Man’s Best Friend

Despite what many dog lovers may believe, it turns out that man’s best friend is not our canine companions, although they are certainly high on the list.

Instead, the greatest friend to man is someone most of us spend precious little time getting to know, and this ‘Person’ was someone whom Jesus Christ introduced us to before He ascended to the Father. In fact, it was His going away Gift. It is of course the Holy Spirit. 

“But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.” (John 15:26)

And not only would the Holy Spirit come to serve as our advocate and truth bearer, but far more importantly, and something we all need to be reminded of, the Holy Spirit would come with power. This power is at the disposal of each and everyone of us, if we would only use it, like the early Apostles.

“And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.” (Acts 8:6-8)

Make no mistake, this power had a specific purpose, and it was intended to be put to use.

 “For our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

There is a great deal of talk these days, in Christian circles at least, about the need for a new evangelization, a need to perhaps begin again to spread the message of the Gospel. There is a recognition, on the part of many, that society is slipping away from an understanding of and dependence on God in our modern lives. And therefore, it is sometimes argued, we must find new and better methods for spreading the message of the Gospel.

There are, of course, no shortage of methods and means of communication for this purpose. We have long had books and writing, but now we have radio, television, podcasts, websites and all manner of social media for getting the word out and spreading the Gospel. There is nothing wrong with any of this, and it should all be put to the full disposal and use of evangelization. 

But unless we allow the Holy Spirit to do this work of spreading the Gospel, it will not succeed. The power for all of what we may desire to do as witnesses of the Gospel, and for what we may desire to experience individually within our communities, our families or within our own lives – this power and guidance can only come from the Holy Spirit. This is precisely the power and wisdom Jesus Christ instructed us to draw on when He promised us the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

The burning question is – do we live with this power today in our lives? 

Do we experience it? 

Do we sense it, or for that matter, do we even really desire to tap into and use this power?

The power of the Holy Spirit is the power through which people are healed.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,” (1 Corinthians 12:4-9)

The power of the Holy Spirit is the power through which we experience three of the greatest gifts Jesus promised us – hope, joy and peace.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Most especially and most importantly, if we wish to be guided and strengthened by this power, we must recognize and acknowledge that it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us even how to pray as we should, and how we can make our prayer truly effective.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)

This week, may we all at least consider praying the following simple prayer on Wednesday night, and maybe for the rest of this week. May we allow the Holy Spirit to both direct our thoughts and actions, and also provide each of us with the consolation we most need right now.

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You.
Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me.
Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders.
I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me
and to accept all that You permit to happen to me.
Let me only know Your Will.

Copyright © 2020 by Mark Danis

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About the Author

Mark Danis

Mark Danis, OCDS, is co-host of the weekly radio program, Carmelite Conversations, which aired internationally for six years on the Radio Maria network. The program focuses on the method and blessings of contemplative prayer practiced in the in our busy day to day lives. Episodes can be streamed at

Mark's primary ministry is providing teaching and spiritual direction in contemplative prayer and removing the obstacles to prayer. He is grounded primarily in the teachings of the Carmelites, most especially St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

Mark is a popular speaker and often gives large-group presentations and retreats on Prayer and Carmelite spirituality. He also writes a weekly reflection on prayer for a large nation-wide prayer community, and he leads a weekly prayer group focused on the Teresian Method of Prayer. Mark's most recent appearance was at the 2018 OCDS Congress where he delivered a powerful message to more than 400 Secular Carmelites.

Mark attended St. Michael’s college in Winooski, Vermont, where he received his undergraduate degree in English Literature. He later received a masters degree in theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

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