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  My Witness

Vol. 8, No. 2, April, 2003

The Holy Spirit -- Agent of Evangelization, Part 7
by Sr. Brigid Meierotto, S.N.C.

Sister Brigid "Evangelization will never be possible without the action of the Holy Spirit" (Pope Paul VI, Evangelization in the Modern World, par. 75).

We have come to the last message of this series on the Holy Spirit, basically through the Word of God, the bible, which is the turf of the Holy Spirit himself. It is in knowing him, having fellowship with him, that you are moved with zeal to carry out his work, to evangelize, to bring the Good News of Jesus to every person you meet.

You have met the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Power, of Glory, of Holiness, of Love in this series. Now, we come to meet him as the Spirit of Life.

In our society, when we speak of life we think of someone having power. By power we mean having control over, being able to dominate, and maybe even destroy. It is not this way with the Spirit of power. The power of the Holy Spirit is creative because it brings to life and destroys death.

When Jesus died, he gave up his spirit into the Father's hands. The Father flooded him, begot him, with the Holy Spirit, and with Jesus' triumph and victory over death, evil, sin - the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the world, making the new creation (2 Cor. 5: 17):

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come."
Nothing will ever be the same again. The begetting of the Son in this world, in the full power of the Spirit, is the summation of the work of creation from the beginning to the final resurrection of the dead. In this action of the Spirit in Jesus Christ and in his passover, the Spirit is the universal source of being and of life (Ro. 8:2).

Look at the very beginning of the bible (Gen. 1:2). The Spirit is shown as creation and life. The Spirit and the Word act together - in verse 3, God said, let there be light.

Breath is the symbol of life. The world, called into existence by divine Breath, has life in it. God breathed into Adam's nostrils a breath of life, and man became a living being (Gen. 2:7).

This Breath of life passes over the whole earth (Ps. 104:30). All creation has life and is sacred. God creating the world is already a Pentecost, a first and permanent outpouring of the Spirit of life.

I invite you to take the time to read Ezekiel 37:1-14. The Spirit entering into the dry bones is a powerful and moving image of the Spirit giving life where life was impossible to have.

Early in this series I talked about water as one of the biblical symbols for the Holy Spirit. Water is a strong symbol for the Spirit of life. During the escape from slavery in Egypt, God provided living water for his people. When their kingdom fell and they were in exile in Babylon, God promised them, not only water, but a new spirit (Ez. 36:25-27).

Because the Spirit is divine water, the prophets said that the Spirit will be poured out (Is. 32:15; 44:3; Joel 3:1f; Zech. 12:10). Joel prophesies:

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; you sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions."
In Ezekiel 47:1, a stream comes from under the Temple, because it is from within God that the Spirit is poured on the people. And, the Spirit of Life will not be reserved for only a few select persons, but will be poured out on everyone!

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of life, desires that everyone enter into the salvation of Jesus and live, not die, not be lost, but live life to the fullest. For this to happen one needs to accept that your baptism in Jesus Christ places upon you the mission of evangelization. As you know, you have an excellent Agent, the Holy Spirit! So, be docile to him, follow his lead, prepare yourself for carrying out his work. You want to be as effective as you can be, so a serious preparation is needed, as Pope Paul VI pointed out in paragraph 73 of Evangelization in the Modern World.

With the Holy Spirit as your Agent, you will be a zealous and effective evangelizer! Jesus reminds us all in Acts 1:8:

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth."

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