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The Work of the Holy Spirit in One’s Life
(Holy Spirit Mass of the XU Senior High School)

My dear senior high school students, right now I do not know how exposed you are to the teachings and knowledge about the Holy Spirit.  Some of you may have heard of this third person of the Holy Trinity from your parents or teachers or parish priests. Others may have not given attention to this, so the Holy Spirit remains unfamiliar and distant to you. One funny story, a student was asked by his teacher to give the names of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, and he confidently answered, ah, easy, the Father, the Son, Jesus, and his mother, Mary!

By the way, who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is God, he is one of the three persons of the Triune God, equal in power and majesty as the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. Before and after prayer, you make the sign of the cross, you give proper honor to the three persons of the Trinity and ask for their help.  Now you remember you have had many encounters with the Holy Spirit because every time you pray you utter the word “…and the Holy Spirit”.

Let me tell you a story about the Holy Spirit.  There was a boy who was very sad because he failed in some of his high school subjects. Then, due to his failing marks, his parents got angry with him and prohibited him from going out during weekends.  So, he thought he was a failure: he did not do well in his studies, he disappointed his parents, and he also lost his friends for weekend outings. He believed he was no good as a student, as a son, and as a friend. He got terribly sad and did not want to go to school anymore. But one day, his favorite aunt, the sister of his mom, came to their house and learned about his problem. His aunt talked to him and consoled him.  After this, he felt relieved and began to feel energized to do something about his life, to apologize to his parents, to do well in his studies, and go back to school. He had a diary and he wrote in it something like this, “after I had a heart-to-heart talk with my aunt, I had a feeling that I received a new energy to renew my life but I did not know what it was and where it was coming from…But I was sure it was a help from God because I felt good about it, happy and very much at peace with what I wanted to do with life…

The boy did not mention “Holy Spirit” but for us we know that it was the Holy Spirit that acted on him through another person, his aunt.  The Holy Spirit is like a wind, we do not see him but we can feel and experience His gifts to us are many, like love, service, knowledge, wisdom, courage, joy, peace, hope, humility, etc. The Holy Spirit gives us the right gift that we need to make us closer to God.

I am sure you have had similar experiences in the past, but you were not aware perhaps that it was the Spirit working in you. When you are sad, the Spirit will gift you with joy; when you are afraid to do what is right, the Spirit will gift you with courage; when you feel helpless and lost hope, the Spirit will gift you with hope; when you do not know what to do, the Spirit will give you the gift of wisdom to follow God’s wants you to do. With the Spirit in you, you can be compassionate and forgiving like what the Lord has asked of us in the Gospel today.

But, here is a very important question. What do you do to have these gifts of the Holy Spirit?

Only one thing … we beg the Lord to send us the Holy Spirit to come upon each of us to help us.  Why beg? It’s because we neither force nor earn the Spirit with our own merits.  We can only pray to God and wait to receive the Spirit in our lives. Why do we need the Holy Spirit to fill our lives, as students? First, the life of a student is full of difficulties and we need the gifts from God so we can overcome them. Problems can overwhelm us and lead us to discouragement. I remember a story about a very bright student who got depressed and lost his sanity because she could not anymore handle the gravity of her problems. She had breakdown and stopped in her studies.  Student life is full of challenges and to face them we need the help of God. So, we beg the Holy Spirit to come to us to be our friend. The Holy Spirit is a true friend and if we are open to Him, he will surely help us in our work, studies, and relationship.

Student’s life is also full of temptations, we can go astray from the right path and make a mess of our young lives. So, we ask the Holy Spirit to be our true friend and to accompany and guide us always as we trudge the challenging road to the fulfillment of our studies.  Perhaps, you know this story already, when Francis Xavier was a university student in Paris, France, he was fond of going out at night and spending his time in worldly activities. He was a very good student, intelligent, athletic, talented, and popular but with no clear direction of his life. Then, Ignatius became his friend because they lived in the same dormitory. Eventually, Ignatius led him to join the first group of men to become the first Jesuits. The Spirit worked in Francis Xavier through Ignatius of Loyola.  Similarly, the Spirit may use anyone of you to help your classmates and friends; or the Spirit may use any of your family members especially your parents to teach and guide you along the right path to success. Do you want a life in the right path and with a clear direction?

So, pray always to the Holy Spirit and tell Him of your needs and talk to Him like conversing with a friend.  The effects of the Spirit in your life is easily seen by others in the kind of life that you live, as an Atenean/Xavierian through and through, with competence, commitment, conscience, and compassion.