In celebration of Pentecost, we delve into the before and after effects of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. Specifically, focusing on Peter.

The Before: Peter’s Denial

Pentecost displays the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. The life of Peter is a striking example of this transformative power. We all remember Peter’s denial of Jesus three times before the Crucifixion. This moment of weakness and fear would remain etched in his memory, causing him deep sorrow and regret.

The After: Ministering at the Charcoal Fire

In a poignant turn of events, Jesus appeared to Peter after His Resurrection before Pentecost. This encounter became a place of ministering to Peter’s brokenness. Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him, giving Peter the opportunity to reaffirm his love and commitment. Through forgiveness and restoration, Peter experienced the power of God’s grace. This transformed him from a broken man to an empowered disciple. He was ready for Pentecost.

The Before: Fear and Insecurity

Following the Ascension of Jesus, the apostles remained in fear and uncertainty. They were unsure of what the future held for them and their mission to spread the Gospel. Excitement, hope, an apprehension filled the anticipation of Pentecost.

The After: Empowered by the Holy Spirit

Pentecost marked a profound turning point in the lives of the apostles. As they gathered in prayer, the Holy Spirit descended upon them in the form of tongues of fire. This empowering presence transformed them into bold and fearless witnesses. Confidence and conviction replaced the fear and insecurity that once held them back. Now they build the Church.

Receiving the Holy Spirit Today

The transformative power of the Holy Spirit through Pentecost is a powerful force in the lives of believers today. Through the charisms bestowed upon us, the Holy Spirit equips and empowers us to become instruments of God’s love. This is our own mini Pentecost. Like Peter, we all have moments of weakness and regrets. The Holy Spirit can minister to our brokenness and restore us to fulfill our purpose.

Learn more at Many Parts Ministries.

Jill Simons [00:00:00]:

Hello and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons and I’m the executive director at many parts ministries where we equip the body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re able to see how the Holy Spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the church. Let’s dive in.

Jill Simons [00:00:32]:

Welcome to our Pentecost special. I’m so excited to celebrate Pentecost with you. This is where it all began. This is the birthday of our church and this is the first time that spiritual gifts were handed out directly by the Holy Spirit. This is exactly what we are told by the person of Jesus to expect when he goes to the Father and he tells us that it’s better for you that I go to the Father, that he might send the Holy Spirit and that he might live in each of you. And so what I want to do today, just in a brief episode, I’m not going to make this overly study based, so I’m not going to be breaking open all of the meanings of the specific scripture versus where it talks about Pentecost. I’m just going to be looking at with you from the biblical telling as a whole, what do we see about the people before Pentecost and what do we see about them after? Let’s look at the apostles prior to receiving the Holy Spirit and let’s look at the apostles after receiving the Holy Spirit. And how can this enlighten our own view of what happens to us in the sacraments when we receive sacramental grace and are in touch in that powerful way with the person of the Holy Spirit? So let’s dive in. We have such beautiful storytelling around what is going on for all different people, what’s going on for Jesus, what’s going on for Peter, what’s going on for the apostles as a whole throughout this saga of the Passion of Christ? Right, we have people like Peter saying, I would never ever deny you. And then of course, that’s what he goes and does. And I’d like to kind of look at the person of Peter specifically because he’s such a great microcosm for what happens in everyone. I really wish that we had more textual. This is what the reality was for the Blessed Mother going through this time of her Son’s life and this time in the early church. I would love to know more about what her experience was through the Passion and during the time with the resurrected Christ and then her response to Pentecost. And we of course, know she was there, but we don’t know her details of her story, at least I don’t. Maybe people do. And this is a blind spot in my formation. So if you know more about our Blessed Mother’s kind of role in this story in a just clearer way than what we have in scriptures. I would love to hear about that, so please send me an email. But in general, I want to look at the person of Peter as kind of a microcosm of all of the apostles. So starting, of course, at the Last Supper, he is just very confident in himself, right? He has this strong, deep relationship with Charism. He has been his personal friend, this incredibly close friend, for years. And Christ says, this is going to happen. You’re going to deny me three times? And Peter is just like, what world are you living in, Jesus? This is a scriptural paraphrase, if you have not gathered that already. I am not using a specific translation of the Bible in this moment. This is a spirit of the text situation, because that’s Peter’s response, basically is, I would never how could you say that? That’s offensive that you would even say that about me. How dare you? Basically, and you think about this, this follows perfectly from our experience of human relationships. Like, if your spouse were to be like, well, you’re actually going to cheat on me in a few days, in a healthy relationship, you would expect to be like, what the heck? Why would you even say that? That’s so awful. I would never do that to you. And this is really one of the most powerful ways that we see the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church, as seen in the life of each individual in the church. Because, of course, we go through the evening of Holy Thursday and into Good Friday. Peter does exactly what Christ says he was going to do. He denies him three times. We reenact this every single year on Palm Sunday and also in the Good Friday service. And we read this heartbreaking account of this man who deeply loves his friend, denying his friend three times. And you look at, really, okay, what makes a person do that? It’s very tempting for us, myself included, to just be like, well, I wouldn’t do that. And I think we forget that we have this context of already having received the Holy Spirit. We’re playing with the deck of cards that Peter didn’t have at that time. He had lived with Jesus. He had been an intimate friend of Jesus, but ultimately did not yet have access to the real power of the Holy Spirit in him. Now, that said, even those of us with the Holy Spirit now living today would be hard pressed to truly say with any degree of accuracy how we would have responded in that situation. I’ll be the first to admit that I would like to say I would never do that. But the truth is, I don’t know, because I am just as fallen, more so, perhaps, than Peter. And there is no way to know what I would actually bring to the table at the worst of myself in that moment and to really hold on to that humility and awareness that it’s only through intimacy with the Holy Spirit that we are empowered to do hard things like that. And that is where the hope then comes from. I’m not advocating for like, oh, my gosh, I’m just the worst, and I’m going to wallow and sit in that. But to recognize me without the Holy Spirit, probably exactly the same as Peter, maybe worse, there’s no reason to think I would be any different. But with the Holy Spirit now we have a leveler playing field. Now if I’m entering into a hardship like that, then we see the possibility for what, of course, is soon to come in the life of Peter. So I don’t want to jump the gun too prematurely, but we have him denying the person of Christ, feeling, of course, completely awful about this. Like, what a heartbreaking thing to realize that weakness to be highlighted in yourself. And then you have Peter’s first interaction with Christ after the Resurrection. This is my husband’s favorite story in the Gospels, and I am so thankful that he loves it so much because I would have totally just let it slip by and not really sat with it except for the fact that he loves it so much. So I’m very thankful for his insight around it and the fact specifically that there’s a charcoal fire. And these are the two charcoal fires we have in Scripture. There’s the charcoal fire that they’re sitting around on Holy Thursday evening when Peter first denies Jesus. And then Christ is at a charcoal fire, of course, after the Resurrection, coming to Peter fishing and at that fire, how Jesus goes with us to that place of our greatest weakness and sits with us there. And that’s really one of the big things I take away from it, is that our greatest weakness becomes a place not to avoid, but a place to encounter Christ. And that’s exactly the experience that Peter has. And so we still see some fear intrepidation in Peter encountering Christ because he knows what he did. And we also experienced this right when you are encountering someone that you’ve wronged, we know what we did, and there’s a very real anxiety that goes hand in hand with that. But then what do we see? After the Ascension, God Jesus comes in his risen form and really ministers to Peter in the place of his brokenness. But like all of the other apostles, there’s very real fear that remains after the Ascension. And that’s where we have them hiding for fear of the Jews. These apostles kind of barricaded in together, praying, doing what they know, praying the way that Jesus taught them, we would assume, because they specifically asked Jesus to teach them how to pray in the Gospels, praying together from a place of fear. They are locked away in an upper room to protect themselves, to put a locked door between themselves and the people who they worry want to come against them. And of course, we all know the story of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit falls in tongues of fire and the spirit in these men and women is broken open in a way that is unlike anything that we see in the rest of Scripture. Old Testament, New Testament, you name it. And of course it continues throughout the New Testament. So that’s kind of a turning point in the New Testament. When the Holy Spirit comes and rests upon the apostles, now we get a chance to look at the after. The fear is gone, the desire to hide is gone. The desire to self protect is gone. There is a freedom in them and in their action that would have been unthinkable 20 minutes before. And that is how stark the contrast should be in our own lives when we look at ourselves without the Holy Spirit versus ourselves in the Holy Spirit. I love the fact that it is a much more frequent thing to pray for a new Pentecost now and I love that that’s a push within the church. But I think it’s also really important to look at how Pentecost has already been manifest in ourselves. And sometimes the thing that keeps us from experiencing the reality of Pentecost in our own lives is the fact that we never unlock the door. We stay in the upper room, let the Holy Spirit come to us and then just kind of go back to our lives. We stay locked away where we feel comfortable and in control of what can come against us and never really test out what the Holy Spirit has placed inside of each of us. I think about people that are really into gosh, this is going to be so outside of my knowledge. And so those of you that love cars are going to just cringe. But I think about Lamborghinis and Porsches and Ferraris and luxury vehicles that just have much more capacity for speed than your standard Buick, how there is really something kind of a loss of potential if you have a Lamborghini that just sits in your garage. There is a capability there that never gets exercised. And so kind of what is the benefit of having it? That leads into a much larger conversation about people that have just massive amounts of cars that they could never drive, which is totally outside of what I want to talk about today. But it’s the same kind of thing when the Holy Spirit is just in you, but hanging out and kind of locked up in the upper room. What’s the point of that? What’s the benefit there that doesn’t require any faith, that doesn’t create any space for the Holy Spirit to move? And so here’s where I want to invite you to place charisms in this scenario. Like I say over and over again, charisms and charism discernment is not the only means to get at these spiritual realities. But I think it’s really helpful if you are a person who has received the Holy Spirit, which if you are baptized, you have, and you are not experiencing a lot of supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. I want to encourage you to reflect on the fact that you might still be locked in the upper room where there is no one to minister to, where there is no risk, where there is no space for the Holy Spirit to spread its wings, if you will. What your charisms can do is create a place to feel a little bit more comfortable, to unlock that door and come out and be in a certain sphere. There is something terrifying for a huge sector of the population about having the Holy Spirit fall on you and running out to do some public speaking. That’s not going to be motivating to everybody. Me, I’m like, give it to me. Like, I want to do that right now. I want to go learn to speak every single language and speak in as big a forum as you will. Give me God to whoever will listen to me. That is my jam, because you’ve created me this way. But that is not everybody’s jam. My sweet and wonderful mother would be like, please don’t make me do that. And that would not be her jam. And so I fear sometimes no, but that’s not good. We don’t want to fear. I wonder sometimes that’s much more positive. I’m curious if people stay locked in the upper room because the expression of the Holy Spirit, specifically that we see in Pentecost is freaking terrifying to them and that is not something that they want. I think that the story of Pentecost is incredible, no matter who you are. But I think it’s also important to make the space to talk about the fact that your experience of an indwelling of the Holy Spirit doesn’t necessarily look exactly like the apostles. Yours might be one of the other charisms, several of the other charisms that don’t necessarily go jump on a stage and speak in other languages and do all these public kinds of things. And that reality that acknowledgment can make some space for people to open the door to the Holy Spirit in their own lives, their own expression of pentecost, when they realize that that is not the standard issue call for all people. That every single person is not called to be a public speaker and a ministry leader and a priest or dre or whatever. That there are thousands of unique calls based on unique combinations of charisms and yours is going to fit you. I think we don’t talk about that enough. The fact that yours is going to be for you based on you, not in spite of you, it’s going to be something that God has created you for. And so your temperament and your people skills and your comfort levels are all going to feed into that. Not in that you’re always going to be perfectly equipped and comfortable and et cetera, but there’s at least going to be that desire within you to do the thing that God is calling you to do. And so if you don’t feel a desire for things that you feel like are of the Holy Spirit, I’d love to shift the lens a little bit to recognize the fact that that is still the Holy Spirit, but that might not be the expression of the Holy Spirit that he is calling you into. But of course, what does the devil want to do? Look at that. Look at the speaking. Look at the public speaking. Public speaking is what the Holy Spirit is about and just keep you fixated on what keeps you paralyzed. We want to reject that lie. The Holy Spirit comes and shows Himself in all kinds of different ways. And so I invite you on this pentecost or whenever you’re listening to this, to recognize and remember the fact that the Holy Spirit wants to be made present in you through who you are and the gifts that he has given to you. And if that’s not public speaking, if that’s not a public ministry, if that’s not something that everyone knows about, that is okay. That is just as valid, just as needed, just as inspired by the Holy Spirit as what happens in the Book of Acts.

Jill Simons [00:18:39]:

Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics.

Jill Simons [00:18:44]:

If you would like to learn more.

Jill Simons [00:18:45]:

About your charisms or begin your own discernment journey, head to our website@manypartsministries.com where you can download our free PDF guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our Charism assessment.