We read in the Gospel of St. John:
And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate
to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of Truth Whom the world cannot receive,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. John 14:16
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name,
He will teach you all things, and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you.
But when the Advocate has come, Whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of Truth Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me.
And you also bear witness, because from the beginning you are with Me.
It is expedient for you that I depart. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I go, I will send Him to you. John 16:7
But when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will teach you all the truth. John 16:13
"And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished,
they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven,
as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire,
and it sat upon every one of them:
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
and they began to speak with divers tongues,
according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak."
The Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary
after the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, fulfilled this command of Christ
and preached the gospel to all nations.
From their teachings we have received what is known as the Deposit of Faith,
that is, all that has been revealed by God.
The Deposit of Faith is made up of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
And after the death of the Apostles, Divine Revelation had been completed
and God delivered no more revelation meant for the whole of mankind.
But let us not think that the divine assistance of the Holy Ghost
was limited and ceased to continue after the promulgation of the gospel.
For the Deposit of Faith needed to be safeguarded and preserved
within the Church of Christ.
So, when Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit, He said:
And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever,
the Spirit of Truth Whom the world cannot receive,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. John 14:16
And also when Christ commanded His Apostles to teach all nations, He added:
And behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.
The Holy Spirit abides with the Catholic Church forever
to divinely assist it to teach all nations whatsoever Christ commanded.
all days even to the consummation of the world.
This unity of faith and worship among all men
manifests the Divine Assistance of the Holy Spirit.
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,
His living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of Himself.
The Spirit who "has spoken through the prophets" makes us hear the Father's Word,
but we do not hear the Spirit Himself.
We know Him only in the movement 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."
Such properly divine self-effacement explains why
"the world cannot receive [him], because it neither sees him nor knows him,"
while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because He dwells with them.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, it is God, it is His powerful action
that permeates creation with Love and Life.
It is existence itself. We know Him also as the third person of the Holy Trinity.
As we look at the attributes of God, who is One, we may say that God the Father
is the Absolute Power and Will, God the Son is His Word and command,
God the Holy Spirit is the action of God which is Love.
The Holy Spirit is a fire of Divine Love that comes to touch us
and refine us in an ardent desire to possess God.
It gives us a passion for God, it destroys all the earthly affections
because it opens our spiritual eyes to see how precious God is.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God the Father and of God the Son,
so it moves us to cry Abba which means "Father" and as children of God
we come to trust God more than we have trusted before,
it also moves us to accept Christ in our lives as our model, way, truth and life.
The fire of the Holy Spirit enkindles the little flame of Love that is in every heart,
it raises the soul to soar in the freedom of God, it feeds the soul with food from Heaven,
it gives courage to overcome all human weaknesses, it grants complete trust in God
so that we can say with St. Paul, it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.
The Holy Spirit is not visible to our eyes, but we can feel His Presence within us,
He grants Peace, Love and Joy to our hearts
and by His action we learn to recognise Him.
No one can say that Jesus is Lord
unless He is moved by the Holy Spirit .
1 Corinthians 12:3
So this Spirit abides in every one who acknowledges that Jesus is Lord,
but this doesn't guarantee that that person is holy,
it merely activates his faith by that conviction,
so we still need a continuous guidance of the Holy Spirit to attain holiness.
We must be born of the Spirit to become spirit, and we must let Him come
like a gentle breeze and bend our wills to His holy inspirations.
The Church, a communion living in the faith of the Apostles which she transmits,
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 charisms 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.
So important is the role of the Holy Spirit within the Church
that when the Apostles Creed was formulated,
it was determined to place the article of faith,
I believe in the Holy Ghostright next to the article the Holy, Catholic Church,
in order to stress the relationship of the Holy Ghost with the true Church of Christ.
When Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ established His Church,
He promised His Apostles that He would send another Advocate,
Whom He called the Spirit of Truth.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are important for us
because they help us to: make wise decisions about important matters,
to understand the real meaning of life,
advise and help others to make the right decisions;
be strong to uphold and do what is right and to condemn and avoid what is wrong;
to know the teaching of God and our true destiny;
to give true worship and praise to God;
to fear offending God who is our loving Father.
Wisdom is a gift by which the mind is lifted up from earthly and transitory things,
enabling us to contemplate things eternal, that is to say, God Himself, the eternal truth,
and to relish and love Him, in which consists all our good.
Understanding is a gift which facilitates, as far as this is possible to mortal man,
the understanding of the truths of faith and of the mysteries of God,
which we are unable to know by the natural light of the intellect.
Counsel is a gift by which, amidst the doubts and uncertainties of human life,
we are enabled to recognize those things that redound more to God's glory,
to our own salvation, and to that of our neighbor.
Fortitude is a gift which inspires us with valor and courage to observe faithfully
the holy law of God and of the Church, by conquering all obstacles
and all the assaults of our enemies.
Knowledge is a gift enabling us to estimate created things at their proper worth,
and to learn how to use them rightly and to direct them to our last end,
which is God.
Piety is a gift enabling us to venerate and love God and His Saints,
and to preserve a pious and benevolent mind towards our neighbor
for the love of God.
Fear of the Lord
The Fear of the Lord is a gift which makes us respect God
and fear to offend His Divine Majesty,
and which detaches us from evil while inciting us to good.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God,
with God the Father and God the Son.
I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.
I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving
for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.
O Giver of all supernatural gifts,
who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God,
with such immense favors,
I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear,
so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me
from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.
Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor,
follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations,
and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.
Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and,
enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation,
in the path of eternal salvation.
Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously
all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world
which threaten the salvation of my soul.
Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive
to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.
Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries
and by contemplation of heavenly things
detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.
Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions,
referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him
and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him
eternally in the next.
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are the virtues produced in our lives
when we exercise the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
There are Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit:
Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, l
Long-Suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency, and Chastity.
Fruits, the things that grow from the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
"Charity," love of God and. our neighbor,
"Peace" with God and man and ourselves.
With God, because we are His friends. With man, because we deal justly with all and are kind to all.
With ourselves, because we have a good conscience, that does not accuse us of sin.
"Benignity," disposition to do good and show kindness.
"Long-suffering"--same as patience.
"Modesty, continency, and chastity" refer to purity in thoughts, words, looks, and actions.
We will know we are producing these Fruits in our lives
when we are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good,
generous, gentle, faithful, modest, when we exercise self-control
and when we are chaste and pure.
Symbols of the Holy Spirit
The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who,
through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth,
and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord. The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him
in his acts of healing and of saving.
Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.
Now, fully established as "Christ" in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until "the saints" constitute
- in their union with the humanity of the Son of God -
that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"
"the whole Christ," in St. Augustine's expression.
WATER The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit."
Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified as its source and welling up in us to eternal life.
ANNOINTING The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit, to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew "messiah") means the one "anointed" by God's Spirit. 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."
FIRE While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who "arose like fire" and whose "word burned like a torch," brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This event was a "figure" of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes "before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah," proclaims Christ as the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Jesus will say of the Spirit: "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!" In the form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions. "Do not quench the Spirit."
CLOUD AND LIGHT These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud,
now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory - with Moses on Mount Sinai, at the tent of meeting, and during the wandering in the desert, and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and "overshadows" her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus. On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the "cloud came and overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!'" Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming.
SEAL The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him. 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.
HAND Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them. In his name the apostles will do the same. Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given. The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the "fundamental elements" of its teaching. The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.
FINGER "It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons." 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." The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand."
DOVE At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable. 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. The Spirit comes down and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized. In certain churches, the Eucharist is reserved in a metal receptacle in the form of a dove (columbarium) suspended above the altar. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit.
Hymn: Come Holy Ghost, WLP Choir, Classic Treasures III Catholic Hymns