy Spirit: the imposition of the hands. We see this most powerful gesture as the central motion of the rite of Ordination to Holy Orders. Whether the individual is being ordained to the diaconate, priesthood or episcopacy, the transformation occurs when the Bishop or Bishops (in the ordination to the episcopacy the imposition of the hands is done by three bishops) impose hands in silence over the head of the man to be ordained. Through this sign, the Holy Spirit descends on him and completely reconfigures his being to conform him to Christ as head of the Church. That is why, once ordained a priest, even when removed from ministry, that man can still hear a Confession of a dying person in an emergency. Through Ordination, his very being has been permanently changed. That imposition of hands signifies the bestowal of the Holy Spirit; and it is the Holy Spirit that acts and transforms.
But most of the other Sacraments have the imposition of the hands of the minister of the Sacrament as the central gesture of the rite. It happens during the Anointing of the Sick as the priest prays for the healing of the person. Before the anointing with oil, there is the imposition of hands. Likewise, in the other Sacrament of healing, Confession, the priest says the Prayer of Absolution as he extends his hand over the penitent, which often happens unseen behind a screen. Most powerfully, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest imposes his hands over the bread and wine praying that the Holy Spirit transform these gifts into the Body and the Blood of the Lord. Even in Confirmation, the Bishop imposes hands over the confirmandi to bestow upon them the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Thus, you may see that the Holy Spirit not only descended on the Apostles and Our Lady on Pentecost in the Cenacle to found the Church, but that the Person of the Holy Spirit is the Person that makes the Sacraments powerfully effective in the Church.
All this does not happen merely by the presence of an inanimate flame or wind. It is a Person that does all this, a Person that Jesus Himself said He would send to accomplish what resulted from His own death and resurrection through the Father’s love.
This opens up many spiritual possibilities, chief among them is that we can have a relationship with the Spirit. This relationship can, and should, be personal and intimate. The Spirit not only is in front of us (so to speak), but by a unique property of the Spirit can penetrate within us. Mysteriously, the Spirit can move within us. Some of the words we use regarding the Spirit point in this direction: The Spirit prompts us, subtly insinuating Its presence within us. The Spirit can be saddened and therefore has emotions and feelings and is responsive to our engagement.
What a tragedy it would be if we ignored this Person who is so invested in our lives. Unlike the evil spirits that seek to possess and control the being they enter, the Holy Spirit of God is respectful of our freedom and does not do the good in us unless we give It permission.
It is never too late to begin a conscious and transforming relationship with the Spirit we call Holy!