What is ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit’?

Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the ‘primary’ grace of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Experiencing this Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a key part of what makes somebody a renewed person or a Charismatic.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an action of God, invited by an individual through prayer, which brings about a deeper conversion to Christ, and which gives the Holy Spirit permission to work in that individual’s life in a more powerful way.

This powerful action of the Holy Spirit is often accompanied by the ‘charisms’ or ‘gifts’ of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of St Paul.

It might help to think of this experience like inviting a good friend to move in with you. You begin to discover more about your friend, and open up some of your own more private thoughts and feelings to them. Being alongside somebody like this brings joy, and having your friend encouraging you, you may grow in the courage to experience new interests and skills you never knew you had! In short, the experience transforms the way you view life.

The Baptism in the Spirit is not a Sacrament, but it does revitalise and stir up the graces received in the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism and Confirmation).

Some people consider that in the Early Christian Community, Baptism was such a powerful event in the individual’s life that there was no need for a new stirring up of the Spirit as we need today. In fact, Baptism was only conferred on adults after a lengthy period of catechesis, and only then if there were clear signs of a transformation and conversion in an individual’s life.

The Baptism in the Spirit doesn’t only re-ignite the graces already given to Christians through the Sacraments – it’s also a new, fresh experience of the Holy Spirit which equips and inspires the individual for service, for mission, for discipleship and for life.