In this talk, Joshua Mazrin discusses how we should take importance with having a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. He cites scriptures and shares insights on how we can start our relationship and journey to be closer to the Holy Trinity.
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Reflective Study Guide Questions
“But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in him.”1 John 2:27
- The Holy Spirit is often represented in religious art as a dove or as fire, even though He is a Divine Person. How do you tend to picture the Holy Spirit in your mind? Can changing your mental picture of the Holy Spirit help you feel closer to Him as a Person?
- We should all pray to the Holy Spirit often and develop a close relationship with Him. When you pray, how often do you intentionally address the Holy Spirit? How can you grow in your relationship with the Holy Spirit?
- Scripture is filled with God’s promises to man. God waits for us to pray like Abraham and Moses did, looking to Him to fulfill the promises He has made to us. What promises do you want to ask God to fulfill in your life?
- The closer we grow in our relationship with the Holy Spirit, the more grace we receive to help us overcome struggles and difficulties. What sufferings in your life do you want the Holy Spirit to help you overcome?
Text: How to Lean on the Holy Spirit During Suffering
Hi. My name is Joshua Mazrin, and this talk is on the Holy Spirit. How the Holy Spirit helps us in times of suffering, what the Holy Spirit is to each of us in our own lives, and how we can develop our own personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. So let us begin in prayer.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Heavenly Father, we thank You and we praise You. We ask that You pour forth Your holy anointing into our hearts, that we would truly respond to the Word of God with faith, that we would be filled with His consolations, that we would be truly filled with wisdom, that we would come to know You and love You, and also to experience You as we experience the deep healing that You offer each one of us. We ask all this in a special way through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculata as we say. Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
John Chapter 2
This is a great blessing for me to talk to you guys about one of my favorite things which, primarily I want to focus on, is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. And so, as you heard in the prayer that I just did, invoking the presence and the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our own personal lives. So the topic for this healing retreat, of course, is how we can lean on the Holy Spirit in times of suffering, the everyday difficulties, maybe even bigger sufferings that we encounter, or maybe those close to us – our family members, our friends, our coworkers, people that we encounter – the suffering that they deal with as well. So I want to start, of course, just right in the Word of God. So if you guys have your bibles on you, I want you to take it out and turn to the first epistle of John, chapter 2. We’re going to do 21 through 28.
So let’s start right here. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son. Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you have heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you have heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what He has promised us, eternal life. I write this to you about those who would deceive you, but the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, that you have no need that any one should teach you as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie. Just as it has taught you, abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence, and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming.
Understanding The Holy Spirit
This is amazing. This is actually, in the New Testament, it’s one of only two places that the anointing is mentioned in such a specific way. So I want to teach you just a little bit, I want to go through kind of the background of what the anointing is. The anointing in the Old Testament here – the kings were anointed, the priests were anointed, you know, David was anointed as this priestly king. So the anointing itself confers this function. We know that the anointing is the Holy Spirit Himself, even St. Irenaeus says this, that in the word “Christ” is implied “He who anoints, He who is anointed, and the unction with which He is anointed.” “Unction” is just another word for “anointing.”
So he says everyone should know that it’s the Father who anoints, the Son who is anointed – you know, we call Him the Christ, “the anointed one” – and it is the Holy Spirit who is the anointing. So we have to kind of ponder and dive into what does this mean about the anointing? What does this mean about the Holy Spirit? Because the only way that we really distinguish between the persons of the Trinity – Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit – is by their origin and their acts. So kind of what they’re doing. And, you know, God is purely spirit, and we know the Father because He is the Father; We know Jesus, we know He is the Son, and we know Him by who and what He is; And the Holy Spirit we know by kind of what He’s doing in our lives, and what He did in the participation in Jesus’ ministry. Or I guess, if you wanted to get more technical about it, all the way back in Genesis we see the Spirit hovering over the waters.
So what does this mean for us? The Holy Spirit is conferring this function by the anointing. So when someone is anointed, it confers this function on them. And here, John is saying that we have all received this anointing. And I want to kind of call our attention to Romans 8, where it says The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are the sons of God, that we are all made children of God, and this is part of the function that this anointing does to us. So we’re anointed, and we become sons in the Son. It brings out this true capacity that we have. Being made in the image of God, we have this capacity to have a real relationship with Him. And this distinguishes us particularly from the animals, but also, in a unique way, from the angels. We have this different kind of relationship, where we continue to grow and we’re transformed into the image of the Son.
So this is really the function that the anointing is having on each of us, but it doesn’t stop there. It doesn’t just mean that “Oh, we’re made children of God,” it’s specifically participating in Jesus’ filial relationship with the Father. So we’re meant to have this deep, transformative, intimate, unitive connection with the Father, and we know through all the Gospels that this happens through Jesus, through the hypostatic union, through God becoming man. So Jesus in His very person unites God and man. But then when He leaves, He says that “I will send you another advocate. It is expedient to you that I go, because if I do not go then I will not send the Paraclete to you. But if I go, then I will send you the Paraclete, and He will remind you of all the things that I have taught you.” That, of course, is a paraphrase, but it gets the point across that it was good for us that Jesus left, so that He could send us the Holy Spirit. So God becomes man and comes down, and this is our salvation. But He said it’s better for us that He would go and leave the Spirit with us.
So what is the Spirit really doing? You know, of course He’s anointing us, but He’s also reminding us of all of the things that Jesus taught us. You know, right there that we read in 1st John, it says that no man needs to teach you. The Holy Spirit will teach you Himself. And I feel like sometimes we take this for granted. We kind of picture the Holy Spirit as the images that we get in scripture, you know – He’s the dove that comes down, or He’s water which is gentle and cleans us, and then sometimes He’s fire, so it’s intense, and maybe we can associate that with some of our sufferings.
But I think what we really need to make this transition is John makes the clear distinction – and I want you to go back and read that, 1st John 2, 21-28 – John makes this clear distinction that the early church that he’s writing to, they knew the anointing. They knew the anointing so personally and intimately that, you see, the Holy Spirit kept Paul from going into Asia, the Holy Spirit came down and whisked Philip up – actually, like, transported him locations – Peter would talk about the Spirit communicating things to him. And this isn’t just the early church, this is meant for us. This is how we rely on the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a Person
So, ultimately, our goal here is we all talk about the personal relationship we have with Jesus, and many of us, especially as we go through healing, particularly those who have father wounds, we emphasize our relationship with God the Father. And of course, you know, Jesus is here to bring us into a relationship with God the Father, but the church has kind of moved away from the Holy Spirit, or maybe we just think of the Holy Spirit as some kind of cosmic deity, some power or energy that helps us, but we don’t think of the Holy Spirit as a person. The Holy Spirit we hear, yeah, the third person of the Trinity.
But I’ll say that one of the biggest changes, the simple… this priest told me one time: The Holy Spirit is not a thing, the Holy Spirit is a person. And maybe it was where the Lord had me in my personal and spiritual life at that point, but just hearing it put so simply – and, you know, the saints especially have this way of teaching us things in the simplest of ways – hearing the Holy Spirit is a person. And even though I was actually living and already trying to have a personal relationship with the Spirit, but that little distinction. The Spirit isn’t just going to be there to come and rest on you so that maybe you feel better about something, or maybe randomly you feel like something comes to your mind because the Holy Spirit’s prompting you. Yes, the Spirit can be gentle. Yes, the Spirit can speak in the quite whispers in our hearts. But also, we’re meant to have a day-to-day constant continual relationship with the Holy Spirit.
So something that I’d recommend is, each day, pray and talk to the Holy Spirit. Yeah, we use these great prayers – you know, “Come Holy Spirit,” the Veni Creator Spiritus, all these great, old traditional prayers – but also, just as you talk to the Father from the heart, just as you talk to Jesus in your heart, talk specifically to the Holy Spirit, and begin to develop a relationship with Him. This is just so crucial to your spiritual life, because we’re not meant to just live as good Catholics. You know, Jesus said that “Greater things than I will you do.”
Jesus Talks About The Holy Spirit
Well, how did Jesus do any of the things that He did in His entire ministry? You know, He goes and gets baptized, and He’s the one that the Spirit descends upon and remains, and everything that He goes and does – all the healing, His ministry, the exorcisms, all of these different things – He even says clearly “If I cast out demons by the finger of God, by the hand of God.” Maybe some of you didn’t know that that’s actually biblical language talking about the Holy Spirit. So Jesus is specifically saying “I’m doing all these miracles by the Holy Spirit.” How did His ministry start? The spirit came and led Him into the desert. So even Jesus is being led by the Spirit.
Well, then what happens there? He’s tempted against all of the worldly temptations. There’s the three-fold concupiscence that’s tested. You know, Jesus is tempted to turn the stones into bread – satisfying His physical hunger and, you know, the bodily functions, which even kind of transcends it. It also applies to things like lust. He is tempted to have all the kingdoms in the world, and have all this power – so, you know, pride, like “I want this.” The worldly possessions would be the temptation that is – so, you know, the things that we want. And then the third one is He’s tempted to go up to the pinnacle of the temple and throw Himself off so the angels would come and save Him – so really this, you know, “It all lies on Me” kind of mentality.
And what does Jesus do every time? He responds with the Word of God, He quotes Deuteronomy all the time, all three times, which is the book of the law. So the Holy Spirit, the law on our hearts, inspired Jesus to respond with the Word of God. And just as I said before, the anointing allows us to respond to the Word of God with faith. So now we’re responding to the Word of God and we’re living the Word of God. So as we go through the different temptations and the different sufferings, part of this, the Spirit reminding us of what Jesus has said, is also inspiring us with the Word of God, allowing us to form our lives according to it, and allowing us to call it to mind and stand on it. Really just uniting us to the word, which is so important.
The Bible is Full of Promises
Really, this book here, you know, the bible, it’s a book filled with promises. This is this great… you flip through and you have these promises of love and this beautiful, romantic story on every page, and God is just waiting for you to pray like Abraham and Moses did. He wants you to look at these promises and say “Yes.” The Father says “This is My promise to you.” He wants you to hold Him accountable. You know, that’s kind of how you tap into these promises.
If He says all things are going to work together onto good for those who love Him and are called accordingly to be saints, you encounter a difficulty, and with the anointing of the Holy Spirit you respond and you say “This is going to work out to good, because You promised me.” The Lord is really good about not breaking His promises. So if you go “Hey Lord, remember that time You said this to me?” You’re not really calling Him out in a bad way. He’s like “Oh good, you remembered. I wanted you to stand on this promise, because this is the grace that’s available to you.”
And this is the beauty of the Holy Spirit. We’re meant to be led into the desert, you know, the law of Universal Mortification, where Jesus says “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me.” Well, where did He go? He went into the desert, He went to the cross, and then He went to glory. So that’s us. We’re called into the desert; we’re called to deny ourselves, while being anointed by the Holy Spirit; we’re called to receive the grace to respond to those temptations and that suffering; we’re called to pick up our cross; and then we’re called to follow Jesus.
And Jesus is going to lead us to the crucifixion, and the Holy Spirit’s right there, leading us. So we shouldn’t be surprised by these things. But the whole time we see that we draw this strength, we draw the water from the well, we draw… some church fathers actually interpret that as, you know, drawing the Holy Spirit from the scriptures. You know, Jacob’s well, like we’re drawing that life-giving water. Jesus said that it would well up in you to spring up to eternal life. That’s the Holy Spirit and the Word of God just welling up in you.
Know the Presence
So, really, the point of all this is we need to have this intimate personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, you should communicate with Him, and you will experience Him. It’s not this passive thing. If I can really convey anything to you guys, it’s take the time to experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit every day. Do so through praise and worship, you know, if maybe you’re not that good at singing, that’s okay. Go and sing to yourself, when you’re singing to the Lord but by yourself, do the Psalms, pray the Rosary, but do so in a way that you’re inviting the Holy Spirit into the room with you.
You know, the Psalm actually says that the Lord is enthroned upon the praises of His people. So when you praise Him, you create this throne in your heart where you invite the Holy Spirit to come and dwell. But you do so in a way where you’re inviting Him into your home, into the room, into your heart, and into your life to walk by you as a teacher and a companion. You know, He’s going to teach you, just as Jesus said. But also, you’re meant to experience Him. God doesn’t want you to just completely rely on this invisible faith with no experience. We’re invited into a life, we’re invited into the life of the Trinity, which will ultimately happen perfectly in heaven, but we’re meant to taste it now.
You know, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is wisdom, and wisdom is actually the gift that allows us to taste of the divine mysteries of God. Knowledge and understanding help us to know and kind of get it, but wisdom allows us to taste it. So you really… you can feel the presence of the anointing. Sometimes maybe you’ll feel like a warmth. And, you know, there are many physical manifestations, but also that Spirit of peace. Also that just knowing the presence.
I’m sure I could say that many of you, you’re sitting in a room, and maybe you don’t hear somebody walk in but if, you know, it’s somebody that you know, somebody that you’re close with, if they walk into the room, you can feel their presence. You spend time with your loved ones, your friends and family that are close to you. You don’t need to be saying anything to each other, but you know what their presence feels like. And it’s the spiritual reality that all of us encounter, but maybe you can’t find the words to it.
That’s the kind of relationship you need with the Holy Spirit. Spend so much time with Him, and spend intimate time with Him, that you begin to know when His presence is there with you and when it’s not. When you walk into a church and you can feel it, or you pray so much in one of the rooms of your house that you go in there and immediately you’re like “Oh, the Lord is here with me.” That’s that relationship that you’re meant to have. And through that you’ll know that He’s with you, and you will actually receive grace to overcome things. When you’re suffering, you will actually receive the Spirit of consolation, this peace. And particularly, the most important thing is sanctification. What is meant, and we get to talk about redemptive suffering as well later on, but it’s just so important that we receive this sanctification, because we’re all called to holiness. And the true essence of holiness isn’t just looking like a good Catholic that kneels the right way, and has your hands folded the right way, and gets through all of your prayers. But ultimately, it’s being made into Jesus.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
I want to bring us back really quick, just to close it out. Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one. So us, as Christians, are little anointed ones. What it means to look like Jesus is to be completely covered and filled with the Holy Spirit. To go out and to participate in the same ministry that He did. Jesus’ ministry, just as St. Paul said later on, is not the ministry of condemnation; it’s the ministry of reconciliation. So we are meant to participate and be invited into reconciliation with God, to bring other people to this reconciliation, and also to bridge division between people. So we participate in bringing healing to others, and we will receive this deep inner spiritual and sometimes even physical healing from the Holy Spirit Himself. You know, He’s the comforter, He’s the one that will heal us.
So give Him some time, give Him the time in your day, and really stand on these promises that we talked about. Jesus promises in here that you’re going to go out and do greater things than Him, and His was a ministry of miraculous healing. So that’s what is available to you. Open this book and read it with the Holy Spirit every day. Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you, but also ask that you’ll be filled with that power. Because the Lord will use you, and He says the laborers are few. The best way to get used by the Lord is to put yourself into the position to be used by the Lord.
So that is my prayer for all of you. I truly pray that this relationship with the Holy Spirit would bring you into a deeper, more intimate relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, it would bring you some consolation, and it would help you to rise above all the challenges and difficulties in your lives. So I hope this meditation is something that really brings you to live that ascetical and mystical life that Jesus promises all of us. Let’s end with a prayer really quickly.
Heavenly Father, we thank You and we praise You for this time. I ask that You pour forth Your holy anointing and wisdom upon all of those that are watching this talk, that they would truly experience Your presence and Your love, they would overcome their sufferings and their difficulties, and that they would truly know You. And that they would see Your hand, the hand of God, the Holy Spirit, working in their lives, and working through them in powerful, mystical, and supernatural ways. And we thank You and we praise You, Lord Jesus. Amen. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Thank you, and God bless you.
About Joshua Mazrin
Joshua Mazrin is a Catholic speaker and writer. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville with a Bachelors and Masters in Theology, while also currently working on his PhD in Systematic Theology at Ave Maria University. Joshua also serves as Director of Evangelization for the Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida. You can learn more about him here.