Denis POINAS, deacon of the Catholic Church, encourages us to welcome the Holy Spirit, that intimate other self of God and Jesus, into our personal and couple’s lives every day. But how does the Holy Spirit do this?
Denis POINAS, CANA International
Every day in the CANA sessions, we start the morning prayer with: “God, open my lips… help me, Lord, help us… Yes, we need God’s help all the time, for without Him we are like lost sheep seeking our way. The Holy Spirit is that intimate of God and of Jesus who constantly leads us back to the Way.
But how does the Holy Spirit do this?
The Holy Spirit enlightens us
He tells us who the Father and the Son are. He enlightens our understanding to know God and Jesus. He reveals the Son to us. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
Paul VI writes that the Holy Spirit explains the deep meaning of Jesus’ teaching.
We can have an intellectual knowledge of God and Jesus – and that is good – but we are called to know with our heart by entering into his intimacy. Jesus is no longer distant but becomes close, as a companion, a friend. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
The Holy Spirit brings us into the intimacy of God’s relationship with his Son by placing us in the midst of their exchange, their relationship.
The Holy Spirit increases our desire to change
He makes us want a better life. Satan, on the other hand, says to us: “You see, you cannot change and attain holiness. You keep falling back into your sin”.
The Holy Spirit tells us: “You can change. You can be like Jesus. You can be converted.” The Holy Spirit is dynamism and strength, and He fights with us against those headwinds of discouragement, sadness, worry and everything that drags us down.
He also pushes the enemy away from us, and in battle we must invoke the Holy Spirit by saying: “Holy Spirit, come and help our couple, our family, our friends, our country…”.
The Holy Spirit advises us
The Holy Spirit is a wonderful counsellor who enlightens our decisions, not only the big ones, but all the everyday ones that we often make without realising it.
Cardinal BARBARIN, former Archbishop of Lyon, testified to young people: “The first thing I do when I get up is to sit on the edge of my bed and say: ‘Holy Spirit, come and guide my day’.” It takes two seconds, whereas sometimes you grab your phone to check the night’s messages. CANA has only one objective: to make us holy couples and holy families, and that means listening to the advice of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives us his gifts
His gifts are like tools to build us and the Church. They are found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and 28-31, Ephesians 4:7-11 and are summarised in the Catholic Church as seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, godliness, fear of God.
The Holy Spirit is recognised as Love – Peace – Joy.
The Holy Spirit makes us brothers and sisters
Fellowship and fraternal life are at the heart of CANA. In couples we experience that our exchanges in truth build us up and the body of the Church. An immediate fruit of Pentecost is fraternal life.
We often hear it said that the experience that founded the community of the first Christians is something inaccessible and reserved for the first Christians. No, Pentecost is an everyday event, because it is the Holy Spirit who works with us and builds our unity as a couple and among ourselves.
In Acts 2:42-47, we find everything that makes up our call as baptised people and as spouses, where we are invited to be faithful to:
– The teaching of the apostles – a call to be formed as disciples
– The fellowship – a call to live as brothers and sisters
– The breaking of bread – a call to live the Eucharist
– Prayers – a call to pray personally and as a couple.
The Holy Spirit makes us couples who bear witness
One heart and one soul. What evangelises foremost is the love we have for one another: “See how they love one another”. It is the testimony without words that is so important, where the Lord does his work without noise.
There is the witness in word, so important and often more difficult, which gives an account of the hope that is in us (First Letter of Peter 3:15). The Holy Spirit, says Paul VI, “acts in each evangeliser and puts into his mouth the words that he could not find on his own, and makes the person who listens open and welcoming to the Good News.