Pentecost Sunday (Fr. Simham)

by | Jun 3, 2022

Holy Spirit the Sanctifier

Today is the day of the Holy Spirit. There are so many ways in which we refer to this third person of the Trinity. We call Him as the spirit of the Father, Lord and giver of life, Advocate, counselor, Spirit of truth and so on. With all these names, one important suffix with which he is referred to is called ‘the sanctifier’. Holy Spirit is the sanctifier. If God the Father is the creator, and God the Son is the Redeemer, then, God the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. Today I want to reflect together with you and see what this ‘sanctification’ means. Or ‘What do we mean when we say that the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier?’

First of all let us understand what sanctification means. Or what does it mean to sanctify? “Sanctification” or ‘sanctify’ comes from two Latin words: sanctus which means holy, and ficare which means make. So to sanctify means to make holy. And when we say that the Holy Spirit is the sanctifier, what we mean is that ‘the Holy Spirit is the one who makes us holy.’ Hang on! Then what does Jesus do? Is he not the one who redeemed us? Is he not the one who shed his precious blood for us and delivered us from the power of sin and death through his own passion and death. Yes, No doubt about it. But it is the Holy Spirit who makes this salvation available to us and to the nations. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to make this salvation our own. He does this through the ministry of the church whose birthday we celebrate today and through his own indwelling. Let me explain.

Now, what do we mean when we say that the Holy Spirit sanctifies us through the Ministry of the Church. What we mean is that, it is the Holy Spirit who is the soul and heart of the church. It is he who guides the church. It is he who is active in the church’s ministry of the proclamation of the word of God. It is the Holy Spirit that gave the courage and wisdom to the Apostles to go out and preach. It is the same Holy Spirit that enabled the people who were listening to the Apostles to understand what they were hearing in their own languages. Look at the first reading and see how the people wonder and say, “How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, people of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia ………..; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.” How is it possible? It is the Holy Spirit that enabled them. Remember the word of Jesus in the gospel too. “I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now. But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will lead you to the complete truth.” As if to say ‘Now you cannot understand many things but when the Holy Spirit comes he will help you to understand everything.’ So men down the ages were able to preach the word of God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In fact the scriptures themselves were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And it is this word through which we are sanctified. Jesus says in St. John’s gospel, “you are cleaned already by means of the word.”

And secondly, the Holy Spirit sanctifies us in the Church through the ministry of the Sacraments. Sacraments are the channels of grace through which we are sanctified at each and every stage of our life. Baptism when we are infants, Communion when we are around ten (age of reason), Confirmation when we are fourteen, Marriage or priesthood when we are adult, confession whenever we want it from the age of reason, and Anointing of the sick when we feel that we are at the evening of our life. So at each and every stage of our life there is sacramental grace offered to you and me for our sanctification. And Holy Spirit is the dominant person in all these sacraments. He is the one who sanctifies us through the sacraments.

And finally, he sanctifies us through his own indwelling. By virtue of Baptism, we are made as the temples of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. He acts as the voice of God in our conscience directing us towards the truth and goodness. He also acts as the power and strength of God in us enabling us to bear spiritual fruits in abundance. St. Paul says to Galatians in the second reading “What the spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These are the fruits of the spirit. Anyone who is lead by the Spirit dwelling in his heart will bear these fruits. And these fruits are the signs of the sanctified person. They say “You know the tree by its fruit.” So also we know our sanctity by the fruits we bear.

So, today under this special aspect of Sanctifier, then, let us to invoke the Holy Spirit and say (“Altissimi donum Dei, fons vivus, ignis, caritas et spiritalis unctio,”) I.e gift of the Most High God, gift given to our souls to lead them to sanctity; living fount of grace, fire, divine love, spiritual sweetness. Come. And again( Septiformis munere, digitus paternae dexterae,) dispenser of the seven gifts by which You make our spiritual life perfect, finger of the right hand of the Father which indicates to us the road of sanctity. Come and fill us today. With great joy, love and desire let us invoke the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier! today and everyday. Amen.

Fr. Showreelu Simham