"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." -Acts 2: 2-4
This is a question worthy of pondering as we approach the great Solemnity of Pentecost.
There are three occasions that immediately come to my mind, two involving Fr. Michael Scanlan, T.O.R., of happy memory.
The first happened in 1998. Fr. Michael Scanlan, T.O.R was speaking at a local retreat center. He was known for being a holy, Spirit-filled priest. I was a new re-vert, having just come back to my faith after about ten years of not practicing. During a break, a friend of mine grabbed my hand and pulled me towards Fr. Mike and then asked him to say a blessing over us. As soon as he raised his hands above our heads, I felt an overwhelming power and my knees went weak. I almost fell over. It was the first time I really felt that kind of power, which I can only attribute to the power of the Holy Spirit.
The second occasion was also with Fr. Mike. It was the Jubilee Year 2000, and I was on a Catholic Pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land. Fr. Mike was one of the leaders. We were up at the crack of dawn every morning, touring the beautiful shrines and holy places all day, and then praising and worshipping God late into the evenings.
The day we visited the Upper Room in Jerusalem is one I will never forget. There was a large crowd of approximately 100 people. Fr. Mike and his team began to lead us in praise of God and suddenly, he was standing on a platform with hands raised over us, calling down the power of the Holy Spirit. We all cried out to the Holy Spirit with arms raised to God, and again, I felt the electricity, the power, flow through the room and into me. It was, and forever will be, one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I was forever changed by that journey, especially our experience in the Upper Room
The final example was at my cousin’s Confirmation. She had asked me to be her sponsor. I was hesitant because I knew she was not living a Catholic lifestyle and was only going through the motions, but I agreed. I immediately began praying for her and continued throughout her preparation.
On the day of her confirmation, she appeared completely disinterested, caring more about her outfit, than what she was about to experience. I prayed and prayed that the Holy Spirit would “zap” her. All went as expected as we approached the Bishop and he anointed her with oil. But then, when we got back to our pew and sat down, she placed her head in her hands, and a torrent of tears flowed and flowed. She didn’t want to share about what happened that day, but in my heart, I believe that the Holy Spirit touched her soul in a powerful way. She experienced His overwhelming power and couldn’t hold back the tears. And though she still hasn’t fully embraced her faith, that indelible mark remains on her soul. I pray that one day it will come to full fruition.
These are just a handful of my own experiences of the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit. Often, He operates in our lives more like a tiny whisper. He’s that still small voice deep in our souls that continually prompts and invites us, like when we read the perfect scripture passage for a particular situation or we hear a song played on the radio at just the right moment.
Have you experienced or witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.
Let’s join together in this week’s Women of Grace Rosary Crusade and pray for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a new Pentecost upon our world. Boy, do we need it!
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