CLASS 7A – THE HOLY SPIRIT
I. "The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of His Son, is truly God. Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and His gift of love for the world." Catechism of the Catholic Church 689.
A. The Holy Spirit
is the third Person of the Trinity, of the same nature as the Father
and the Son, but distinct from them. Thus the Creed says that,
"with the Father He is worshipped and glorified." (The new
translation next year will render the Latin in the more precise terms,
"adored and glorified.") Theologians often think of the Holy
Spirit as the love between the Father and the Son so powerful and real
that He is a person. Thus, we say that the Holy Spirit proceeds
from the Father and the Son. See, e.g., St. Thomas Aquinas,
Summa Theologica, Part I, question 37, art. 2.
B. The Trinity always
acts together, except only that the Son alone became Incarnate.
However, to distinguish between the persons, we often attribute creation
to the Father, redemption to the Son and sanctification to the Holy
Spirit. Or, as Pope Leo XIII put it, "The Church is accustomed
most fittingly to attribute to the Father those works of the Divinity
in which power excels, to the Son those in which wisdom excels, and
those in which love excels to the Holy Ghost. Not that all perfections
and external operations are not common to the Divine Persons; for the
operations of the Trinity are indivisible, even as the essence of the
Trinity is indivisible.'" Pope Leo XIII, Divinum Illud
Munus 3 (1897) (quoting St. Augustine.)
B. At the Incarnation,
when the Son became Man, the Holy Spirit came to the Blessed Virgin
Mary and conceived Jesus in her womb. Luke 1:35.
C. At His Baptism,
the Holy Spirit came to Jesus, and the Father's voice was heard from
the heavens, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
See Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-23
D. The titles Christ
and Messiah are from the Greek and Hebrew terms for "the anointed
one." And "the symbolism of anointing with oil signifies the Holy
Spirit. . . . Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the
primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus Christ.
. . . There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old
Covenant, pre-eminently King David. But Jesus is God's Anointed
in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed
by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit established Him as Christ."
Catechism of the Catholic Church 695.
E. At the Last Supper
and again before His Ascension, Jesus promised the sending of the Spirit
upon His Apostles to guide them and the Church. See John 14:15-17,
25-27, 15:26-27, 16:12-16; Acts 1:8. He also told them to baptize
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
See Matt. 28:18. "At work since creation, having previously
spoken through the prophets, the Spirit will now be with and in the
disciples, to teach them and guide them into all the truth. The
Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and
the Father." Catechism of the Catholic Church 243.
F. At Pentecost, the Spirit would come in fullness of power upon Mary, the Apostles and other disciples gathered in Jerusalem. Acts 2:1-12. "The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on His members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men." Catechism of the Catholic Church 747.
1. Moses of old
had prayed for a time when the Holy Spirit would come upon the people
and make them an offering to God, sharing in the power of the prophets.
See Num. 11:29-30. The prophets spoke of an era in which this
prayer would be fulfilled. See, e.g., Is. 44:1-4; Ez. 16:16-21,
36:24-27; Joel 3:1-2.
2. Finally, at
Pentecost, St. Peter declared that that long awaited era had begun and
that, with Baptism, each Christian would receive the Spirit. See
Acts 2:16-21, 38-39. Even after Baptism, there would be a laying
on of hands (which we now call Confirmation) that would increase the
power of the Spirit in new Christians. See, e.g., Acts 8:14-16,
G. Pope Leo XIII
even said that Jesus "gave as the chief reason of His departure and
His return to the Father, the advantage which would most certainly accrue
to His followers from the coming of the Holy Ghost, and, at the same
time, He made it clear that the Holy Ghost is equally sent by-and therefore
proceeds from-Himself and the Father; that He would complete, in His
office of Intercessor, Consoler, and Teacher, the work which Christ
Himself had begun in His mortal life." Leo XIII, Divinum Illud
Munus 2 (1897.)
II. "The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Uniting us by faith and Baptism to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us sharers in His life." Catechism of the Catholic Church 2017.
A. One of the ways that the Holy Spirit acts in our lives is through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which help us think and act in the context of our relationship to God as His adopted sons and daughters. "The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations." Catechism of the Catholic Church 1831.
1. Wisdom is
the ability to see all things together from the standpoint of heaven,
to see people and events as God sees them. Thus, as St. Thomas
Aquinas says, love is affiliated with charity. See St. Thomas
Aquinas, Summa Theologica Part II-II question 45 article 2.
it he ability to comprehend the depth of divine and sacred things, such
as Scriptures, the sacraments, and virtues, as opposed to comprehension
more from the outside. Thus, understanding builds upon faith.
See St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, part II-II question
8, article 2.
allows us to judge created things according to their rightful value
and use from the standpoint of holiness. Thus, for example it
leads to a rightful appreciated of nature as God's artwork and a rightful
attitude toward wealth and talents as temporary loans from God.
See, e.g., Ps. 19:1-3, Matt. 6:19-21, 25:14-30.
4. Counsel allows
us to make decisions in cases where the right answer is not obvious.
We are guided by the Spirit to a higher level of intelligence, in the
ways of heaven. See Matt. 10:16; St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa
Theologica, part II-II, question 52.
5. The gift of
fortitude builds upon the virtue of fortitude, but makes it greater,
giving us strength from our union with Jesus and the whole company of
heaven. See John 16:33; Rom. 5:3-5; Heb. 12:1-2.
6. The gift of
piety gives us a delight in prayer and in serving God, seeing in this
worship and service a joining in the family of God and the order of
His love. See Psalms 146-150; Heb. 12:22-24; St. Thomas Aquinas,
Summa Theologica Part II-II question 121 article 1.
7. The gift of
fear of the Lord gives an overarching sense of God's majesty and holiness
and a corresponding aversion to all sin because it is ugly and offending
to God. This fear comes not from the threat of punishment, but
rather from the passionate desire to make oneself and one's society
completely pleasing to God. See, e.g., Sir. 1:8-18; Rev. 14:7,
B. The fruits of
the Holy Spirit are the results of living with Spirit in one's life.
St. Paul includes among them love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. See Gal. 5:23.
As a tree bears fruit according to its kind, and one can know a tree
by its fruit, so too one can distinguish an authentic spirituality from
an illusionary one in large part by whether it results in these fruits
of the Spirit. See Matt. 12:33-37. These results of the
action of the Holy Spirit are the beginning of everlasting glory.
See Catechism of the Catholic Church 1832.
C. The Holy Spirit
gives both graces common to all, especially in the context of the virtues
and gifts and fruits of the Spirit, and special gifts to specific people
for the sake of their roles on earth. See, e.g., 1 Cor. 12:4-11,
13:1-13. "Grace is first a foremost the gift of the Spirit wh
justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts
that the Spirit grants to associate us with His work, to enable us to
collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body
of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper
to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces,
also called charisms. . . . Charisms are oriented toward sanctifying
grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They
are at the service of charity which builds up the Church." Catechism
of the Catholic Church 2003.
D. "The Holy Spirit
is the living water welling up to eternal life in the heart that prays.
It is He who teaches us to accept it at its source: Christ. Indeed
in the Christian life there are several wellsprings where Christ awaits
us to enable us to drink of the Holy Spirit." Catechism of the
Catholic Church 2652.
III. "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church. . . . The Holy Spirit makes the Church the temple of the living God." Catechism of the Catholic Church 797.
A. After Pentecost,
the Holy Spirit guided the Church to proclaim the Gospel throughout
the world. See, e.g., Acts 4:31, 44-48, 13:2, 1 Cor. 12:1-13;
Eph. 4:1-6. "The Church is one because of her soul: It is the
Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling
over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of
the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that He
is the principle of the Church's unity." Catechism
of the Catholic Church 813.
B. The Holy Spirit
guides the Church to offer prayers beyond the ordinary level of human
abilities. As St. Paul says, "We do not know how to pray as
we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us." Rom. 8:26.
Thus, when the Church gathers together, "the liturgical assembly derives
its unity from the communion of the Holy Spirit who gathers the children
of God into the one Body of Christ. . . . The assembly should prepare
itself to encounter its Lord and to become a people well disposed.
The preparation of hearts is the joint work of the Holy Spirit and the
assembly, especially its minister. The grace of the Holy Spirit
seeks to awaken faith, conversion of heart, and adherence to the Father's
will." Catechism of the Catholic Church 1097-1098.