When I was in college, there was a program, popular in parishes and other settings, called “Life in the Spirit Seminars.” It was largely a program that encouraged people to participate in the charismatic renewal by highlighting the importance of a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and the reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the New Testament by Saint Paul. The culmination of the program was to be “baptized in the spirit.”
While the basic message was fine, namely that we need to recognize the Holy Spirit in our lives, for some it led to a mistaken belief that somehow the baptism we received sacramentally was lacking, or less than, this “baptism in the spirit.”
While there are two baptisms mentioned in the New Testament, the contrast is between the baptism of John and the sacramental baptism of the Church which we still celebrate today. The true baptism in the Spirit is the sacramental baptism we celebrated when we were made members of the Church, and not the climax of a particular program in a parish.
Yet there is an important insight raised by the Life in the Spirit seminars that cannot be overlooked. Namely, it is the awareness that our lives of faith, and our baptism which led to that life of faith is an action of the Trinity. We are called to this powerful relationship with the Triune God.
When each of us was baptized, it was an action of the Trinity which baptized. This is reflected in the formula used for baptism. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
This time between the celebration of the Lord’s Ascension and Pentecost is a perfect time to ask yourself, “What is my relationship with the Spirit? And what gifts do I have in my life that are freely given in grace that I must use to be a disciple of Jesus?”
Let us pray.
Dear Jesus, Our baptism was an act of love by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost, send an outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Music: Cheezy Piano Medley by Alexander Nakarada
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