Kristu Jyoti College
The Holy Spirit: Our Constant Companion
(A Lesson Plan)
A Lesson Plan Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of
the Requirements for the Field Work
Sr. Noel C.M.C
Dr. Gilbert Choondal sdb
The Holy Spirit: Our Constant Companion
1. Make the unknown known
Do you have friends? Do you know them? Their names? parents ? brothers? sisters? How he / she looks like? His / her colour? eyes? nose? hair? handwriting? voice?… How often do you meet together? Can you say some of the characteristics of your friend? …
Suppose I am an unknown friend of you. If you had dialled my telephone number two years ago and we got acquainted by phone and if we had continued our conversations but had never met, what would you really know about me? You say “I would know the sound of your voice as it comes from the phone.” You wouldn’t recognize me if you saw me on the street, in the church, or in the school. But when the day comes when we meet face to face you see what I look like, my colour, shape, size, voice… If we have a meal together one day you will come to know what I like most and what I dislike…
What makes you a person? Is it your physical body? Surely not. It is sure you have been to a funeral and have seen a body lying in a casket. Are you looking at a person? No! You are looking at a dead body.
] You must realize that what makes a person is not the body.
Instead, the person is what comes from within the body.
Emotions, Will, Intellect, Feelings….
] You learn volumes about people when you meet them in person
2. Is Holy Spirit a Person? Let us look at the Word of God
Try to find out some characteristics of the Holy Spirit (His attributes, actions etc.) from the following Scriptural verses:
- a)“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him” (Eph. 1, 17).
- b)“The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Is. 11, 2).
- c)“And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the spirit, because the spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom. 8, 27).
- d)“And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual” (1Cor. 2, 13).
- e)“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4, 30).
- f)“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in earnest prayer to God on my behalf” (Rom. 15, 30).
- g)“All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses” (1Cor. 12, 11).
- h)“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (Rom. 8, 14).
- i)“It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8, 16).
- “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).
The personality of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has the attributes of personality such as intellect, will, emotions or sensibility. He performs the actions of personality. That is, He teaches, guides, convinces, commands and directs people. He performs miracles and intercedes for us. The Holy Spirit is a person. He can feel, perceive and respond. He gets hurt. He has the ability to love. He speaks and He has His own will.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
Exactly who is the Holy Spirit? He is the third person of the Holy Trinity- the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the God the Father and the Spirit of the God the Son. He is the power of the Holy Trinity.
What is His job? The task of the Spirit is to bring into being the commandments of the Father and the performance of the Son. To understand the job of the Holy Spirit we need to understand the work of the Father and the Son. God the Father is the one who gives the command. He has always been the one who says, “Let there be”. From the beginning, it has been God who gives the orders. On the other hand, it is God the Son who performs the commands of the Father. When God the Father said, “Let there be light,” God the Son came and performed it. Then, God the Holy Spirit brought the light. This can be illustrated through an example: If the teacher asked you, “please turn on the light,” three forces would be involved. First, the teacher would be the one who gave the command. Second, you would be the one who walks to the switch and flips it. In other words, you are the performer of the command. But finally, who brings on the light? It is not the teacher, and it is not you. It is the power- electricity- that produces light. Similarly the Holy Spirit is the power, who brings forth the commandment of the Father and the performance of the Son.
Holy Spirit is the most precious loveliest person on the earth. God the Father came to do His work through the Son, Jesus who was resurrected. When God the Son departed, God the Holy Spirit came, and He is still here doing His work. As you began to know the Holy Spirit, you became sensitive to Him and learned what grieves Him and what pleases Him. What He likes and what He doesn’t like. What gets Him angry and what makes Him happy.
Fellowship with the Holy Spirit
Do you want to meet the Holy Spirit intimately and personally? Do you want to hear His voice? Are you prepared to know Him as a person?
We need friends, we need to be together, and we need helpers. Most of our human friends may remain with us only for a brief period of time. But we have a friend given by Jesus, who remains with us always- THE HOLY SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit is a person, a helper and a personal friend. He has emotions, an intellect and a will. He wants to relate with us. He longs to have fellowship with us. The Holy Spirit is not only a power but also a person; not only a force but a friend.
If we are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit our approach to prayer will change. That is, there are no requests or petitions in fellowship. If we asked, “Would you please bring me some food?” That is a request. But fellowship is much more personal. “How are you today? Let’s have breakfast together!” That is fellowship. So we have to remember that there are no selfish requests in fellowship- just friendship, love and communion.
The Holy Spirit is a gentleperson. He doesn’t enter your room until you invite Him. He doesn’t sit down until you ask Him. He doesn’t speak to you until you speak to Him. How long will He wait? Until you speak to Him. It could be months- even years. He will just wait and wait and wait. So you will never know His power, you will never know His presence until you go and sit beside Him, invite Him and speak to Him.
Let us be filled with the Holy Spirit
All the Christians are expected to be filled with the Holy Spirit. A mature Christian is a person who is controlled by the Holy Spirit. Thus a person may be immature in two reasons: either because he has not been a Christian very long or because, even though he has been a believer for a time, he has not been filled by the Spirit and therefore has not made any growth in the things of the Lord. The opposite of being controlled by the Holy Spirit is being controlled by the flesh or carnality. Carnality and spirituality are basically matters of control. Although each kind of controlled life will, of course, exhibit distinct characteristics. But it is the control- not the characteristics- which makes one either carnal or spiritual.
The character of being filled
A drunken person is controlled by the liquor which he has consumed. Because of this he thinks and acts in ways normally unnatural to him. Likewise, the person who is Spirit- filled is controlled, and he too acts in ways that are unnatural to him. Hence St. Paul says, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit”. Thus being filled with the Spirit is being controlled by the Spirit.
In order to being filled with the Holy Spirit we have to live a dedicated life. That means we have to offer ourselves once and for all to the complete direction of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit directs us we will recognize our sins and soon we will move away from the path of the sin.
The consequences of being filled
- 1.A Christ-like character (Gal.5, 22-23). The gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit will make us become like Christ.
- 2.Worship and praise (Eph. 5, 18-20). The Holy Spirit helps us to pray and brings us to the mood of continuous worship and praise in our hearts.
- 3.Submissiveness (Eph. 5, 21). The Holy Spirit makes us more and more humble.
- 4.Service (John 7, 37-39). The believer not only satisfies himself but he overflows in service to others. This overflowing is the ministry of the Holy Spirit through a controlled life.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit
Wisdom is the supreme gift of the Holy Spirit. The gift of Wisdom gives us knowledge about divine things. It also gives us the experience of the divine things. This gift enlightens us to divine things which are beyond the reach of mere human understanding. One who has this gift shows interest in practising moral virtues. Besides it develops a discriminatory sense for worldly pleasures.
This is the gift that discloses inner meanings of the mysteries of faith. Through this gift one gains power to understand the Scripture. By this gift we get a special insight to interpret in relation to Jesus’ life the events taking place around us.
A person gifted with Counsel can take quick decisions in difficult matters. God reveals to them what to say or do. When somebody comes to them for advice, they are able to answer and direct them in the proper way by this gift.
It is a gift that gives strength and inspiration to do difficult tasks with joy. With this gift we are able to endure till the end even in very difficult tasks.
It is a divine gift which helps us to grasp the relationship between the Creator and the created. The person gifted with knowledge gains a special power to view all creatures as the handwork of God. They can discern their spiritual condition as well as that of others. It enables them to discriminate what is to be renounced and what is to be accepted. This gift teaches that the worldly pleasures are more trifles.
It is a gift which generates a child-like love towards God. With this gift we are eager to be absorbed in God while we live and even to face death in order to become one with God. St. Paul says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1, 21).
7. Fear of the Lord:-
This gift denotes more the fear of God than the fear of sin. It is reverential fear rather than the fear of punishment. This gift helps people to venerate God so that their unlimited freedom will not lead to destruction.
These excellent gifts of the Holy Spirit are meant for personal spiritual life and growth. The signs of the presence of these gifts in a person are the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
How to make good choices?
It is sure that we all have certain moments in our life which make us in a confused state. Either the matter is great or small we have to make a decision. We have to make a choice between the two. How do you know which is good or which is bad? What is your criterion to choose among the two? What is your guiding principle in selecting good or bad?
Here is an open ended story. Try to complete this story.
If you completed the story try to answer these questions:
- 1.Was it easy for you to do this work?
- 2.What are your feelings after completing this story? Happy, unhappy, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, doubt…?
- 3.What are the difficulties that you faced in completing this story?
Listen to the Word of God
Read the Gospel passage, Mk. 10, 17-31 carefully and reflect on the following questions.
- 1.What did the young man seem to want most?
- 2.Was he a good person? How did Jesus feel about him?
- 3.Why was the young man sad at Jesus’ invitation?
- 4.What did the young man really think was important to him and his happiness?
- 5.What do you think of his choice?
- 6.How do you think the young man felt as he walked away?
How we are able to do right choices? It is the HOLY SPIRIT, our constant companion, who helps us to do this. How?
Let us compare the behaviours of five wise virgins and five foolish virgins from Mathew 25, 1-13. (Read this Bible passage and write down the comparisons).
Our day to day life is filled with many choices. We have to choose how we will act. Sometimes it is hard and sometimes it is easy. Our happiness and that of other people depend on how we choose. We can choose in two ways:
We can be unselfish or selfish.
We can be kind or mean.
We can care about others or not care.
In the letter to the Galatians, St. Paul speaks about Jesus’ way (Gal 5, 22) and the way to sin (Gal. 5, 19).
love, joy, peace,
These are called the fruits of the Holy Spirit. They are the effects of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us.
The second way leads to sadness. It is the way of sin that brings “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing etc. (Gal. 5, 19).
How to distinguish the Holy Spirit from other spirits?
There are various spirits functioning in our life: the Holy Spirit, the human spirit and the evil spirit. If we are making some decisions according to our selfish interests only, then the spirit works in us will be the human spirit. If we are in a state of sin then the evil spirit will work in us. If that how do we know the working of the Holy Spirit in us? We can know it as the following way:
If Holy Spirit works in you
“ You will feel joy and peace always in your heart and mind.
“There will be harmony inside and outside you.
“ All your doubts will be disappeared.
“You will get clear idea about your actions.
“You will experience calmness.
“ You will love all.
“ You will pray before any action.
“ Whatever you do will be good for others too.
“ You will respect your parents, teachers and elders and will ask their advice.
“ You will turn away from your bad habits.
3. Let us relive the Word of God
Application to life
Remember the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit which you have received through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Renew your faith in this Holy Spirit now and then.
As a group go for a ‘Faith experience retreat’.
Surrender yourself fully to the leadership of the Holy Spirit during Holy Communion.
Make intercessory prayers for the special intention of receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the whole community.
Practice to say ‘no’ to one of your bad habits.
Make a discussion to find out the existing evils in your group and contribute possible ways in order to overcome those.
Recite this prayer: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.”
Arrange special group prayers for receiving the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Try to enjoy peace and happiness in the heart in your community life.
Evaluate the real peace and joy of the community as a whole and find out the moments of failure in discerning the Spirit of God, which destroys the real joy and peace of the community. Try to make good choices in an atmosphere of prayer.
Send a letter to your friend with suitable reflections in order to help him/her to make a proper decision.
Spend one day as a group with the people who long for the love of God, especially, the poor in the village, prisoners, orphans etc.
Litany of surrender to the Holy Spirit
(Response: I surrender all)
Holy Spirit, breath of God,
Holy Spirit, breath of love,
Holy Spirit, the Helper from above,
Holy Spirit, love of God poured out in our hearts,
Holy Spirit, who makes us reborn in Christ,
Holy Spirit, praying within us,
Holy Spirit, fire of love,
Holy Spirit, source of all joy,
Holy Spirit, fount of peace,
Holy Spirit, giver of patience,
Holy Spirit, giver of the gift of Wisdom,
Holy Spirit, giver of the gift of Understanding,
Holy Spirit, giver of the gift of Knowledge,
Holy Spirit, giver of the gift of Counsel,
Holy Spirit, giver of the gift of Fortitude,
Holy Spirit, giver of the gift of the Fear of the Lord,
Holy Spirit, giver of the gift of Piety,
Holy Spirit, giver of all charisms,
Holy Spirit, giver of kindness,
Holy Spirit, fountain of goodness,
Holy Spirit, light of truth,
Holy Spirit, model of gentleness,
Holy Spirit, giver of self-control,
Holy Spirit, inspirer of true worship,
Holy Spirit, the vivifier,
Holy Spirit, the sanctifier,
Holy Spirit, the Christifier,
Holy Spirit, Guide and Teacher,
Holy Spirit, the Consoler,
Prayer: O Holy Spirit, infinite love of the Father and the Son, accept my total surrender. Teach me to be always a true child of God. Abide in me and grant me that I may abide in you, that I may love as you love. Keep me open to your promptings and inspirations, and lead me in the ways of Jesus, Our Lord. Amen.