The Grace of the Holy Spirit


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

Following the Ascension of the Lord, the apostles remained together in prayer in one accord. On the tenth day, the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit visibly descended upon them in the form of fiery tongues, and His special activity was manifested in a special gift, when the apostles began to preach the word of God in various languages with special strength and grace.

People of every tongue, gathered that day in Jerusalem, suddenly began to understand the apostles’ speech, although most of them were from Galilee. This event marked the birth of the Church of God; the community of the apostles—the disciples of Christ—was filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:1-6).

The entire history of the Church is the history of the work of the Holy Spirit. The saints, the Holy Fathers, the teachers of the Church dedicated their entire lives to acquiring the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Divine grace, to preserving it and to saving it from toxic impurities, false teachings, and sinful filth. They gave their entire lives to this, like the apostles, and like all of us gathered in this church of God today are called to do.

The divine apostles began to speak in various tongues, and some people didn’t understand this properly or wickedly tried to mock it, saying, These men are drunk on sweet wine (cf. Acts 2:13). This attitude is also familiar to us; people, including our loved ones, with whom we have been associated for many years by a common life or work, and even good deeds, often suddenly begin to mock Christians when we begin to speak in the language of Divine love, unfamiliar to them.

The Holy Spirit works in Christians, but people deprived of such grace can neither understand nor tolerate it, but try to ridicule it, often from their misunderstanding. But the Spirit of Divine grace also works on them—we just have to show apostolic zeal and labor to bring this Divine grace to the entire world.

The Holy Spirit unites and heals people from blindness and endows them with true strength and health of soul. He heals everything around Himself; but on the contrary, a diabolic spirit destroys, ruins, defiles, and poisons everything. We see how the “little Church”, the family, is suffering now. Why? Firstly, from a lack of the grace of the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Holy Spirit leaves our hearts through our negligence, and the devil comes and suggests various terrible, disgusting thoughts and sins: mistrust, evil, envy, cunning, and greed; the spirit of lust and greed engulf us more and more.

We try to combine the grace of the Divine Spirit and the service of this world within ourselves, but it’s impossible, just as it’s impossible to mix pure spring water and used engine oil or fuel—it doesn’t yield anything; the source of Divine grace is defiled and “living water” no longer flows from our bellies, as Christ said: He that believeth on Me … out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (Jn. 7:38). We heard this in today’s Gospel.

Rivers of Divine grace… We often block up these rivers by our sinful lives, we heap them over with rocks, as the blasphemers did in soviet times with holy springs. We fill them with the dirt of sin and decay, and these sources fade within us.

On the day of the Holy Trinity, as on the Nativity and Pascha, there is a noticeably large group of people in church, and many of them, quite obviously, are not very churched people. On the day of the Holy Trinity, the Divine Spirit, still living in these people, raises them from sinful sleep and makes them come, sometimes literally crawling to church. Like wounded soldiers in the desert, these people, wounded by their own sins, are crawling in the desert of sin towards the fountain of Divine grace, to cleanse their spring of dirt, corruption, sin, and demonic poison.

It is very comforting that the Lord shows us a miracle again: The Divine Lifegiving Holy Spirit descends upon us all together with the apostles; and we, united together and in spite of our sins, “with one heart and one mouth sing of the eternal Father and the co-eternal Son and the All-Holy and co-eternal Spirit, the Trinity, Consubsantial, Life-creating, and Undivided.”


Hieromonk Ignaty (Shestakov)
Translated by Jesse Dominick


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