Right around the corner was “Confirmation-Day”
for the youth in our Parish. After teaching the boys --- at least I thought
relatively well—for two years, I thought I would test their knowledge on the
Person of the Holy Spirit.
So, here it goes: who is the Holy Spirit
was direct and to the point question! Not even one of the twenty boys
volunteered to answer. Thinking maybe they did not
hear me or where distracted, I launched the question for the second time: who
is the Holy Spirit? A dead silence! For
the third time, my high hopes were declining rapidly, I begged the question:
who is the Holy Spirit!!!
After another prolonged pause, a boy
in the back of the class raised his hand and blurted out two words: THE BIRD!!!
The ice was broken and I finally got a response.
Was the young man totally wrong? Not
really! His response was not exact, but
at least he got partially right one of the symbols for the Holy Spirit—the bird,
meaning the Dove that descended on Jesus in the Jordan. The Dove (“The Bird”) is one of the several
symbols that the Church, its writings and the saints have offered to give us an
idea as to who the Holy Spirit is.
This anecdote illustrates the point
that for many the Holy Spirit is the “Forgotten Person” of the Most Blessed
Trinity. Either He is ignored totally or
misinterpreted in His reality.
We would like to offer a few ideas
for reflection on the Person of the Holy Spirit so that we become more aware of
His Presence in our lives, have more frequent recourse to Him, and love Him as
indeed He deserves!
GOD HIMSELF. The Holy Spirit indeed is God! He is the third Person of the most Blessed
Trinity. The Father is the first Person;
the Son (Jesus) is the second Person; the Holy Spirit is the third Person of
the most Blessed Trinity. He is equal
to the Father and Son; He is worthy of praise, glory and adoration. He is
eternal and infinite! The Father loves
the Son and the Son loves the Father.
The mutual bond of love between the Father and the Son is the Holy
Spirit. St. Bernard, the mellifluous
Doctor of the Church, calls the Holy Spirit the mutual embrace between the
Father and Son.
THE SOUL OF THE CHURCH. Within the context of the Church, the
Mystical Body of Christ, the Holy Spirit is the SOUL of the Church. Defined “soul” is the life
giving principle, that which animates, reinvigorates and gives life and
SOUL OF THE BAPTIZED. Once the baptismal waters are poured on the
forehead and the words are said: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", then a miracle takes place! Not only is Original Sin washed away but that
individual becomes a living icon of the Blessed Trinity. Related to the Holy
Spirit, he becomes a living TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit. He becomes a noble and majestic abiding place
of God Himself! What extraordinary
dignity the baptized soul; and at the same time, what great responsibility!
THE SANCTIFIER. Once baptized the Holy Spirit, desiring to
work constantly in the life of this noble individual, operates as “The
Sanctifier”. In concrete, the verb “to
sanctify” means to make holy; or if you like transformation into a saint! For that reason Blessed Pope John XXIII
asserted: “The saints are the MASTERPIECES
of the Holy Spirit.” Davinci painted
masterpieces; Dante and Shakespeare wrote literary masterpieces; Beethoven,
Mozart, and Chopin composed musical masterpieces. The Holy Spirit is in the work of transforming
sinners into saints!
INTIMATE FRIEND/SWEET GUEST OF THE SOUL. In the modern world in which so many people
suffer from a crushing loneliness, there is a quick and ready solution at all
times! The Person, Power, Presence of
the Paraclete--- that is to say, the
Holy Spirit! God the Father is our
loving Father and we can call Him, “Abba”—Daddy. God the Son, Jesus the Lord, is our Older
Brother and the best of Brothers, always there present to us step by step as is
evident in the walk of the disciples of Emmaus.
However, there is another powerful presence in our lives, if only we can
enhance our awareness, and this is the Holy Spirit as INTIMATE FRIEND. We all need friends. Wordsworth stated, “No
one is an island unto himself.”
Aristotle asserted, “Man is a social animal.” Jesus Himself reiterated this at the Last
Supper when He called the Apostles “Friends”. However human friendships are
fragile, precarious and prone to unfaithfulness and separation! Not so with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is “The Sweet Guest of the
soul”. (Sequence of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost). As a Friend, He is always present,
a gentleman to the highest degree, encouraging, supporting, consoling and counseling
and even in moments of failure gently prodding us on to repentance. Indeed He is your Best Friend. Friendships grow by mutual knowledge and
mutual sharing. Why not today, right
now, make the decision to invite the Holy Spirit into a deep, growing and
permanent Friendship with you. That
loneliness that you may have experienced in the past will disappear and peace
and joy will reign in the depths of your heart!
MARY AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. To facilitate this deep union in friendship
with the Holy Spirit, devotion to Mary is indispensable! With respect to the
Most Blessed Trinity, Mary is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God
the Son and she is the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit. The Immaculate
Conception was the work of the Holy Spirit. The Virginal Conception was the
work of the Holy Spirit; the birthday of the Church on Pentecost was the
powerful action of the Holy Spirit. For
this reason St. Louis de Montfort, author of “True Devotion to Mary”, made this powerful assertion: “Those who love Mary, the Holy Spirit flings
Himself into their souls." Why not
experience a renewed Pentecost in your life, a divine invasion of power and
grace through a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit through the intercession
of Mary! Try it and the spiritual atomic
bomb will explode in your life!