St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

I Believe In the Holy Spirit Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 683-701

"To be in touch with Christ, we must first have been touched by the Holy Spirit. He comes to meet us and kindles faith in us." St. Ireneus: "it is impossible to see God's Son without the Spirit, and no one can approach the Father without the Son, for the knowledge of the Father is the Son, and the knowledge of God's Son is obtained through the Holy Spirit" (683).

"The Holy Spirit is the first to awaken faith in us. But the Spirit is the last of the persons of the Holy Trinity to be revealed". St. Gregory of Nazianzus: "It was not prudent, when the divinity of the Father had not yet been confessed [during the time of the Old Covenant], to proclaim the Son openly and, when the divinity of the Son was not yet admitted [during the preaching of Jesus], to add the Holy Spirit as an extra burden, to speak somewhat daringly". By a progressive revelation "the light of the Trinity will shine in ever more brilliant rays" (684).

"The Holy Spirit is one of the persons of the Holy Trinity. the divine mystery of the Holy Spirit was already treated in the context of Trinitarian "theology." Here, however, we have to do with the Holy Spirit only in the divine "economy." (685)

"The Holy Spirit is at work with the Father and the Son from the beginning to the completion of the plan for our salvation. But in these "end times,". the Spirit is. recognized and welcomed as a person. Now can this divine plan, accomplished in Christ, be fulfilled in mankind by the outpouring of the Spirit" (686).

How do we know the Holy Spirit?
"No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." Now God's Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word. but the Spirit does not speak of himself. We know him only in the work by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. the Spirit of truth who "unveils" Christ to us "will not speak on his own."" (687)

"The Church. is the place where we know the Holy Spirit: in the Scriptures he inspired; in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses; in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists; in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ; in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us; in the charismas and ministries by which the Church is built up; in the signs of apostolic and missionary life; in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation" (688).

The Joint Mission of the Son and the Spirit
The Spirit is truly God. But "the Church's faith also professes the distinction of persons. When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals him" (689).

"Jesus is Christ, "anointed," because the Spirit is his anointing, and everything that occurs from the Incarnation on derives from this fullness.ÿWhen Christ is finally glorified, he can in turn send the Spirit. the mission of the Spirit of adoption is to unite them to Christ and make them live in him" (690).

Names of the Holy Spirit
""Holy Spirit" is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son; the Church has received this name from the Lord" (691). Jesus himself gives other titles to the Holy Spirit: "Paraclete" which means "advocate" and "consoler" The Lord also called the Holy Spirit "the Spirit of truth" (cf. 692). "We also find in St. Paul the titles: the Spirit of the promise, The Spirit of adoption", etc. (693).

Symbols of the Holy Spirit
"Water. signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism. the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucifiedÿas its source and welling up in us to eternal life" (694).

"Anointing. the symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit. Christ. means the one "anointed" by God's Spirit.. Jesus is God's Anointed in a unique way. it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead" (695).

"Fire. symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions. fire. transforms what it touches". That is why Jesus said "I came to cast fire upon the earth". And "In the form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost. The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions" (696). "Cloud and light" (697).

"The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible "character" imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments" (698).

"The hand., it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given. The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epiclesis" (699) for example, at the consecration of the Eucharist, at the Mass.

"The finger. If God's law was written on tablets of stone "by the finger of God," then the "letter from Christ" entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written "with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts."ÿThe hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand."" (700).

"The dove. When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit" (701).

-Fr. Andrew