Holy Spirit, Baptism in

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Impetus to a greater appreciation of the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life has come through the charismatic renewal. While better classified as a renewal in the Holy Spirit than a devotion to him, the movement stresses the experiential nature of faith and finds support in those Scripture passages that speak of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Stress is laid on an initial experience popularly called the "baptism in the Holy Spirit," accompanied by the expectation of some charismatic manifestation, such as praying in tongues or prophecy. Precedents for this relationship between the Holy Spirit as Gift and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are seen especially in Acts. How the charisms and the Sacraments of Christian initiation are related is a matter of current theological discussion. In practice, the "baptism in the Holy Spirit" (also sometimes referred to as "infilling" or "release" of the Holy Spirit) is experienced as a new departure in the Christian life effected usually through prayer and the laying on of hands by other Christians. The central and unique characteristic of the charismatic movement is the relation perceived between this renewal in the Holy Spirit and the charisms. With the encouragement of Paul (1 Cor 14.1), the gifts are actively sought. Those listed in 1 Cor 1214 are held to be available today, such as tongues, prophecy, healing, the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom (see charismatic prayer). Yielding to these gifts is seen as a way of cooperating with the renewing work of the Spirit.

Theological Explanations. Among the theological explanations of this relationship, there are those who would explain it as an unfolding of the sacramental grace particularly of Baptism and Confirmation. Note is taken of the fact that the reception of the Spirit in Acts is always accompanied by a charismatic manifestation. Others seek an understanding of the relationship in a more general theology of grace, for which the praying community as such would be sufficient ecclesial cause. In discussing the missions of the divine persons, specifically the sending of the Son and the Spirit into the soul of the Christian, St. Thomas Aquinas says that such a sending "is especially seen in that kind of increase of grace whereby a person moves forward into some new act or some new state of grace: as, for example, when a person moves forward into the grace of working miracles, or of prophecy, or out of the burning love of God offers his life as a martyr, or renounces all his possessions, or undertakes some other such heroic act" (Summa theologiae 1a, 43.6 ad 2). It is significant that the sending he speaks of is not the initial sending, but a subsequent "breakthrough" into a new experience of grace. It is further significant that the examples Aquinas gives of such an innovatio or profectus are connected with charismatic manifestation. These two aspects correspond to the charismatic experience as it is described and lived today by many Christians. It further appears that the division of grace into sanctifying (gratia gratum faciens ) and charismatic (gratia gratis data ), which in the past often led to a disregard for the latter in favor of the former, should be made with great caution, since what is aimed at building up the Church will normally also be related to a personal growth in grace (ibid.43.3 ad 4). To seek the gifts and to yield to them may thus be as important an exercise for spiritual growth as practices of asceticism. The gifts are, at any rate, calculated to expand the community's experience of God as gift.

Although the charisms are sought as particular manifestations of the Spirit, the charismatic movement has a strong Christocentric devotional base, so that the Holy Spirit appears more as a power moving the Church through his gifts than as an object of devotion in himself.

Bibliography: d. l. gelpi, Charism and Sacrament: A Theology of Christian Conversion (New York 1976). k. mcdonnell, The Holy Spirit and Power: The Catholic Charismatic Renewal (New York 1975). g. t. montague, The Spirit and His Gifts (New York 1974); The Holy Spirit: Growth of a Biblical Tradition (New York 1976). e. d. o'connor, Perspectives on Charismatic Renewal (Notre Dame, Ind. 1975) extensive bibliography. l. j. suenens, A New Pentecost? (New York 1975); Theological and Pastoral Orientations on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (Notre Dame, Ind.1974). f. sullivan, "The Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Christian Tradition." New Covenant 3 (May 1974) 30.

[g. t. montague]

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