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Blog 6: Be Transformed - Anointed with Power

By: Dr. Bob Schuchts

 

You will receive power when the 

Holy Spirit comes upon you and

you will be my witnesses.

Acts 1:8

The Grace of Confirmation 

All who of us have been baptized, confirmed, or ordained are anointed by the Holy Spirit and commissioned to assume an active share in Jesus’ mission.  Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the household preacher for the last three popes, explains: “Anointing is not an act, but rather a state or mode of being and behaving and, so to say, a whole style of living.”7 That is a beautiful description of the sacraments, isn’t it? They are not just events but a mode of being and a “whole style of living.” Through them we are united with Jesus to share in his identity and carry out his mission. We, too, are empowered to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, release to the prisoners, and to comfort all who mourn. This is how we are called to live the grace of Confirmation in our lives. It is not just an event that happened years ago, but a “mode of being” and “whole style of living,” today and every day.

Your Mission: Isaiah 61

This understanding that we all share in Jesus’ anointing and mission became much more real to me about twenty years ago when a missionary team from New York City visited our parish in Florida to offer a five-day parish renewal. In preparing for the first night, the presenting team asked me if I would be willing to proclaim Isaiah 61 to start the mission. They requested I speak without a microphone as though I stood in the place of Jesus speaking in the synagogue after his baptism. 

When I stood up, the church was dark, and I began to proclaim boldly: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.” As the words came out of my mouth, I felt the power of the Spirit rush through me and through the words I was speaking. I trust others could feel his presence, too, because the mission team asked me afterward if I would proclaim it again for the next four nights. It turned out to be an amazing experience for me personally (and I hope for others, too). Each time I stood up to proclaim these words from Isaiah 61, the message became more indelibly etched in my mind and heart. I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me, “This is not just Jesus’ mission, but yours as well—and every other Christian who has been baptized and confirmed.”

Your Identity - Anointed One

Does that include you? If so, I invite you to allow these realities to be indelibly etched in your mind and heart. Allow the name anointed one to become part of your fundamental identity. If you have been baptized and confirmed in Christ, the same Holy Spirit who anointed and empowered Jesus dwells in you and acts through you. You are the Father’s beloved. Jesus’ abiding presence remains with you. You are anointed with the full power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ mission has become your mission. You are anointed to proclaim the Good News, to heal the brokenhearted, to set the captives free, and to comfort all who mourn. You don’t need to worry about feeling inadequate—he has given you his own power to overcome your powerlessness.

Unlimited Strength

The apostle Paul understood these realities and lived them confidently, remarking: “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me (Phil 4:13). The same Holy Spirit who enabled Jesus to love so completely gave St. Paul and each one of us the ability to lay down our lives for our friends and to bless our enemies. The power of the Holy Spirit enabled Jesus to heal, perform miracles, and even raise the dead. That same Spirit in St. Paul and in us gives us the capacity to do the same things.

The power that moved Jesus with compassion for the needy and gave him the courage and strength to go to the cross dwells in us and enables us to be compassionate and to take up our cross and follow him. This same Spirit, who kept Jesus free from sin, convicts us when we sin and gives us the capacity to become whole and holy, in union with him. There are no limits to what we are capable of doing because of this anointing power from the Holy Spirit that we have received through the sacraments. We are no longer powerless, as long as we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

Excerpts from pages 74-76 of Be Transformed.

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