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“Baptism in the Holy Spirit” Defined

Question:

What is the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and how does it relate to our baptism and confirmation?

Answer:

This expression “baptism in the Holy Spirit” is used in the charismatic renewal to refer to an experience of an intensified awareness of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. This presence and power can be manifested in various bodily ways. Even so, the use of the word baptism can lead to a misunderstanding, since this experience is not a sacrament instituted by Christ but rather a new awareness of the life given to Christians in the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. Thus there is no obligation or expectation for any Catholic to have the experience called “baptism in the Holy Spirit.”

Some commentators among the spiritual writers of the Eastern Church have gone so far as to say that the common current understanding of “baptism in the Holy Spirit” and its manifestations is incorrect, and that what is needed in the Church is the practice of constant prayer of the heart, which is the real praying in the Spirit, or baptism in the Holy Spirit.

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