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What Is the Holy Spirit Saying to St. Luke Parish? Part II: Awareness
By Pearl Homiak

"The Holy Spirit supplies all things: He causes prophecies to spring up, He sanctifies priests, to the unlettered he taught wisdom, the fisherman he turned into theologians. He holds together in unity the whole structure of the Church." From Vespers of Pentecost

In his book, Becoming Orthodox, Fr. Peter Gillquist states: "I believe that in these days, the Holy Spirit is issuing a clarion call to the people of God: Children, come home to the faith of your fathers, to the roots in Christendom, to the green pastures and still waters of the Church that has stood the test of time." In light of this, we at St. Luke must prepare first ourselves and then our parish to receive these people.

In the Divine Liturgy, Orthodox Christians sing, "We have found the true Light, we have received the Heavenly Spirit, we have found the true Faith," because we are the Church that Jesus Christ originally established on Earth through His Apostles. Thus, we are uniquely blessed, and it is our responsibility to pass Orthodox Christianity on to other people whether we feel like it or not. ("Freely you have received, freely give" -Matthew 10:8). As St. John Chrysostom exhorts, "Nothing ought to be...more urgent than the things of Heaven...though our engagements might by exceedingly indispensable and pressing."

According to St. Justin Martyr, it is what we do rather than what we say that will bring people to Christ. So as we welcome the people God sends to St. Luke, we must do more than just tell them about the Orthodox Church. Each of us at St. Luke actually needs to deepen our own spirituality in order to live the life of Christ every day. ("Save yourself, and thousands around you will be saved" -St. Seraphim of Sarov). We do this by acquiring as much of the Holy Spirit as possible.

In The Orthodox Way Bishop Kallistos Ware states that the Holy Sprit "transforms individuals into persons" and "makes us each different." "For me to be a Spirit bearer," he adds, "is to realize all the distinctive characteristics in my personality; it is to become truly free, truly myself in my uniqueness."

We are all capable of acquiring the Holy Spirit. In fact, St. Seraphim of Sarov provides detailed instructions for us (see p. __, "St. Luke Core Value IV: Gaining Direction and Power Through the Holy Spirit"). As we allow more of the Holy Spirit into our lives, St. Luke parish will also be invigorated. "From the Spirit comes our new birth, and from the new birth our new creation, and from the new creation our deeper knowledge of the dignity of [God]" (St. Gregory of Nazianzus).

This actually happened last summer at St. Luke as we struggled to come to a decision about refinancing our educational building. Opinions were numerous and mighty, and there was a lot of confusion. Each of us felt we knew what was best for St. Luke. Yet, as St. John Chrysostom warns, that which is insisted on might be harmful, so we needed to depend on "what the Spirit may suggest." It was only after we prayed earnestly and abandoned ourselves to the Holy Spirit's guidance that the issue was settled amicably and fruitfully. "The Holy Spirit makes the many to be one Body in Christ...The Spirit brings unity and mutual comprehension, enabling us 'to speak with one voice'" (Bishop Kallistos Ware).

As we know, the Holy Spirit is "the comforter, the Spirit of Truth." He is "everywhere and fills all things." He is also the Treasury of blessings and the Giver of life." That's why we ask Him to "come and abide in us, cleanse us of every impurity, and save our souls."

Since "all is through the Holy Spirit" (St. Basil the Great), we can always count on Him to provide for our every need. "The grace of the Spirit, when it has entered into the mind and has been established, springs up more than any fountain, does not fail, [and] never becomes empty...for nothing, nothing is so strong as the bond of the Spirit" (St. John Chrysostom).

Accordingly, the Holy Spirit will guide us as we enthusiastically interact with the people God sends to us, especially those returning to "the faith of [their] fathers." We will be confidently able to do as St. Seraphim of Sarov instructs: "Distribute the Holy Spirit's gifts of grace to those in need of them, just as a lighted candle burning with earthly fire shines itself and lights other candles for the illumining of all in other places, without diminishing its own light."

Part III: Commitment-Concluded in the next issue.

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