Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy, he will be called Son of God. And now your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word" Then the angel departed from her.
He also is present at the beginning of Jesus ministry, when John the Baptist baptizes him.
Jesus tells the Apostles about the Holy Spirit, calling him the Advocate, or Counselor. At Pentecost, the Apostles actually receive the Holy Spirit (the breath of God). The Holy Spirit appears as tongues of fire. All confusion and fear is removed from the Apostles and they begin to teach and proclaim the word of God.
The Holy Spirit also appears in the Old Testament when he speaks to Elijah. God speaks in the wind and the silence. Often when calling a person to do a specific deed, the Holy Spirit will actually be heard in the silence.
In St. Paul's letter to the Romans Paul wrote the following:
We do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26
The following prayer to the Holy Spirit was written by St. Augustine.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.
The images of the Holy Spirit are fire, wind and a dove. The following reflections and Scripture on the Holy Spirit show how God as Holy Spirit is our Guide and Counselor.
Image of the Holy Spirit: Fire
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Acts 2: 1-4
Fire is also a symbol of undying love. When we love someone we feel as though we are on fire. The love God has for us resembles fire. The Holy Spirit fills us with the fire of His love. The Holy Spirit gives us strength and courage to do the will of God.
Image of the Holy Spirit: Dove
The Holy Spirit appears as a dove when Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist.Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, " I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented,. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased."
All three persons of the Trinity are present at the baptism of Jesus. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We need to be aware of their presence in our life during our pilgrimage on earth.
Image of the Holy Spirit; Wind
The following scripture refers to the Holy Spirit as wind.
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit also speaks in the silence. In the Old Testament God speaks in the silence when he calls Elijah.
He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
I Kings 19:11
God calls each of us in different ways. We need to be silent and listen for His directions. Sometimes it feels as if we are blown in a certain direction. Turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance through prayer. Listen to Him in the silence of your heart. The Holy Spirit will lead you.