The Gift of the Spirit



Easter is behind us, and now we await Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit is a special time in our liturgical year. Without the Holy Spirit in my own life, I would not have the peace and joy that has helped me live comfortably the past forty years.

I thank the Lord every Pentecost for the inspirations, the friendships, and the many ways that this third Person of the Trinity assists me to live a fuller Christian life.

I have buried two husbands and my only son who died from a fatal heart attack at 43 years old. “How did you survive these trials?” people would ask me.

“By the grace of God and the Holy Spirit,” was always my answer.

One is never alone if they have allowed the Holy Spirit to enter their lives. It was 1983 when I attended a healing Mass in a church across the border from Cornwall; Sacred Heart Church in Massena, New York. I

had completed the Life in the Spirit course, about inviting the Spirit to become more prominent in our lives. I did this privately with a strong believer and then he and his wife invited me to attend this healing Mass.

Yes, I was little nervous. I had no idea what would happen, and when the time came to approach the altar following the Mass, I walked forward with the others. I had never heard people speak in tongues before, and though it seemed strange, I had to trust that I was exactly where God wanted me that evening.

Yes, I was then slain in the spirit, and someone caught me, and then I rested on the floor for about five minutes. When I returned to my church pew, I knew that I was different, but did not know how.

My friend leaned over and said: “Did you ask for an infilling of the Holy Spirit?”

I answered that I had. He smiled and responded: “I think you got it.”

I really did not understand but he must have seen the joy on my face that I was feeling in my heart. A few days later, I was resting in the afternoon, and suddenly, some guttural sounds began to emerge from my mouth. I realized that these strange sounds were a different language and I was now speaking in tongues.

I never have spoken in this fashion for anyone else; not even my husband. It seemed that what was important is that God understood my needs and had allowed me this freedom of expression. Once in awhile, when I feel called, I will pray to the Lord in this way.

I do not attend the weekly charismatic prayer group from my parish; I am more of a loner, but I do enjoy the awareness that my Spirit is alive and healthy. From that day until now, I am grateful for those friends who invited me to that healing Mass.

There were many gifts given that evening. For me, being introduced to the real person of this Spirit, and the new joy of loving the Lord with all my heart and soul, continues to provide the comfort and security I need to embrace God’s will for my life.

My wish for you, who may still be wondering about the Holy Spirit, is to let go and let God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, become more present in your life. Tell Jesus that you wish to surrender totally to His Will. You will never regret it.

Joan Levy Earle is an author and artist living in Cornwall, Ontario. She is the former Associate Editor of the Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart magazine.

  • Lorella D'Cruz
    Posted at 04:35h, 30 May Reply

    Your article sends out a powerful message, Joan. I have felt inspired by the Holy Spirit only once in a long lifetime – and that was many, many decades ago – at my Confirmation at the age of nine, when an indescribable joy filled my whole being; but this experience has never been repeated. I shy away from charismatic meetings, feeling disconnected when I hear people speaking in tongues and falling to the floor. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is yet to touch me with His grace, and this Pentecost might just be the occasion! I take special note of your last para, Joan, and will endeavour to surrender totally to God’s will as you suggest.

  • darcy Mann
    Posted at 11:36h, 30 May Reply

    I,m glad to see that your dedication to the Holy Spirit never falters. You are truly blessed to have such a strong commitment. During this trying Covid Pandemic, we all need to pay a little more attention, and be a little closer to the Holy Spirit…..

  • Peter Bisson SJ
    Posted at 12:52h, 30 May Reply

    Thank you Joan!

  • Lorraine Majcen
    Posted at 11:33h, 31 May Reply

    Thank you Joan for so boldly witnessing to your faith, and in particular the Holy Spirit. God truly has a chosen path for each one of us. We serve an awesome God, who knows what we need, and provides it as we ask him. We simply have to trust him. May God continue to bless you.

    • Joan Levy Earle
      Posted at 04:06h, 01 June Reply

      Thank you for this comment
      It is encouraging. God bless you and your family.

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