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RECEPTION OF THE SPIRIT
Yesterday, the great feast of Pentecost, in celebrating the Church's reception of the Holy Spirit we celebrate also our own reception of the Holy Spirit. Of course, when we received the Holy Spirit into ourselves as individuals, it was because we were incorporated into the Church. In our sacramental life, receiving God into ourselves is accomplished in the same moment that we are united to the body of Christ, the Church.
The popular expression of having a "personal relationship" with God is rather reductive. Of course we must make our relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit a personal one. However, the term "personal relationship" makes it seem individualistic. We can only be in communion with our Lord insofar as we are united to his body. But this membership in the Church doesn't merely make us a single cog in a machine. Our incorporation into Jesus' body makes us true children of God.
As children of God, incorporated into the body of Christ by his Spirit, we are actually enabled to have that personal relationship with him. If we hope to remain in this relationship, though, we must enter ever more deeply into prayer. If we are going to love God eternally in heaven, it's time to start in this life. That personal relationship with God through the Church and the Spirit must be nurtured.