unpacking the Spirit


Lately, I've been traveling frequently. I barely have enough time to unpack and re-pack before I am headed to the airport again. My head is spinning with the loads of laundry and rotating suitcases, trying to remember where I am going and what I need for the journey.

With an on-the-go lifestyle, a novena to the Holy Spirit in preparation for Pentecost kept me focused on what I needed for the day ahead. The following daily consecration prayer to the Holy Spirit fed me as I anticipated Pentecost:

On my knees I before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant is listening." Amen.

A daily act of the will to be set apart for the Holy Spirit to come and do what he does is what has kept me going strong lately amidst physical weariness. Every day he invades my soul, fills it with grace, and infuses me with his gifts.

In rereading the Acts of the Apostles through the Easter season, I am more convinced than ever that furthering God's Kingdom on earth depends on the body of Christ setting themselves apart for the Holy Spirit. As the sons and daughters of God expose their mind, body, and soul to the fire of the Holy Spirit, the world will come to know our Advocate, our Helper, our Counselor.

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17

The world sees the Spirit in you, as you let the Holy Spirit release himself within you and through you. Now is not the time to practice a false sense of humility denying that you have gifts or doubting that the Spirit will do anything through you.

"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." John 14:12-14


The Holy Spirit wants to do greater things through you.

He seeks to edify your soul and draw others to the heart of Jesus through the spiritual gifts he gives you. They can only be used for good. Therefore, it is a selfless act of the will to submit yourself to the Holy Spirit and let him be manifested in and through you.

How will you build up the body of Christ?

Spend some time with the following passages to familiarize yourself with the full spectrum of the Holy Spirit's outpouring over the people of God.

  • Isaiah 11:1-3 - Isaiah prophesies the spiritual gifts that Jesus will bring into the world.

  • Acts 2:1-12 - The Holy Spirit descends on the Apostles at Pentecost.

  • Romans 12:1-7 - St. Paul explains a variety of gifts in the Spirit, and how we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God.

  • 1 Corinthians 12 - St. Paul describes more of the spiritual gifts.

  • Ephesians 4:11-13 - St. Paul reminds us of how Christ builds up the Church in unity through the spiritual gifts to equip us to spread the Gospel.

My friend Janean uses her spiritual charism of hospitality frequently as she welcomes people into her AirBnb. She decorates the apartment according to whatever the guests are celebrating, and meticulously cares for every detail to make her guests feel welcome. She gives generously of her charism to allow others to feel a sense of love and belonging when they're away from home. Her actions say, "You are not a stranger, you are cared for and worthy of my time and energy."

Cullen, a creative and inspiring woman, exudes the charism of encouragement. She frequently builds me up in the pursuit of my dreams, reminds me that God is at work, and affirms particular characteristics needed to accomplish the goal at hand. Her charism of encouragement breathes courage and perseverance into my soul. As a wife, mother, daughter, and friend to many, I can't even count how many souls she is lifting up on a daily basis.

My father utilizes the charisms of craftsmanship and service all the time. He does not hesitate to go the extra mile to build something, fix things, or find a solution to our entire family's daily problems. If something is broken, he fixes it. Despite a cross country distance between us, he will call ahead and find someone to fix things for me, that's how open he is to letting the Holy Spirit move through him to serve others. Nothing stands in the way for him, inconvenience is not in his vocabulary. He delights in sacrificing for others particularly through craftsmanship and service, and his spiritual gifts deeply impact the recipients.

What are the spiritual gifts/charisms that the Holy Spirit has given you? 

If you're not sure, spend some time praying with the Scripture passages above, and ask the Holy Spirit to release a greater portion of the gifts that resonate with you.

Some of the spiritual gifts I have received are prophecy, speaking in tongues, and leadership. One I never expected to "claim" was music.

About five years ago, a woman at my parish told me she thought I had the charism of music. I chuckled and responded, "That's impossible. I don't play an instrument." She responded, "Your voice. Your voice is your instrument in worship. Start praying about it and ask the Holy Spirit to either confirm or deny it for you." I prayed. Over the next few months, random people affirmed me for my singing in Mass. Before I knew it, someone volunteered me for a worship team. And now, one of the greatest joys God gives me is leading my brothers and sisters in worship. There's nothing like it. I feel the fire of the Holy Spirit burn within me, and I see the Holy Spirit raise the people of God to a fullness of life in praise.

Never doubt the power of the Holy Spirit to come alive in you. Pray frequently for an outpouring of his gifts, and practice the ones you have! As you use them, they will grow, and the body of Christ will be strengthened.

Holy Spirit, come with a fire!