Claire Dwyer

by Claire Dwyer


A Holy Handclasp: Releasing the Power of the Holy Spirit

In today's meeting, Dan Burke walked us through the process of conversion - which is a life-long, ever-deepening process.  But at its foundation, it looks like this:  Conviction of sin, belief in the Gospel, embrace of salvation offered by Christ, decision to 'fight,' reception of the Holy Spirit by a new openness to His power, resolve and perseverance in the battle, and life dominated by a disposition of 'yes' to God.

I leaned into the conversation about the Holy Spirit, in part because of a recent conversation.  Fr. Cantalamessa, the papal preacher mentioned by Dan, talks about this reality in Sober Intoxication of the Spirit.  He explains that the work accomplished in  Baptism and Confirmation has two components: opus operatum, that is, what God accomplishes through grace (remission of sin and divine sonship) and opus operantis, that is, the work yet to be accomplished by the individual through his or her "yes."  

In an age when many of us, myself included, are baptized as infants in the faith of our parents - which is a good thing - we may have yet to make a radical act of love and surrender in order to more fully release the graces from the sacraments of initiation and begin the process of renewal in our lives and true spiritual maturity.  It is, Fr. Cantalamessa, explains, "as though God's outstretched hand has finally grasped the hand of the individual, and through that handclasp, He transmits all of His creative power, which is the Holy Spirit."

This is the true meaning of 'baptism in the Spirit' and as Dan said, it can take many forms: renewal of baptismal promises (we do this during the Easter vigil) profession of vows, undergoing spiritual exercises, laying on of hands.  It's a unique and mysterious thing which 'respects the uniqueness of our personalities.'  But the reality is the same: rekindling the gift of God which is already within.  

Have you asked for the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit?  Have you experienced His transforming power in your own struggle against sin?  If "My Spirit can renew the face of the earth" (Psalm 104) then He can also renew the depths of the human heart.  And that is exactly what we, beggers at the foot of the Cross, so desperately need.


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  • Dan Burke

    Dan Burke

    Beautifully stated
  • Teresa McReynolds

    Teresa McReynolds

    Incredible Reflection-thanks claire.
  • Nalina Chinnasami

    Nalina Chinnasami

    Amen! Thank you for your wisdom in sharing His gift of love in the Spirit .
  • Maria  Ramirez

    Maria Ramirez

    Thank you for sharing. In my faith journey i only recently have come to understand the role of the Holy Spirit (last five years). I don’t think there was a lot of formation on the Holy Spirit. I know that in the sign of the cross we mention God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. During my prayers I include my Heavenly Father, and now I also ask the Holy Spirit to guide my whole day (thoughts, and actions) in Jesus’s name. I believe our advocate is sometimes ignored. This article is a great reminder and you do a nice job explaining how we can enter into disposition. Thank you
  • Diana von Glahn

    Diana von Glahn

    This is beautiful, Claire. Thank you for sharing it with us!
  • Dorothy  Daly

    Dorothy Daly

    In my life, Mary has been so important in bringing me to know the Holy Spirit and his power. He fo rmed Jesus in her womb and will help us to become more like him if we ask. She is so powerful and the perfect mother.
  • Gina Witt

    Gina Witt

    What a beautiful and impelling reflection. A reminder that it is necessary that we, willingly and joyfully, collaborate with the Most Holy Trinity, and as you write “make a radical act of love and surrender in order to more fully release the graces from the sacraments of initiation and begin the process of renewal in our lives and true spiritual maturity.” So many, some consciously and some unconsciously resist this fiat of love, for one reason or the other, but mostly out of fear. This fear a pawn of the enemy to keep us from truly receiving in its fullness the life giving breath of the Holy Spirit that “itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Rom 8:16 The discussion in our Sojourners meeting and now this reflection, so beautifully reminding us of Gods goodness and gentleness, as this baptism in His Spirit need not be accompanied with that which dysregulates our soul but rather that which nourishes and animates it. With your deliberate abandonment to his love, it need only be a gentle whisper “Come Holy Spirit”. With this abandonment what then do we have to fear but fear itself for “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.” Rom 8:11 May this breath of life move through each soul who reads these reflections and responds with an open and courageous heart! May the words that cross the threshold of our lips in every Sojourners meeting “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.” come to fruition in all our lives in a renewed and impassioned way. Peace & blessings to all.
  • Biz Blee

    Biz Blee

    This is breathtaking Claire- and you ask an important question about the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit... Have we asked?! This is impressed upon me how much we have to ask, and through a renewed yes, a striving and seeking to abandon ourselves to God's will, we can be transformed. Thank you for this reminder!!
  • Adrian Rusch

    Adrian Rusch

    As someone who was baptized as a young child and the left the church and then return a few years ago, I also can empathize with this. It’s almost like I “converted” (reverted?) in my adult years, and am all the more on fire. Also as a father of 3 young children, my focus is on passing on my faith to them and making sure they understand WHY we believe and not just accept it on face value. I think that’s an important part of catechizing our children.
  • Maria Aznar

    Maria Aznar

    Yes, I pray to the Holy Spirit every day, several times a day, and yes, He has transformed my soul and purified it to the extent that now I detest all sin and strive to be holy. This has been the work of His grace in my life. The Holy Spirit, indeed, can renew the face of the earth! +




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