Jesus says: "Everything
that the Father has is mine for this reason I
told you- He (the Holy Spirit) will take from
what is mine and declare it to you" (Jn 16:15).
Prayer: "Come Holy
Ghost, Creator blest, and in our hearts, take up
Thy rest. Come with Thy grace, and Heavenly aid,
to fill the hearts, which Thou hast made"
I. Today is the
"birthday of the Church"-Pentecost--a holy
celebration of the outpouring of Divine grace
upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostles,
by the Holy Spirit. According to today's first
reading (Acts 2:10ff) the Spirit came as
"Tongues of Fire" upon those gathered in the
upper room to "inaugurate the Church." Ever
since then, no matter how many, or how awful,
individual sinners have been in our Holy
Catholic Church--Jesus Christ's Bride which He
died for-it has never sinned or taught error
because of the protection and inspiration of the
Holy Spirit (see Eph 5:23, 25: "For.
Christ is the Head of the Church, He Himself the
Savior of the Body. as Christ loved the
Church and handed Himself over for her"). So,
today, and all days, let us rejoice that we have
such a faithful Bride in our Catholic Faith. All
are invited to Jesus' Unity of Faith, to 'wed"
to her so as to receive new and more graces thru
the Holy Spirit.
But, now, you may ask.
Q. Who is the Holy
A. He is the Third
Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is the "Bond
of the Love" between the Father and the Son.
He "proceeds from the Father and the Son as
from a single spiration". The Holy Spirit does
not come only from the Father (as Eastern
Orthodox Christians believe), but from both
the Father and the Son; and He is a "spiration"
-an "Eternal Procession"-- from these two
Divine Persons (He radiates from the Them).
The Holy Spirit is
God, as is the Father and the Son- in one
single, divine, uncreated Essence. Theologians
speculate that the "Source" of the Holy
Spirit's spiration refers to the Will of God,
because spiration/spirit designates a movement
from this Divine faculty-the Will--which
"inclines " to, or "results" in an "object
"-the Holy Spirit. This Third Person is the
eternal manifestation of that Divine Love.
Just as our human wills are directed toward an
object or goal, resulting in an action or
"desire", so the Spirit is the manifestation
of this "driving love of God".
So, as Jesus, the Son,
is generated from the intellect of the Father
(He is the perfect image of the Father's
"thinking faculty"-cf. Col. 1:12ff), the Holy
Spirit is seen as a perfect ex-pression, or
"pressing-out" of the Father's Will, and
willing. Though the generation (of Jesus) and
spiration (the Holy Spirit) seem to occur in
our linear, finite time, as we see it, like a
human baby's "birth" or "creation" of some
object by an artist-these "processions" do
not, in fact, take place in time; these
"eternal processions" are, rather, without
beginning or end, always dynamically happening
in a succesionless "now" of God's
timelessness, outside and above any finite
conception of time or place, ungraspable by
our finite intellects.
All this theologizing is
like a human attempt to "spiritually picture"
and describe God-as-He-Is-in-Himself (called the
"Godhead,' before creation) . We also know God,
though, as He manifests Himself in the world
(called His missions). Following are some
qualities of the Holy Spirit to help us to know
and love Him-and the whole Blessed Trinity--
more (sources adapted from: "The NSRV
Concordance": Zondervan: 1991).
Divine Nature: called God in Lk. 1:32,35; He is
united with the Father and Son- Mt. 28:19.
As a Person: The Holy Spirit is Eternal- Heb
9:14; Omnipresent- Ps 139:7-10. All
knowing- I Cor 2:10-11. The Holy Spirit
dwells in the Church: 1 Cor 3:16ff; Eph 2:22.
Appoints officers for Church: Acts 20:28.
Assists the Church towards Truth-Jn 16:13.
He sanctifies us- Rm 15:16. We are
commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit-as
Paul was in his conversion- Acts 9:17; and as
are all Christians-Eph 5:18. The Holy Spirit
makes us realize God's love-Rm 5:5. He
gives us power to witness-Act 1:8.
So, we see that the Holy
Spirit is a Divine Person, He helps us grow in
holiness and that He guides our Catholic Church,
challenged and presented with newer issues and
problems, to Truth. We are, then, as disciples
in today's sometimes chaotic world, not merely
left to "find our own truth" or go out searching
by "intellectually bumping in the dark" for God
and answers. No, the Spirit-God--leads us: He is
the infinite extensionality of God (the Spirit
stretching us toward God and His ways) in our
world to preserve and guard the Catholic Unity
as a "ship thru troubled waters"
Mediation: How can you
form a more intimate and knowledgeable union
with the Holy Spirit? How can you pray to Him
more?...How can you find His truths in the
Catholic Unity which Jesus promised would be
enlightened and protected? As you may relate to
the Father for His power, and to the Son for His
compassion, can you relate to the Spirit for His
wisdom, and gifts, fruits and "inspirations"? .
II. We have seen
the Holy Sprit Is, because of the Father's and
Son's endless embrace and "outpouring" within
the Divine Trinity. But the Holy Spirit also Is,
to give us gifts to link us to that Divine
Reality, and to guide us in this world. So, you
may ask: Q. What are these Gifts of the Holy
Spirit? A:. They are listed in Isaiah 11:2-3.
(And the following is an excellent examination
of them, from: A. Tanquerey, "The Spiritual
Life"-make a thorough mediation upon these).
"The gift of counsel
perfects the virtue of prudence by making us
judge promptly and rightly as by a sort of
supernatural intuition what must be done, esp.
in difficult cases. Piety perfects the virtue of
religion. by begetting in our hearts a
filial affection for God. Fortitude is a
gift which imparts in the will an impulse and an
energy which enable it to do great things
joyfully and fearlessly despite all obstacles.
Fear is a gift which inclines our will to a
filial respect for God, removes us from sin and
displeasing Him and gives us hope in the power
of His help. The gift of knowledge, by the
illuminating action of the Holy Spirit, gives us
a knowledge of created things in their relations
to God. Understanding is a gift which,
under enlightening action of the Holy Spirit
gives a deep insight into the revealed truths,
without giving a comprehension of the mysteries
Wisdom perfects virtue
of charity by enabling us to discern God and
divine principles in their origin and by giving
us a relish for them. The Holy Sprit
dwells in our soul and infuse, besides habitual
grace, supernatural habits which perfect out
faculties and enable them to perform
supernatural acts under the impulse of actual
Mediation: What Gifts of
the Holy Spirit are you "strong" in?-Thank God
and use them for His glory. Notice the biblical
counsel of "divine linkage": "No one can receive
anything except what has been given him from
above" (Jn. 3:27)-therefore: Practice
gratefulness...What Gifts do you need to develop
under the Holy Spirit's help?-Remember: "If you
don't use it you lose it." Intensify gifts and
blessings which are lukewarm; stimulate those
Gifts-piety, fear, wisdom-which are latent and
immature, by prayer, serving and fasting and
sacrificing. Do you really try to
know the Holy Spirit by growing in wisdom? -You
learn something by practicing it, and the more
you practice piety, holy fear and wisdom, the
more you gain in knowledge of these Gifts.
Bowing-physically and spiritually, to God and He
will raise you. Are you wasting any graces
given by the Spirit? Floss those clogged
"spiritual arteries" of your soul so God can use
you-and not only some other person!--as an
instrument of His Love. The Virgin Mary appeared
to St Catherine Laboure, in part, to show how
many graces are lost by souls not cooperating
with Divine Love. "The Holy Spirit says, 'O that
today you would hear His voice'. " (Heb
"With the Gifts come the
Fruits of the Holy Spirit which correspond to
and complete them-acts of virtue which reach a
certain degree of perfection and fill the soul
with holy joy . The Fruits of the Holy Spirit
are, according to Galatians 5:22: charity, joy,
peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith,
In essence, the Fruits
of the Holy Spirit are a result of the Gifts we
have received and cultivated. Remember: "Now we
have received not the spirit of the world but
the Spirit of God" ( I Cor. 2:12).
III. Where do we need
the Holy Spirit's work today?
We humans can either
choose life outside the Holy Spirit---which
makes for division-or we can live life thru,
with, and in Him-which means He will come to us,
heal and divinize us-make us divine-like. We
spend lots of time evading the Spirit, thinking
we can be happier without Him. When we are
"begotten from above" (Jn. 3:3), and undergo a
conversion (many of them are needed) we realize
we absolutely need the Holy Spirit to unite us
to God's Mind, Will and Providence. In today's
First Reading the Holy Spirit unites disparate
human voices and makes a reversal of the
division of the Tower of Babel (Gn 11:9).
What "reversals" and conversions can you ask for
and allow the Holy Spirit to turn in your life?
Following are some ways
of Division or Divinization in today's world-how
can you help?...
denying any possibility of knowledge about God
or His ways. Many more Americans are choosing
this lifestyle-philosophy which divides them
from God by negating the Holy Spirit's
infused-knowledge to help know about God, and
thus love Him more. Thus, Basic Principle 101:
we love what we know. What we don't know we
divide from. Therefore know God more to love Him
more. You may be able to help an agnostic
co-worker or friend by introducing them to
simple, basic truths of the Faith: God loves us;
when we sin we hurt Him; He-Jesus died for us
and our sins-and we should live for Him; the
Catholic Church is His love in time and place
now; the Holy Spirit gives us the
Sacraments-"Lifelines to God".
Later on, you may share
a Bible verse or Catechism lesson-both expressed
at simple levels--with them. Remember John
16:13-where Jesus says of the Spirit: "He will
lead you into all truth". As we and those we
speak to gradually provide more room in our
souls for the Spirit to dwell, we will become
more like God and some of that knowledge will,
simply, naturally, "spin off" of us unto others.
Remember the counsel: if you are one with the
Spirit, "the Spirit searches everything, even
the depths of God" (I Cor 2:10). Further, the
Holy Spirit unveils delusions of mind which
prevent us from knowing God or gaining proper
knowledge about Him. St James describes a
confused person as a " man of two minds unstable
in all his ways" (1:8). The Holy Spirit, however
will pacify and empower us, and will link us to
God (Rm. 8:14).
The Holy Spirit helps us
to call Jesus God, and recognize His authorship
over us" and so help us to help others recognize
that there is One True God, the Blessed Trinity,
the God of revelation. Agnosticism opposes
belief and true Faith in God; our Faith, by the
Holy Spirit's indwelling, proposes enlightened
knowledge of God (Eph. 1:18) and love of Him (I
Jn 4:2-"By this you know the spirit of God").
Pray for this inner enlightenment and gaining of
Amoralism: this means a
person does not believe in morals, or at least
foundations for morals like the Bible, Religion,
or some other trustworthy source. The world and
Devil divide people from God this way by
attracting them with all kinds of worldly lures.
A "living answer" in this situation is your
example-how you talk, work and live. Your friend
will notice if you have Fruits and Gifts of the
Spirit-love, joy, peace. Ask the Holy Spirit to
help you demonstrate basic principles of the
Faith in moral situations. Many are looking for
"moral answers" to difficult questions-will you
be the counter-cultural exception, the Spirit
filled example? And remember: "Live by the
Spirit and do not gratify the desires of the
flesh" (Gal 5:16). Senator Rick Santorum
described the division in Catholics who divorce
their faith from decisions---moral, political
and social-- thereby causing moral chaos. By the
Holy Spirit, how will you be a rebel, a radical
against the popular culture? (see under "Briefly
Noted" and Rm 12:2!).
gets nervous, at least for some small or passing
time. This state of mind divides any disciple
from the Divine Mind, with bad, evil, cutting
and pre-occupying thoughts which hamper peace
and joy within. The Holy Spirit, rather, brings
us the Peace of God--"Likewise the Spirit helps
us in our weakness" (Rm. 26). But we must
participate with His "anointings," and call
constantly on the Lord-immediately and
repeatedly--when any anxious, dark, sinful
thoughts appear. "If we live by the Spirit let
us also be guided by the Spirit" (Gal 5:25). Let
Him be your inner, loving guide for all thoughts
and inner life. Train your mind with His peace.
"Set your mind on the Spirit which is life and
peace" (Rm 8:6).
Culture of Death vs.
Culture of Life: When people want to kill,
destroy or slaughter, they are dividing true
Life from God. This is the goal of the Devil.
His name comes from dia bolos, which means to
"throw across". Abortion, euthanasia and
pornography, drugs and rampant materialism all
distort and eventually destroy the body-soul of
a person, gradually fashioning people into
things and possessions rather than children and
saints of God. Rather than dividing our souls we
should remember we are God's heirs, because He
is "putting His seal on us and giving us His
spirit" (2 Cor 1:22). Who will rescue babies
from death?; women from abuse of dark
pornography?; families from ravaging popular
culture?; the elderly from loneliness and
despairing death; the poor from powerlessness?
God will help us: "The Spirit He poured on us
richly" (Tit. 3:6).
Conclusion: We must rely
on the Holy Spirit to link us-and keep us
united-- to God, to teach us truths, so we can
overcome the divisions of our world, Church, and
those even within ourselves. What will you do to
foster greater devotion to the Holy Sprit on a
regular basis?...This meditation by the Polish
priest and convert, Angelus Silesius., may help
you. The Holy Spirit-as a "spiritual
fire"-cauterizes and heals our wounded sinful
nature (concupiscence). Pray for spiritual
"If you want to be wise,
God within comprehend; You must first burn away
Your own concupiscence."
President Bush on the
Pope: Speaking in Krakow, Poland recently, the
President , described the Holy Father's
"transition" from there to Rome "In 1978 a
Polish cardinal began his journey to a conclave
in Rome, and entered history as Pope John Paul
II-one of the greatest moral leaders of our
time." Pray for our leaders !
Senator Rick Santorum on
Catholics today-from Commencement Address at
Christendom College: "For many generations,
Catholics were viewed with suspicion. For
Catholics in America, my family included, the
breakthrough came with the election of the
presidency of John F. Kennedy. But at what price
did we earn this break? President Kennedy
promised that his faith would have no effect --
would have NO effect -- on his decisions as
president. In effect, what he was saying was
that his decisions would be unguided by his
conscience. Only now, two generations later, all
Americans of faith see how grave, grave a price
was paid. For now our popular culture
discourages religion and moral convictions from
even being discussed in the public square.
Our founders feared the
establishment of a religion. What we are left
with today is an establishment of moral
nihilism. Not surprisingly, our government,
being of the people, is following suit. While
much of our culture is removing moral
guideposts, so too is the government. Now this
is where you come in. I believe of all the great
gifts God has given to the young, the greatest
of these are energy, idealism and rebelliousness
-- that's your parents laughing. As we have
seen, these gifts, like all gifts, can be used
for good or for evil and as we've seen over the
past 30 years, they can be used, shall we say,
sparingly by our young people. I want to
challenge each and every one of you to be a
radical, to be a rebel, to rebel against the
popular culture. Your task will not be an easy.
..You must overcome the temptation of silence;
the temptation of silence in the face of
frequent hostile common opinion. As Catholics
you must summon the courage of your convictions,
which must be continually nourished by prayer,
Mass and spiritual direction, and to speak and
to live the Truth."
Bible Readings: Acts
2:1-11; I Cor. 12:3-13; Jn. 15: 26-27; 16:
12-15. Jesus will "declare"-give, bestow-to us,
Gifts of God and God's very Life, which is grace
and the indwelling Trinity. It is your
choice-division from Him by your self-centered
life, or Divinization by Him and with the "seal
of the promised Holy Spirit" (Eph. 1:13). The
Gift of the Holy Spirit restores us back to
Friendship with God-we are no longer rebels but
receivers; no more divided, but divinized from
above: Come, Holy Ghost!
other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi