Blessed Columba Marmion in his book, ‘Christ the Life of the Soul’ writes, ” You see how lively, penetrating, the Holy Spirit’s action in the Church is? Yes, He is indeed, as St. Paul said, ‘the Spirit of life’- a truth the Church has taken up in her Credo when she sings of her faith in the life-giving Spirit: ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life.’ He is truly the soul of the Church, He is the vital principle that animates the super-natural body, that governs it, that unites all its members one with another that gives them vigor and supernatural beauty.
In the first days’s of the Church’s existence this action was much more visible that in our own days. That was part of the design of Providence, for the Church had to be able to establish herself solidly, by manifesting to the eyes of the pagan world the shining signs of her Founder’s divinity, of her origin and mission. These signs-fruits of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit-were wonderful; we are amazed when we read the account of the Church’s beginnings. The Spirit descended upon those whom baptism made disciples of Christ, and filled them with charisms as numerous as they were astonishing: graces of miracles, gifts of prophecy, gifts of tongues, and so many other extraordinary favors according to the first Christians, in order that it might be recognized that the Church, adorned with such an abundance of gifts so remarkable, was truly the Church of Jesus.
Read St. Paul first letter to the Corinthians, and see the delights with which the great apostles, who himself was a witness to these marvels, enumerates them. At almost every enumeration of these diverse gifts he adds that it is one and the same Spirit who is the source of them, because He is love, and love is the wellspring of all the gifts. ‘In the same Spirit…'(1 Cor 12:9) It is the Spirit who makes fruitful this Church that Jesus has redeemed by His Blood and has willed to be holy and without blemish.”
Blessed Marmion is reflecting a long held belief that the outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit were really only meant for the first generation of Christians. Gerard Welch in the article, ‘Charisms in the Life of the Church’ writes, “In a pivotal council speech, ‘The Charismatic Dimension of the Church’ Cardinal Suenens exhorted the council fathers: ‘The charisms are more than peripheral and unessential phenomena in the life of the Church; the charisms are vitally important for building up the Mystical Body and must be presented with clarity; the hierarchical structures of the Church must not appear as an administrative apparatus with no intimate connection with the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit which are spread throughout the life of the Church. Suenens reminded the Council Fathers that in Baptism, all Christians receive the Holy Spirit and that ‘The Holy Spirit shows himself in the Church in the great number and richness of her spiritual gifts, gifts which Scripture calls pneumatika. (1 Cor 12:1, 14:1) In detail, Suenens called to mind the living place of charisms in the Church: in extraordinary and marvelous ways, for example, ecstatic tongues and healing; in more common ways, for example in wise speech, knowledge, faith, teaching, administration, discernment of spirits, and prophecy; and in obvious ministerial positions such as charisms of theologians , catechists, evangelists, social workers. ‘Do we not know and see in our daily experience that the action of the Holy Spirit has not died out in the Church.’ In a later book, Cardinal Suenens provided a history of the charismatic experiences of the Church and recalled that throughout the life of the Church, the charisms were to be found wherever faith was lived intensely.”
Cardinal Suenens argued that the out pouring of the charisms was not meant just for the early Christians. Pope John XXIII prayed at the Second Vatican Council, ‘For a new Pentecost for new signs and wonders.”
Is not the world today as pagan as the world faced by the first generations of Christians?
Here is a prayer that came to me
Mary Woman filled with the Holy Spirit
Mary your prayers called down the Holy Spirit upon the first disciples in that upper room
Mary Temple of the Holy Spirit pray that the gifts of the Holy Spirit may be poured out upon me
Mary not only pray that the gifts of the Holy Spirit be poured upon me
Teach me also how to use the gifts of Holy Spirit