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Ivonne J. Hernandez recalls a pivotal moment in her relationship with God.

Send Your Spirit, Lord, and transform us interiorly with Your gifts. Create in us a new heart that we may please You and be conformed to Your will. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (From the Chaplet of the Holy Spirit by soon-to-be-canonized Blessed Elena Guerra) 


A sense of joy in the presence of God

We never know when or how God is going to lift the veil and make Himself known to us … but when He does, the memory is etched forever in our soul.  

The year was 1998 (as best I can recall). We had just moved to a new city. I was staying home with two young boys and did not know anyone. I saw an announcement on the parish’s bulletin about a prayer group meeting that week, so, desperate for some friends, I decided to go. I walked into the chapel and sat in one of the pews up front. I don’t remember much about the meeting, other than a woman was singing and she had a beautiful voice. I remember I closed my eyes to listen when something started to fill me up. I remember this sense of peace and joy overtaking me, and my mouth, involuntarily, turned into a smile.

As I left that night and went back home, I could not wipe the silly grin from my face. When I got home, Rick asked me why I was smiling like that, and I don’t remember what I said … I think I tried to explain, but I couldn’t find the words. I just remember feeling like I was on a cloud, and it lasted for about three days.

When the feeling wore off, I was determined to find it again, and so my search began. I would spend the next few years searching, seeking, for that fragrance; I knew I was searching for God.  

You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. (St. Augustine, Confessions


Experiencing Love Personified

This encounter with the Holy Spirit was a pivotal moment in my relationship with God. Experiencing Love Personified changes you forever. Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom… The Spirit of Truth, being welcomed, makes Himself known in your soul. A longing, a thirst, a hunger develops and grows. It leads from within. It wakes up the conscience… you become aware of the battle for your soul. 

“But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears and will declare to you the things that are coming.” (John 16:13) 




The Holy Spirit is not a bird, is not fire, is not water … He is a Person; He is God.  

The Holy Spirit has a mission since he is sent … The eternal Word has a mission as Savior, while the Holy Spirit has one as Sanctifier of souls … He dwells in us … This is his dwelling place of love. While he remains there, he’s not idle. What is he doing? The primary mission of the Holy Spirit is to inspire us, to be the inspiration that reveals our Lord and makes him known to us… What is his mission? To guide us. It is our duty to consult him, to place ourselves under his direction, to do nothing without him … His additional mission is to sanctify us, not merely enlightening us, but making us grow in holiness. He is the sanctifying Spirit, who explains the graces of Jesus Christ in us. This is his mission. Sterile in himself, the Holy Spirit bears fruit in our souls. (St. Peter Julian Eymard:Paris, Saturday, June 7, 1862, Vigil of Pentecost) 


The Holy Spirit had always been with me, but I did not know Him. It was that same Spirit who led me to that little Chapel, for it was there, by the light of the Tabernacle, where He wanted to reveal to me His glory, so that, when that memory resurfaced, it would have a name, a place, a sound, a smell … it was a tangible experience of the Presence of God. 

Pentecost is not over. In fact it is continually going on in every time and in every place, because the Holy Spirit desires to give Himself to all men, and all who want Him can always receive Him, so we do not have to envy the Apostles and the first believers; we only have to dispose ourselves like them to receive Him well and He will come to us as He did to them. (Blessed Elena Guerra


That evening back in 1998, I entered that little chapel looking for friendship and left filled with the Spirit of God. A group of pilgrims welcomed me, a stranger, and allowed me to find my way home.  


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Copyright 2024 Ivonne J. Hernandez
Images: Canva
This article was first published in the Elisheba Blog. It is published here with permission.