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God the Holy Spirit
In the Church, we, the baptised are united in faith, belief, love and service because the Spirit draws us to Christ. The Church becomes, in the world, guided constantly by the Holy Spirit, and filled with the Gifts of the Spirit...
Date: 23 Feb 2020
To speak of the Holy Spirit we might begin with a useful but (because we are speaking of God) wholly inadequate image. From all eternity God the Father gives all he has to God the Son and God the Son in loving gratitude returns all He has received to the Father. There is never a time when the Father and Son do not exist in this loving communion of gift. What is given, received and returned between them is everything they have, it is the fullness of God, it is God, it is God the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is the loving personal communion, the essence of divine life, between Father and Son at the heart of God.
God the Holy Spirit communicates to us, gives us, pours into our hearts, this divine life and love which comes from the Father and is revealed to us by Jesus, the Son made man.
In the sense that even human love opens your heart to see and recognise things that you could not see before - so God the Holy Spirit, Divine love, enables us to see and recognise Jesus who makes known God’s love to us. In this sense God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are inseparable. In sending the Son the Father also sends the Spirit who makes the Son known.
Just another inadequate but useful image. The Holy Spirit is like light. We don’t notice the light but we can only see because of light.
It is Jesus who in the Gospels gives the name Holy Spirit and Our Lord also use the names Advocate and Consoler. Also throughout the Old and New Testaments many images are used to describe the Holy Spirit, water, oil, cloud and light, the hand, the finger, a mark (or seal) a dove, fire and wind. These names and images help to make clear to us that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift of everything.
Throughout his life on earth Jesus speaks about the Spirit, on the eve of his passion he promises the Spirit and after his resurrection and ascension he sends the Spirit upon the Church. The gift of the Spirit contains all; It brings about in us, through baptism and the Sacraments the redemption Jesus won for us, repairing the damage of original sin, remaking us in the image of God, making us adopted children of God and enabling the gift of Divine love and its effects to grow within us. Taken from scriptures the church traditionally lists some these fruits as Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Courage, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord, love, Joy, Peace, Charity, Kindness, Goodness, Forbearance, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Self-Control and Chastity. It takes a lot of words to describe the effects of Divine love in our hearts.
The best way to grow in understanding and love of God the Holy Spirit is to read and pray about the many events in scriptures where the Holy Spirit is mentioned. In creation, the promises, the giving of the law and especially the work of the prophets proclaiming the coming of the Messiah and a new Spirit. St. Peter proclaiming the fulfilment of the prophets on Pentecost. Filled with the Spirit from Elizabeth’s womb the Baptist announcing Christ. Mary full of the Holy Spirit becoming the dwelling place for the Father’s Son and by the power of the Spirit Mary makes manifest the Son, bringing him into the World. And of course the many times Jesus speaks of the Spirit, especially in St John’s Gospel.
From Pentecost, 50 days after his crucifixion, about a week after his ascension Jesus promise to send the Holy Spirit was fulfilled, since then, the followers of Jesus, us, the Church share in the mission of Christ and the Spirit. In the Church, we, the baptised are united in faith, belief, love and service because the Spirit draws us to Christ. The Church becomes, in the world, guided constantly by the Holy Spirit, and filled with the Gifts of the Spirit, the place where the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is seen, revealed and brought about.
Next week we will begin to look exactly at what we mean by ‘The Church’