I’m sure all of us had the experience of receiving a gift but not knowing what to do with it. You might exchange the gift and get something you actually want, or you might try to re-gift it to someone else. Maybe you just put it somewhere out of sight where you’ll never see it again and simply forget about it. Whether it’s exchanging it or forgetting about it, can we do the same thing with the gifts that we get from God? God gives us the gift of piety but we would rather exchange it for something else. We get the gift of fortitude but then never bother wanting to use it.
Today we celebrate Pentecost, the great celebration of the Holy Spirit coming down upon the apostles and giving life to the Church. It’s God’s greatest gift to his apostles – the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Bible assigns various titles to the Holy Spirit. He is the Consoler, the Paraclete, the Sanctifier, the Advocate, and a lot of these titles we can relate to. Being our Consoler, He brings us consolation and strength. Being the Sanctifier, He helps us to grow in holiness. But a title that I feel like we need to pay more attention to is the Holy Spirit as our Advocate.
The Holy Spirit is my Advocate. He is the one who comes to my aid and defends me. But if He’s my Advocate, from what is the Holy Spirit defending me? He defends me from the one who opposes me and accuses me. He defends me from the Enemy to all of our lives – the devil, who only wants to bring harm to our spiritual lives by sowing doubt, discouragement, despair and other subtle ways to take us away from God.
We all know the feeling whenever we’re overwhelmed by any one of these ways from the devil. We feel alone, we can lose hope and feel like we have no life. How easy it is to give in to those temptations that take us away from God.
That’s exactly why we need our Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Someone to defend us, to strengthen us and to give us that hope and encouragement. Pentecost is a great celebration because it reminds us to use the gift that God gave us. Have him defend us from easily giving in to doubt and discouragement, and ask that we use those gifts of courage, fortitude, and piety, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirt that we have all received with the Sacrament of Confirmation, so that we can always remain firm in our faith and to be faithful to what God wants us to do. It’s the greatest gift God gave us. Let’s not exchange it or forget about it. It’s only with the Holy Spirit that we can be the disciples that God wants us to be.
Father Adam Park grew up in the Washington, DC area. He discovered his vocation to the priesthood while on retreat during his senior year in high school. Being ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington, he has served in different assignments throughout the archdiocese.