‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Acts 11: 16
The first time I heard about baptism in the Holy Spirit was when we moved to Chico, California in 1977. I met some people at our new parish who seemed to have a more vibrant faith than I did, and I thought I was a pretty good Catholic! They talked about Jesus like they knew Him. . . I wasn’t even comfortable saying His Name out loud. As I got to know them better, I learned that they had all been baptized in the Holy Spirit, meaning that they simply invited the Holy Spirit they had received at Baptism and Confirmation to work in their lives.
Well, I wanted what they had, so one night when Jim was out of town and the kids were in bed, I asked the Lord to baptize me in His Holy Spirit too. I invited Him to take over my life as I surrendered to Him. I wanted to get to know Jesus as a person and grow in my faith. No bells or whistles went off, but when I look back, I know that a new chapter in my journey of faith began that night.
The Mass came alive for me after that. I started really noticing the words that I was saying and hearing, and realized that it is the best prayer you can pray – the words of the prayers during mass are incredible! Another thing that happened was that Scripture also came alive for me – it wasn’t just an old book of old stories anymore, but through it God was speaking directly to my heart and I couldn’t get enough. I began to notice that the Spirit was nudging me to do and say things, correcting me and bringing certain scriptures to mind when I needed them. After yielding to the Spirit, my faith went from a religion to a relationship with a living, loving Lord.
Scripture tells us the many ways the Holy Spirit can help us, but we often don’t take advantage of it, because we don’t know how. I think it would be awesome to have a sacrament called "Baptism in the Holy Spirit" for adults! Then we all could experience the fullness of our faith just like the disciples did at Pentecost, and we could affirm what our parents did for us when they baptized us as infants. Thanks Mom and Dad. I am forever grateful! And thanks Holy Spirit for the gifts you give us and the ways you teach and guide us.
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. Janice also leads retreats and has written her first book called "God Speaks to Ordinary People – Like You and Me". She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicecarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected]