WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT??? The forgotten Person of the Trinity!

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!
1.    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.

2.    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 maintains life!
3.     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!

4.     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!

5.     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!
6.    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!