O Heavenly King Dialog
written by Rev. Fr. Frank A. Milanese
The following is a hypothetical dialogue between a camper and the Holy Spirit, based on the Orthodox prayer;
O Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who are in all places and fills all things; Treasury of blessings and Giver of life: come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.
CAMPER (“C”): Gee, they’ve said I need to take some time to pray and get to know God. I’ve prayed in Church before, but this is my first time at camp. Well, I guess I can pray this prayer they gave me. It’s a prayer to the Holy Spirit, whoever that is. Boy, this is strange. I’ve never prayed by myself before. What should I do? I’m embarrassed for other people to hear me pray out loud. Maybe I’ll go down by that tree so I can be by myself.
Okay. Let me start: “O Heavenly King. . .”
HOLY SPIRIT (“HS”): Yes.
C: Yipes! Who said that?
HS: Who did you ask for?
C: I didn’t ask for anyone. I was just doing this prayer they gave me.
HS: What did you say?
C: I said, “O Heavenly King. . .”
HS: That’s who I am.
C: Wait a minute. You mean I’m talking to God?
HS: Yes. You are. I’m the Holy Spirit and I’m part of the Trinity. You called me when you began my prayer.
C: Hold on now. No one told me that I would be talking to God. I’m not sure I’m ready for this. I just want to be like everyone else and do what I’m supposed to while I’m here at camp.
HS: Well, what do you think you’re supposed to be doing here?
C: Have fun and learn about God.
HS: How do you learn about God?
C: I don’t know. People are supposed to teach us.
HS: Is that why they gave you that prayer?
C: I think so.
HS: What is prayer?
C: It’s. . . I don’t know. I guess it’s a way to talk to God.
HS: Good. Then why are you praying this prayer right now?
C: Because I’m supposed to.
C: (Pause, in disbelief) Because I’m supposed to talk to God???
HS: That’s a good start.
C: (Looking at watch) Hey, you know, I don’t have a lot of time. I just wanted to say my prayer and go to breakfast. This is taking too long.
HS: Okay then. Please continue with your prayer.
C: Let’s see. Where was I? Oh yes: “O Heavenly King, Comforter. . .”
HS: Do you know why I’m called the Comforter?
C: Is this going to take long?
HS: That depends on you.
C: On me? How?
HS: How much do you know about Me?
C: I don’t know anything about You.
HS: That’s not quite true. You know that I speak to people.
C: I do?
HS: I’m speaking to you aren’t I?
C: Oh yea. . . I guess this isn’t a dream.
HS: And I comfort people. I bring them God’s comfort; I bring them peace; I console them when they call me.
HS: Yes. That means to ease the grief or sorrow of someone who is hurting. That’s why I am called the Comforter. You know what else I’m called?
HS: The Spirit of Truth.
C: Hey, that’s the next line of my prayer: “O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth.”
HS: That’s right. I’m the one that leads people to the Truth about God and His Church.
C: I thought our counselors and priests did that?
HS: They do, but with My help.
C: Where did you get your truth?
HS: From God the Father. He gave it to Me and I give it to those who ask for it.
C: (Getting more interested) What else do you do?
HS: What does my prayer say?
C: Let’s see. (Looking) Oh, here it is: “Who are present everywhere and fills all things. . .” Wait a minute. You are present everywhere? Does that mean you see and hear what’s going on? Then you were there when George was making fun of his little sister?
HS: That’s right. And I heard what you said about your mom, too.
C: (Shocked) Whoa! You weren’t supposed to hear that. It was a private conversation.
HS: But you took me there.
C: No I didn’t. I never asked you to come. How could I? I don’t even know you.
HS: But I go everywhere you go. I live inside you.
C: You do??? (Looking) Where???
HS: Theologians have been trying to figure that out for centuries. Let’s just say that from the time you were baptized and chrismated, I’ve been with you wherever you go, and I’ve heard every word you’ve said. And guess what? When you pray silently, I hear those prayers, too.
C: You mean you can read my thoughts? Oh, boy am I in trouble. . .
HS: Let’s say that I can hear your silent prayers. Okay?
C: (Sigh of relief) Okay.
HS: And I fill all things. I want to fill you, too, if you let me.
C: I thought You were inside me. Doesn’t that mean that you fill me?
HS: Yes and no. Yes, I live inside you, but you control whether or not I fill you. And if you don’t know that I’m there, you can’t let me fill you. Lets pretend you have a bottle of perfume and put it on the table. That perfume is in the room, right.
C: Yea, right.
HS: Okay. But can you smell it? No. Not until you take the cap off the bottle. After a while the room is filled with the fragrance of the perfume. In fact, some people outside the room may be able to smell it, too. I live inside you, but you control whether or not I fill you. If you let me, I will fill you up inside, just like the perfume fills the room. I fill you when you let me control your life.
C: How do I do that?
HS: This isn’t an easy answer. But let me give you a picture that may help. Let’s say you have a ship and you are the captain. You have your hands on the rudder, steering the ship. I’m also in the control center of the ship with you, and I can help you steer because I know the ocean much better than you do. But I can only steer the ship if you take your hands off the rudder and allow me to steer your ship. This is an example of what it means to Walk in the Spirit. But we can talk more about this later on.
C: Okay. Hey Holy Spirit, what’s this next line mean; “Treasury of Blessings”? That sounds like I get something.
HS: That’s right. I hold all the blessings of the Trinity. God the Father has given me the authority to distribute His gifts to all the people.
C: What kind of gifts? I’ve been wanting that new Galactic MegaZord. Can you do anything about that?
HS: Sorry, I don’t do Toys-R-Us. No, My gifts are a little different. I help some people become teachers, others to become priests, and to many I give the gift of Service, or Helps. I have many gifts that I give, and I don’t always give the same gifts to everyone. But then you’re short on time, remember, why don’t you go on with your prayer.
C: (Really interested, now) But wait, I want to hear more. This is beginning to really get interesting.
HS: Tell you what. Let’s finish your prayer now, and tomorrow at your Quiet Time we’ll talk more. How’s that?
C: Okay. I can do that. Let’s see. The next line is, “and Giver of Life.” Let me guess, I’m alive today because of You? I thought my parents made me?
HS: They participated in your creation. They did their part, and I did mine, and you were born. That’s why marriage is very important, because it is a reflection of the Trinity. Man and Woman join together in marriage with God’s blessings. They join together spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The joy of their union reflects the joy God the Father has for them and wants them to have with Him. But that’s really another story we can talk about at another time.
I did my part when you were created. I also did my part when you were baptized and chrismated. I sealed your soul with a special mark that will help you get into heaven, if you protect it. I gave you this mark when the priest blessed you with the holy oil and said, “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This is a very special gift you received from me. You need to protect it so you don’t lose it.
C: I’m not sure I understand this part.
HS: Ask Me again toward the end of the week. We’re just warming up right now, and I think you’ll understand better later on. What’s the next line of your prayer?
C: “Come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain. . .” Hey, wait a minute. I thought you said you were with me all the time. Why does this prayer ask you to dwell in me?
HS: Remember what I said before about filling you? Well, let me give you another example for dwelling in you. Who’s your best friend?
C: C.J. He’s my buddy.
HS: How do you feel when he’s around?
C: I want to spend all my time with him.
HS: How do you feel when he has to go home?
HS: How about your little brother, Jimmy?
C: (Smug) What about Jimmy?
HS: How do you feel about him?
C: He’s a pest. He’s always wanting to do what C.J. and I do. Mom says I have to let him play with us, but I don’t like it.
HS: Both Jimmy and C.J. are around all the time. But you have something special with C.J. You have a deeper relationship with him. That’s what I want with you. I’m around all the time. But I want to be close to you like you are with C.J., and like you should be with Jimmy. But you have to want that. And you have to ask. Oh yes, remember when you threw Jimmy’s Legos in the mud puddle because you were angry with him? That’s what the second part of this line is for.
C: You mean the “cleanse us from every stain” part?
HS: That’s right.
C: Oh boy. I guess I have a lot to learn. (Listens to bell ring) Hey, they just rang the bell for breakfast.
HS: Then do the last line.
C: “And save our souls, O Gracious One.” I guess there’s more to being a Christian than just being baptized, isn’t there.
HS: Lots more. Your baptism was a new birth. And your spiritual life takes a lot of care, just like a new baby. But that’s why you’re here. If you let me, I can help you learn many new and exciting things this week. And I’ll go home with you and help you there, too. But you have to help Me. You have to listen, you have to follow, you have to do, you have to learn. If you do these things with My help, you’ll find out that you are a very special person with whom God is well pleased.
C: Gosh, You’ve told me so much. How can I remember all this stuff?
HS: Hmm. Well, you can memorize the Bible (look of anxiety on camper’s face), or you can go to a monastery for the rest of your life (look of wide-eyed shock on camper’s face), . . . Just kidding. Actually, knowing your Bible is a good start, and the monastic life is a wonderful blessing. But how about holding on to My prayer and praying it daily (look of relief on camper’s face)? I’ll help remind you when you need to remember something we’ve said. Okay?
C: Okay. Hey, this wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was kind of neat. Can I talk with you more tomorrow?
HS: Anytime you want. I’m here all the time. Bye for now.
C: Bye Bye.