THE HELPER YOUDIDN’T KNOW YOU HAVE! REFLECTION FOR THE FEAST OF PENTECOST Rev. Fr. Bonnie Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

Pentecost, Holy Spirit, Christianity, Christian, Church

No matter how strong and self-sufficing you might appear, you would, at some demanding moments, seek someone’s help or assistance. Help is a facility we constantly need. God seems to have given us two hands, one to help others and the other to help ourselves.

Adam, the first human on earth, was at that point of need. Recall that God pitied him and said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 2:18). Thus, the primary purpose of creating Eve was to be a help to Adam. So, we can say that the first recorded human need was for a helper.

David looked up the hills in the peak of his trials and asked, “from where does my help come? He goes on to answer, “my help comes from the Lord who made the heaven and the earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2). Again, in Psalm (46:1), he says that God is an ever-present help in trouble.

Re-introducing the Holy Spirit.

We have taken some time to explore the subject of help because it directly relates to the Holy Spirit we celebrate on Pentecost Sunday. First, it is important to reaffirm that the Holy Spirit is not a thing or a type of elemental Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a person, the third person of the Trinity. That means the Holy Spirit is God.

Unfortunately, most people have not fully explored the personality, power, and purpose of the Holy Spirit. And this confirms the words of our Lord Jesus Christ that “the world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him” (John 14:17).

We come to know that Holy Spirit more intimately through the words of Jesus Christ at the end of his earthly mission. Jesus began by letting his disciples know that he would send another Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to be with them forever (John 14:16).

The Greek rendering of the word advocate is paraclete, and it means one who speaks for another, a counselor, or more functionally a helper. Thus, when Jesus mentioned another advocate, he suggested another helper whose actions would aid us on earth just as he (our Lord) advocates for us before the Father in heaven (1John 2:1).

The Helper in our Christian Journey

The Christian life is impossible and impracticable without the help of the Holy Spirit. You could recall that our Lord Jesus Christ told the disciples not to depart Jerusalem until they receive Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). Here we notice that the disciples would need the Holy Spirit’s help before they could function in the work of evangelizing the world.

The Holy Spirit Helps us to Pray.

Prayer is the channel through which we communicate, build, and maintain a relationship with God. Since God is Spirit, our prayer to Him must be spiritually animated. For this reason, St. Paul advised the Ephesians to pray always in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18).

To pray in the Spirit, we need the Holy Spirit. The Letter to the Romans (8:26) tells us that the Spirit helps us in our weakness when we do not know what to pray for and the best manner to channel our prayers. Any prayer said outside the ambiance of the Holy Spirit is just a lips service (Matt. 15:8).

The Holy Spirit Helps us to live right.

There are two ways to live: in the flesh or the Spirit. To live, as used here, means to dwell in the flesh or the Spirit. Here we recall the instruction of St. Paul to the Galatians (5:16) that says, “live in the Spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The Letter to the Romans (8:7-8) says, “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law and cannot. And those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Hear this; righteousness does not mean always praying and looking calm. Righteousness is a way of life that involves constantly making the right choices in our words and actions. Righteousness does not just happen; the Holy Spirit helps us to make the right choices because He knows the mind of God.

The Holy Spirit helps us to learn.

Good students are products of good teachers. Thus, an important pedagogical function of the Holy Spirit as a teacher is to guide us to the truth (John 16:13). Another is to give us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding (Isaiah 11:2). In fact, Jesus said: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26).

Moving Forward!

Life without the Helper, the Holy Spirit is a disaster. The Holy Spirit is the Helper we need in this journey called life. So often, we keep some things in our homes that we do not use. Some people are struggling through life trying to change certain realities using their physical and mental strength when they only need the supportive presence of the Helper.

The Holy Spirit would not break into our lives to help us; we need to invite Him. You could recall that the disciples provided the platform before the Holy Spirit showed up on the day of Pentecost. First, they were together in one place (Acts 1:1ff). Unity is one of the preconditions for the coming of the Holy. The second precondition is prayer, and it follows the first. Being together in prayer is a great attraction for the Holy Spirit.

As we celebrate the great Helper, let us continue to be attentive, docile, and accepting of his promptings and presence in our lives. May the power of the Holy Spirit abide with you always, and may God bless you.  

Fr. Bonnie

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