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June 11, 2008 + Working of the Holy Spirit

clip_image002by Rev. Father John Chromiak

The revelation of the mission and ministry of the Paraclete waited for Christ’s Incarnation to be fully taught, and for His Ascension to be fully explained and understood, when the Spirit was poured out in a glorious baptism of divine energy, a Pentecost of power. We find in our Lord’s teaching, regarding the Person and work of the Spirit, in the single discourse immediate preceding His crucifixion, preserved for us in the Holy Gospel according to St. John. Here the Spirit of God is first known by the “Comforter” or “Paraclete.” Jesus now speaks of the descent of the Spirit as a new and special gift:

“I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter;” John 14:16; “the Comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26; “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, And ye shall see me no more; Of judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged.” “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: For He shall not speak from Himself;” “And He shall show you things to come. He shall glorify me: For He shall receive of Mine, And shall show it unto you.” (John 16:7-14).

With this teaching, we turn to the Book of Acts to find the practical example and illustration of these truths in the early history of the Church. The Holy Ghost was in Jesus Himself, and could not be given to the Church as a distinctively Christian gift until the first period of the Incarnation had been consummated in the Ascension of the Son of Man. “In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Thus, in the discourse in the fourth Gospel of St. John, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gives a specific definition of the work of the Holy Ghost.

The Book of Acts is often referred to as the “Acts of the Holy Spirit” or as St. John Chrysostom calls it, “The Gospel of the Holy Spirit”; for from the first to last it is the record of His advent and activity. Here The Spirit is seen coming and working; and all normal activity in believers, individually and collectively, is traced like a stream, past its human channel to its divine source.

After our Lord was “Taken up,” He through the Holy Ghost, had given commandments unto the Apostles whom He had chosen. During the forty days between His Resurrection and Ascension, our Lord communicated with His disciples and spake to them of things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. Being assembled together with them, He commands them, “should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father”, the Baptism of that same Holy Spirit for which Christ Himself had waited thirty years before beginning His public ministry. Jesus renewed assurance, “Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit, coming upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

The promise of the Father now became also the promise of the Son. The same Holy Spirit who abode in Christ, through whom He discoursed of the Kingdom and gave the disciples both instruction and commandment, was to descend upon them, dwell in them, and be to them the source and sacred of all power in working and witnessing. The disciples were to have a new experience, and upon that experience, their testimony was to be based, as identifying them with their Master. The one supreme qualification of Christ’s witnesses is that, “They be endued and endowed with the Power by the Holy Spirit.”

The Day of Pentecost arrives and the fulfillment of the mysterious promise of the Father and the Son now makes the book of Acts ablaze with glory. The day of Pentecost found the disciples “with one accord and in one place”— (Acts2-4); “And suddenly a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind filled all the house, and they were all filled with the Spirit; and the first sign of this infilling was that “they began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” That mighty wind became to them the divine breath which made speech possible. The cloven tongues which sat upon each of them were symbols of many tongues speaking many languages before unknown, and they were tongues like as of fire, for fire is throughout the Word of God, the special symbol and signal of the presence and power of God. The Holy Spirit “sat upon each of them,” to indicate that henceforth He was to find in believers—the new Church of Christ—His seat, His “See.” The word “sat” has a marked force in the New Testament. It carries the idea of a completed preparation, and a certain permanence of position and condition. The Holy Spirit, also, had found His seat, His abode, to the end of the age, in the Church of Christ, whose true nativity dates from Pentecost.

From the Word Magazine, May 1962

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Holy Prophet Elisha, June 14

Troparion Tone 4

Interpreter of the Savior's words, teacher and enlightener of those under the law, thou wast known to those afar by thy signs and miracles, for thou didst inherit the grace of the Tishbite. Preserve us evermore, O divine Prophet Elisha.

Kontakion Tone 2

O Prophet of God, thou didst worthily receive a double portion of grace, for thou wast a companion of Elijah. With him intercede with Christ our God unceasingly for us all.