When a hen hovers over eggs the white and yellow liquid in them transform to accomplish their hidden potential and chickens come out of the shells. When the Holy Spirit hovers over the creation, it receives order and beauty. Likewise the heat of the Holy Spirit helps the faithful to fulfill their God given potential. It is quite natural, therefore, for the mother Church to wish that all her children become Christ like by the hovering of the Holy Spirit.
Orthodox Churches prepare the faithful to identify with the early Christian Church to pray and wait for being filled with the Holy Spirit. Pentecost means fiftieth and the celebration of the Christian Pentecost is on the fiftieth day from the feast of the resurrection of our Lord. Holy Apostles along with St. Mary and other early Christians, following the commandment of Christ, waited for the Holy Spirit and were filled with the Holy Spirit. (Jewish Pentecost is on the fiftieth day from their feast of Passover). During Christ’s time the Jewish feast of Pentecost was a celebration of the reception of the commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. It was on such a feast day of Jewish Pentecost that the Holy Spirit descended on the early Christians in tongues of fire.(Acts:2) For Christians Pentecost indicates the internalization in their hearts the concerns and commands of God through the reception of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian member receives the Holy Spirit today in baptism, which can be considered as a personal Pentecost. Ten days’ preparation is recommended by the Church before the feast of Pentecost and especially this feast is a time of renewal of their baptism by being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Is Christianity an impossible ideal? The answer is yes and no. Yes for only those who do not take the indwelling Holy Spirit seriously. The apparently impossible teaching of our Lord can be practiced if we co-operate with the guiding Spirit. That is why Christian life is often defined as a new life in Christ guided by the Holy Spirit. Before His ascension Christ promised the disciples that he would send Paracletos (John 14:16) which means one called alongside to help. St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who lived in the second century AD, teaches that the Holy Spirit is an integral part of man and only the one who received this Spirit and live according to Him is a true human. And this article focuses on the Holy Spirit, who assists human to become not a superman but an authentic human. Yes, humanization is divinization or becoming like God by the help of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit and the Church
Jesus Christ promised to the Church the assistance and guidance of the Spirit, when His human physical presence left it. The early Christian community received the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost and the Church was officially inaugurated.
Holy Tradition of the Church, which contains the Bible, liturgies, doctrines, councils, canons, Church fathers and saints is an expression of the life of the Church through the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit uses these to inspire and vivify the members of the Church.
The Church is supposed to be the kingdom of God. The renewal and sanctification bring about by the Holy Spirit is inevitable to make the Church ‘the kingdom of God on earth’. The Son of God incarnated in order to establish the kingdom of God on earth. The ministry of the Church is nothing less than to continue the mission of Christ, which is fulfilled by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. According to Gregory of Nyssa (4th century AD) the petition ‘thy Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us’ was a substitute petition to replace ‘thy kingdom come’ in the Lord’s prayer in certain areas in his time . Unfortunately the pride of man and his reluctance to subject to the sanctification enacted by the Holy Spirit blocks the establishment of a community on earth as God wishes.
Major functions of the Spirit
Edification and guidance of the Church, sanctification of its members, and thus the enlightenment of the world are certain fundamental functions of the Spirit.
Various symbols employed in the New Testament to denote the indescribable Holy Spirit explain certain aspects of His functioning.
(a) Water (John; 7:37-39, John; 4). As water is indispensable for life, the Holy Spirit is essential for an abundant life. The purification work of the Holy Spirit is also implied in this symbol. It is noticeable