PENTECOST SUNDAY - On the Disposition Necessary for Receiving the Holy Ghost
by Bishop Richard Challoner, 1807
On the Disposition Necessary for Receiving the Holy Ghost
Consider first, that the soul which desires to receive the Holy Ghost must prepare a clean lodging to entertain Him in; that is, a conscience and heart pure and clear from wilful sin. If any person of distinction were to honour us with a visit, and to take up a lodging with us, we should certainly take care to have our house clean, and to remove from the apartment designed for Him whatever might offend His eyes; how much more, when we pretend to the honour and happiness of having the Spirit of God to abide with us and in us, ought we to take care to have our inward house clean, and to remove from thence, by virtue of the sacrament of Penance, the filth of sin, infinitely odious in His eyes. Alas! all the while the soul is under the guilt of mortal sin, not removed by a serious repentance and conversion to God, she is spiritually possessed by Satan; she is become a den of thieves, and carries as many devils about with her as there are unruly passions to which she is enslaved. And can she expect a visit from the Holy Ghost without first ridding herself of such company? No: the Spirit of God can never reside in the lodging with sin and Satan.
Consider 2ndly, those words of the wise man, Wis. i. 4,5, 'Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins. For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful.’ And learn from hence what sins have a more particular opposition to the visits of the Spirit of God; that by the contrary dispositions thou mayest prepare thy soul for Him. He is the spirit of love, union, peace, and charity, and therefore can never enter into a malicious soul. He is the spirit of purity, and therefore cannot dwell in a body subject to carnal sins. He is the spirit of sincerity and truth, and therefore will flee from all deceitful souls; that is, from all double-dealers and hypocrites, that seek Him not in simplicity of heart. Banish, then, far from thee all uncharitable animosities and rancour against thy neighbour, all wantonness and impurity, and all deceit and double dealings, if thou hopest to have any share in the Spirit of God.
Consider 3rdly, that there is also an infinite opposition between the spirit of the world and the Spirit of God; they cannot both reside in the same breast. 'We have received,' says the apostle, 1 Cor. ii. 12, 'not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God;' 'the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive,' saith our Lord, John xiv. 17. For as the love of the world and its friendship is the great enemy of the love of God, James iv. 4, and 1 John ii. 15, so the spirit of the world is the great adversary of the Spirit of God. The spirit of the world is a spirit of pride and vanity; it is selfish, it is fond of Mammon, 'the god of this world,' 1 Cor. iv. 5, and of all sensual pleasures, even to idolatry; the spirit of the world is a spirit of dissipation, ever forgetful of God and eternity, and full of disorderly affections for empty, vain, and perishable toys. And what room, then, can there be for the Spirit of God in such a soul? No, the Spirit of God will not come anywhere if He is not allowed to be supreme Lord and Master there. He will not admit of such worldly idols in His temple.
Conclude, if thou wouldst effectually invite the Holy Ghost to take up his residence in thy soul, to cleanse the heart thou designest for Him not only from all wilful sin and affection to sin, but also from loving the world and the things of the world, and from every love or affection that shall dare presume to claim any part of thy heart, so as to hinder thee from giving it all to Him.
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