What is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is essentially that which happened to the 120 disciples when the Holy Spirit descended on them on the day of Pentecost as in the Book of Acts. Besides the inner experience of peace, joy and love, Baptism in the Holy Spirit also signifies the reception of some of the charisms (see 1 Corinthians 12:1-11), especially the gift of tongues. This spiritual experience is called ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit’, the ‘Outpouring of the Holy Spirit’ or the ‘Release of the Holy Spirit’ and is usually experienced through prayer and the laying on of hands by other Charismatics, but can occur spontaneously to an open heart, especially during Charismatic Praise and Worship, or even at home by asking for it with faith-filled expectation!
To be baptised in the Holy Spirit can, for Catholics, be seen as an internal experience of the release of the power of the Holy Spirit received at Baptism and Confirmation, filling and transforming the person as they intentionally open their hearts and lives to God in a new and deeper personal surrender. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us CCC1213 “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit…” 1302 “…. the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost” and CCC1309 “Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit – his actions, his gifts, and his biddings – in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life.” This is how the Charismatic Renewal first started in 1967- a group of Catholic students on retreat asking for the graces of their Confirmation to come alive in them!
In the Book of Acts sometimes things happened the other way around! Some people were Baptised in the Spirit first and then went on to receive water Baptism.This still happens today! If this wonderful experience has happened to you we encourage you to go and talk to a Priest and receive the sacraments of initiation!
The is how Steve Clark, a pioneer in the Renewal and author of a number of books, explains the Baptism in the Holy Spirit: “What then is it to be baptised in the Holy Spirit? Perhaps the most obvious description of what happens when a person is baptised in the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit comes to him in a way that he can know it. As a result of this coming of the Holy Spirit, he experiences a new contact with God.”
The effects of Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit can be a dramatic experience for some, but not for all. It all varies from person to person but it produces the same fruit. The life changing experience gained by those who undergo the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is evident from what Fr Raniero Cantalamessa said: “I had two lives; one before the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and one after.”
The effects of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit are manifold:
• A deepening awareness of the presence and love of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ
• A growth of intimacy with God in prayer
• A hunger for God’s Word and the Sacraments
• A love for the Church
• A new power and desire to witness
• A growth in the fruit of the Spirit… peace, love, joy.
• Manifestations of charismatic gifts such as the gift of tongues.
• An experience of the promptings and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
• An awareness of the reality of spiritual warfare.
• A conviction and call to ongoing sanctification and holiness.
• A desire for Christian unity.
• A call to serve the needs of others.