THE HOLY SPIRIT AS POWER
PRAYING FOR A NEW PENTECOST
THE HOLY SPIRIT AS POWER
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
We speak of the Holy Spirit in many different ways: as Love, as Gift,
as the Paraclete, as the Advocate. All of these titles are biblical
and identify some of the profound attributes of the Spirit promised
by Christ before his Ascension into Heaven. But there is one that we
especially need to recognize today and that is the Spirit as Power.
What does this Spirit as Power really mean? Let us analyze it in the
Gifts of the Holy Spirit which pertain to the will.
Piety as a gift of the Holy Spirit aids and supplements the virtue of
justice. This gift corresponds to the virtue of justice, making us
prompt to act by disposing us to show reverence for God as a most
loving Father and for all human beings as children of God.
Consequently, this virtue of piety corresponds to the instinct we
have and the virtue we should practice toward our natural parents,
and the respect and reverence for God precisely as the Creator. This
gift of piety, raised to the supernatural order, inclines us to not
only worship God but to honor His children who are related to us by
grace. It inclines us to consider others not as competitors in the
struggle of life, but coequals under God, our common Maker, regarding
them as our brothers and sisters through the saving merits of
Christ's Passion. Fortitude as a gift perfects the virtue of
fortitude. It adds to the virtue of courage the important commodity
of enabling us to carry to successful conclusion the most difficult
tasks that are undertaken in the service of God. There are two forms
of courage implied in this gift of fortitude: the gift to undertake
arduous tasks and the gift to endure long and trying difficulties for
the divine glory. A commendable type of courage anticipates grave
obstacles while undertaking a course of action or a state of life or
a new venture in the spiritual life or any apostolate, but the
obstacles, vaguely foreseen, are faced with a quiet trust in
Providence that inspires willingness to suffer in the prosecution of
the plan. Another form or courage augments this dauntless spirit and
continues what someone else initiated and-finding oneself weary from
unexpected trials, persecution and external failure-it still
continues on to the end. When Christ died on the Cross it seemed an
external failure. Faith alone tells us it was the greatest internal
success of all human history. Both of these types of courage are
necessary for salvation and certainly for sanctification.
Fear of the Lord, the third gift of the Spirit as Power, strengthens
the virtue of hope. It impels us to a profound respect for the
majesty of God. Its correlative effects are to protect us from sin
through dread of offending the Lord and by giving us strong
confidence in the power of God's help. In filial fear, which is
selfless, we dread to offend God, Whom we love. This is a sense in
which the highest love of God is compatible with the fear of the
Christ promised not only His disciples, but us, that we would receive
"power when the Holy Spirit comes on you." This power is not only for
ourselves but for others that we, being strengthened, might witness
to Him Who strengthens us. When Christ said, "You will be my
witnesses," St. Luke, writing in Greek, used another word-"You will
be my martyrs." We are bidden to witness as martyrs. How? By the way
we live, which is the most eloquent witness we can offer.
One of the problems today is that some Catholic families are being
estranged from the Faith by their own priests. The cavalier way in
which some priests deal with the liturgy, their indifference to the
Church's doctrine on faith and morals, and even their open hostility
to the Vicar of Christ have estranged many of the faithful. Not a few
have taken refuge with the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre. It is
imperative that these people be reunited with the Vicar of Christ. We
must pray. But we should also put them into contact with priests who
are loyal to our Catholic heritage. A practical recommendation: write
to Father C. Frank Phillips, C.R, Pastor at St. John Cantius Church
in Chicago. His address is 825 N. Carpenter Street, Chicago, IL
There should be some sort of outreaching by all of us that others
will glorify God and come to know Christ not only by seeing us as
persons, but by whatever means or instrumentalities are at our
disposal. We are to witness by who we are, by what we say, and also
by our suffering. This is where the word martyr is so critical. We
are expected to suffer for our faith if we wish to witness to Christ.
The graces are there. By prior definition, such a gift benefits the
one to whom it is given only if he appropriates and uses it. The
problem with most of us is not that we don't have enough graces or
gifts- though God knows we always need more- the real problem is to
put to use the graces we have already been given.
What good are all the treasures of heaven which Christ has conferred
on us-His most beloved children and people of God-unless we use them?
Here lies the difference between those who are good Christians but
remain until death in mediocrity and those who strive for, and reach,
sanctity. It is up to us! And, strange as it may seem, when God sees
we appreciate the grace we have by using it, He gives us more. This
is the secret of holiness-using the gifts that God gives in order
that, having received, we may glorify the Giver.
Father Hardon, a noted theologian, is the author of The Catholic
Catechism and The Catholic Family in the Modern World. He currently
resides at the University of Detroit.
This article was taken from the Pentecost 1994 issue of "The Catholic
Home Educator". To subscribe send $12.00 to The Catholic Home
Educator, P.O. Box 420225, San Diego, CA 92142.
The electronic form of this document is copyrighted.
Copyright (c) Trinity Communications 1995.
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PRAYING FOR A NEW PENTECOST
(Bible Prayers for the Coming of the Holy Spirit)
By Father Al Lauer
Abridged by EWTN Online Services
About a hundred years ago, Pope Leo XIII was inspired to call every
Catholic Church in the world to pray for nine days for the coming of
the Spirit. We pray this novena from the feast of Ascension to Pen-
tecost each year. Pope John Paul II has reiterated Pope Leo's call
to pray for the coming of the Spirit.
THIRSTING FOR THE SPIRIT
Father, I repent of stifling the Spirit (1 Thes 5:19) by giving in
to selfish desires. May I let the Spirit lust against the desires
of the flesh (Gal 5:17) so that I thirst much more strongly for the
Holy Spirit (Jn 7:37).
RENEWING OUR CONFIRMATION
Father, stir into flame the gift bestowed when hands were laid on
me (2 Tim 1:6).
LIFE-STYLE IN THE SPIRIT
Father, by the power of the Spirit, may I devote myself "to the
apostles" instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of
bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).
WITNESSING FOR JESUS
Jesus, the Holy Spirit bears witness on Your behalf. May I bear
witness as well (Jn 15:26-27) right where I am and even to the
ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
ONLY BY THE SPIRIT
Father, without the Spirit I cannot please You (Rom 8:8-9). Not
by my might or power but only by the Spirit can I live for You
(Zech 4:6). Come, Holy Spirit!
"RENEW THE FACE OF THE EARTH"
Lord, as the Spirit moved over the waters on the day of creation
(Gn 1:1), breathe on me to receive the Spirit (Jn 20:22), send
forth the Spirit and renew the face of the earth (Ps 104:30).
"CRUCIFIED TO THE WORLD"
Holy Spirit, take me in prayer to the foot of Jesus' cross. Reveal
to me how I shared in crucifying Jesus through my sins. Crucify me
to the ways of the world and the world to me (Gal 6:14). Crucify
my flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24). (This prayer is
based on Pope John Paul II's encyclical on the Holy Spirit.)
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Holy Spirit, through Your gifts produce Your fruit in my life. Give
me "love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith,
mildness, and chastity" (Gal5:22-23).
Spirit of Truth, make me true and faithful in all my relationships
-- in family, church, and work (Jn 16:13). Be the Source of unity
in my life (Eph 4:3).
PRAYER TO BE A NEW PERSON
Father, may the Spirit of the Lord rush upon me and may I be changed
into another person (1 Sam 10:6).
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND MARY
Jesus, thank You for giving Mary to me as my mother (Jn 19:27).
Mary, Spouse of the Spirit (Lk 1:35), as you prayed in the upper
room for the first Pentecost, pray for me now (Acts 1:14). "Let
it be done to me" according to God's word (Lk 1:38).
GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
The Bible contains five major lists of gifts given by the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 11 -- RENEWAL GIFTS
6. Fear of the Lord
Romans 12 -- UNITY GIFTS
11. Exhortation (Encouragement)
1 Corinthians 12:8ff -- GROWTH GIFTS
Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith
16. Miracles, Prophecy
17. Discernment of Spirits
18. Tongues (Praise)
19. Interpretation of Tongues
1 Corinthians 12:28ff -- GROWTH GIFTS
20. Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Miracle-workers, Healers
22. Administrators, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues
Ephesians 4:11 -- EQUIPPING GIFTS
23. Evangelists (Preachers)
24. Pastor-teachers (Shepherds)
Others -- POWER GIFTS
25. Deliverance --Acts 19:15
26. Redemptive Suffering (Martyrdom) --Acts 7:6
27. Celibacy --Matthew 19:11; 1 Corinthians 7:1
28. Gospel poverty --Mark 10:21
29. Intercession --1 Timothy 5:5
30. Hospitality --1 Timothy 3:2
Father, I ask to be freed from doubt (Jas 1:5-6). Then I ask You for
wisdom to apply Your revelation to my everyday life.
Father, spare us and have mercy on us by making us an "understanding
people" (Is 27:11).
Father, give me counsel to evangelize my city and to stop abortion,
pornography, sexual perversion, racism, and starvation.
Father, may I grow strong in my "holy faith through prayer in the
Holy Spirit" (Jude 20). May I not be timid but strong, loving, and
wise (2 Tim 1:7).
Father, may the earth "be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water
covers the sea" (Is 11:9).
6. FEAR OF THE LORD (PIETY)
Father, let a reverent fear," overtake me (Acts 2:43) and may I "make
steady progress in the fear of the Lord" (Acts 9:31).
Father, give us "confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and
conviction about things we do not see" (Heb 11:1).
Jesus, may I follow in Your footsteps by washing others' feet (see
Father, raise up teachers who are zealous, orthodox, and evangelistic.
11. EXHORTATION (ENCOURAGEMENT)
"God, the source of all patience and encouragement," enable me "to
live in perfect harmony" and to derive hope from "the words of
encouragement in the Scriptures" (Rom 15:4-5).
Father, You love me so much that You gave up Your Son to die on the
cross for me (Jn 3:16). I give all to You.
Father, may I accept the gift of leadership, even if I don't want it.
Father, may mercy triumph over judgment in my life (Jas 2:13).
1 CORINTHIANS 12:8ff
17. DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS
Father, raise up Christians to discern the spirit behind prophecies,
world events, trends, and TV programs (1 Cor 12:10).
1 CORINTHIANS 12:28ff
Father, raise up hundreds of lay apostles in all the countries of
Jesus, give me Your heart for the leaders of the Church so I will
help them in any way I can.
Father, raise up faithful administrators of Your mysteries
(1 Cor 4:1-2).
23. EVANGELISTS (PREACHERS)
Jesus, may I want to share Your gospel more than I want to feel
pleasure and avoid pain.
24. PASTORS-TEACHERS (SHEPHERDS)
Father, appoint over us shepherds after Your own heart who will
shepherd us wisely and prudently (Jer 3:15).
PRAYERS FOR OTHER SPIRITUAL GIFTS
"St. Michael, the archangel, defend us in battle and be our protection
against the wickedness and snares of the devil. Rebuke him, O God...
(Prayer of St. Michael).
26. REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING (MARTYRDOM)
Jesus, teach me how to share in Your sufferings by being formed into
the pattern of Your death (Phil 3:10).
Lord, Your love is greater than life, marriage, or sex (Ps 63:4).
28. GOSPEL POVERTY
Jesus, if You tell me to sell what I have and give to the poor, may
I not walk away sad, but obey (Mk 10:21-22).
Father, at this time in world history, I believe the gift of
intercession is of special importance. May I intercede as much
Jesus, may I extend to others the supreme hospitality You show me in
There are hundreds of other gifts in addition to these,
and each Christian has several gifts of the Spirit. So we pray:
Father, distribute the gifts of the Spirit (Heb 2:4) in a lavish
(Titus 3:6), unrationed way (Jn 3:34). Father, do more than we can
ever ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20).
PRAYER FOR LOVE
Father, we know that the gifts of the Spirit will be of no benefit
(1 Cor 13:1-2) unless we love each other by laying down our lives for
each other (1 Jn 3:16). Give me Your love.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45211
Reproduced with permission.
Nihil Obstat: Rev. Robert J. Buschmiller June 19, 1992
Imprimatur: +James H. Garland. V.G. Archdiocese of Cincinnati,
June 23, 1992