Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

The Holy Ghost
From the June AD 1995
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin
Our Sacred Faith - Part V

    The Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, though equally God with the Father and the Son, often eludes the devotion of many Christians. We tend to think of God the Father as an old man with a snowy white beard. It is easy to picture Jesus Christ the Son in our minds eye since he shared our human nature. But our knowledge of the Holy Ghost seems to remain more theoretical—at best we can visualize only a dove, or perhaps a tongue of fire accompanied by the sound of wind blowing. Please take this opportunity to enter into a closer relationship with the Third Person, the Holy Ghost, our Sanctifier.

The Old Testament

    The doctrine of the Trinity is known—indeed, can be known—only from revelation. By using natural reason, mankind can know that there is a God; a single Being who made all things. Likewise, man knows some of God's attributes; His goodness, His everlasting permanence, His great power, and so on. But without God's help man cannot know that God is a Trinity of Sacred Persons. Such help was given to mankind in the revelations of Jesus Christ, which are recorded in the scriptures of the New Testament. The scriptures, in turn, are guaranteed to be genuine by the Catholic Church which Jesus founded on earth. We are free, however to speculate about the hints of this doctrine which may be contained in the Old Testament.

    In the narrative of creation contained in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we read that "the Spirit of God moved over the waters." Perhaps this mention of God's Spirit was intended to give Old Testament believers a hint of the Trinity, or at least to prepare them for its eventual revelation.

    Anyone familiar with the Baltimore Catechism will recognize the Holy Ghost when the Prophet Isaias refers to Him as "the Spirit of the Lord" in chapter eleven:

    The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him: the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness." (xi: 2-3)

    Further, the One whom Isaias says the Spirit will come to rest upon is identified as the "Root of Jesse," the Christ who is to come. Isaias seems to be telling us about the virginal conception of our Lord by the Holy Ghost that he predicted in chapter seven. (vii: 14)

The New Testament

    While we may see images of the Holy Ghost in the Old Testament, it is only in the New that we receive sure and certain knowledge of the Sacred activity within the Trinity Itself.

    In Matthew's third chapter we see Jesus being baptized in the Jordan, "the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon Him," and "a voice from the heavens," saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (iii: 16, 17)

    The commission to the Apostles is quite explicit: "Going therefore, teach ye all the nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." (Mt. xxviii: 19)

    We see the work of the Holy Ghost in sanctifying us as our Lord says: "Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be corn again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (Jn. iii: 5)

    And again, as St. Paul tells us: "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us." (Rom. v: 5)

    We understand that we are to cooperate with the Holy Ghost in God's plan of salvation:

    If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Jesus Christ shall quicken also your mortal bodies because of the Spirit that dwelleth in you ... for whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom. viii: 11, 14)

    Happily, we are called to share directly in the most sacred life of God:

    Do you not know that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body. (1 19-20)

We are temples of the Sacred—the Holy Ghost—the Most High God!

Devotion to the Holy Ghost

    Almighty God has chosen to give us a glimpse of His sacred inner life by revealing to us that in one God He is a Trinity of Persons. In that all three of these persons are truly and equally God, they are all due to receive our worship. This is to say that we have a positive obligation to honor the Holy Ghost as we honor the Father and the Son.

    If we remember that we are temples of the Holy Ghost we will find it easier to discharge our obligations to Him. Whenever we are in the state of grace—and we should always be—we may simply turn inward and call upon Him. Even if we have but a moment to spend, we can put the world out of our minds and renew our devotion. As with all prayer, when we develop the habit of turning to the Holy Ghost, we should adore Him, give Him thanks, tell Him of our sorrow for sin, and ask Him for the things we need.

    We may also express our devotion to the Holy Ghost by remembering Him in the activities which are commonly attributed to Him. For instance, when we receive any Sacrament we should be mindful of the Holy Ghost, to whom the work of sanctification is attributed. Or, if we are going to study something, we honor the Holy Ghost by calling on him for the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. Likewise whenever we ask for any of the other gifts of the Holy Ghost.

    Perhaps a word of caution is in order about the "Pentecostal" cults which have corrupted even some modern Catholics. There is, first of all, no basis in Scripture for a "Baptism of the Holy Spirit," apart from the normal Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. There is even less reason to believe that God is honored by working up an emotional state and babbling nonsensical sounds—to say that the Spirit of Wisdom and Knowledge and Understanding is the source of such noises is sacrilege. The "Gift of Tongues," referred to in Scripture is the ability to speak in one's own language while being understood by those who speak another, or conversely, the ability to understand the speech of foreigners. (c.f. Acts ii; 1 Cor. xii) While Saint Paul admits the possibility of addressing God in a tongue unknown to others, he strongly discourages doing so, as a source of confusion and division within the community. (1 Cor. xiv) Much of what passes for "Tongues" today sounds as if it comes from the spirit of the Evil One, rather than from the Holy Ghost—another of the dangers of being "open to the spirit."



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