Emmitsburg Council of Churches

The Holy Spirit
Do you really know Him?

Father John J. Lombardi

The Holy Spirit-do you really know Him, or is He, for you, the "forgotten person of the Blessed Trinity"? The Holy Spirit is the Soundless Voice of the Blessed Trinity within us. In St. Jn, 14:26-The Spirit is called by Christ, the Advocate, from ad-vocatus meaning "to speak for". So: are you listening to, or disobeying- ignoring Him (obedience means to listen)? The Holy Spirit is "like the sap on the Father's vine" which helps produce spiritual fruits in and thru us. Are you connected to that Divine Vine of Spiritual Grace? The Holy Sprit is the moistening Breath of God spiritually oxygenating us into new life -"He/Jesus breathed on them, and said: 'Receive the holy Spirit' " (cf. Jn. 20:22-23). Are you breathing within the Spirit of God or breathalizing from something, someone else? 

Today, we need more Truth from the Holy Sprit, not more confusion from the world which comes from either from our self-nature (apart from God) or from Satan. His name means accuser; the Spirit's Name means just the opposite (as noted above). Just Who are you listening to? Last week a U.S. court made it lawful to allow some medical personnel to help terminally ill commit suicide. Where is truth amidst this insanity? The Holy Spirit is here to speak to us -but, are people listening? Another task of the Spirit is to sanctify, and so He makes saints. We certainly need more of them, not more sinners in the world today. A couple weeks ago Massachusetts allowed "same sex unions" of homosexuals. This basically promotes sodomy and demise of marriage. But: The Spirit is here to help sanctify-even persons in these illicit unions, if they recollect and repent…

This is the Solemnity of Pentecost, otherwise unofficially known, by some, as the "Birthday of the Church," when the Apostles and Virgin Mary were gathered in Upper Room and " a noise, like a strong, driving wind, filled the entire house in which they were" (Acts 2:1-11). The Spirit is like that: He ruffles our feathers and makes us uncomfortable, at times, and then we may have peace after listening to, and obeying Him. The Accuser, Satan, puts the Catholic Church in America on the defensive, making us spiritually cold; the Holy Spirit helps us to be prophetic (meaning," to speak for"-God) and proclaim our Faith-spiritually bold. We certainly need a spiritual Wind in our Church today to revive us. In 1954, 75% of Catholics in American regularly attended church; today it is just 25%. And, also alarmingly, we need that same Spirit-united accord of the Upper Room to help inspire and correct dissenting Catholics from Church spiritual, social and doctrinal teachings.

Let us now, in this article and thru our brief sojourn on Earth, try to understand the Holy Sprit more. Pray: (and memorize): 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… It is seemingly easier to understand the Father and Son, in the Blessed Trinity, than the Spirit. The Father creates, and is the "ground," the Eternal Source of the Uncreated Persons of the Son and Spirit. The Son became man and redeemed the world thru His bloody Sacrifice, and gives us an incarnational image (of godliness) to strive for in our pilgrimage. Now, the Holy Spirit…

The Holy Spirit is God: "To believe in the Spirit is to profess that the Holy Spirit is one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, consubstantial with the Father and the Son: 'with the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified.' " (Catechism, # 685). We pray this every week in the Creed. All Divine Persons of the Trinity are equal in glory, un-created, and interloving and divine. So: How can you worship the Holy Spirit as God? Or: Do you "leave him out," and worship only the other two Persons, Jesus and the Father. Remember: We are Trinitarians! So, meditate upon the uniqueness of the Holy Spirit and then think upon His blissful relatedness within the Trinity (mutual indwelling), and thereby grow in awareness and love of God? The Holy Spirit is the Extension of, link to the Blessed Trinity: all three Persons can speak to us and, indeed, actually dwell within us (when we are in a state of grace). However, theology recognizes the Holy Spirit's unique role to link us to God, and God extending Himself to us thru, and by, the Holy Spirit. Jesus says: "If I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go I will send Him to you" (Jn. 16:7-8). Are you divorced form God, by your sinful thoughts, words, deeds. Pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for His Divine Help.

The Holy Spirit synergizes with souls--are you allowing The Sprit into your life? Synergism, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, is "The doctrine that individual salvation is achieved thru combination of human will and divine grace…meaning, working together." We are either breathing in the Spirit's Reign or toxious acid rains from man or the Devil. Which are you choosing? Come Holy Ghost… The Holy Sprit is like a "spiritual umbilical cord"-connecting our souls to: God, Spiritual reality, Truth. Just as if a child is cut from the umbilical cord with Mom, he is dead; so, if we divorce ourselves form the Spirit, we are spiritually dead.

We are temples of the Holy Spirit: Because we're so used to the world's sinfulness, drabbery of life, mistreating ourselves--our bodies and souls-and because we believe, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the flesh and material world more than the Spirit and spiritual world, we need remind ourselves of the Holy Spirit's indwelling: "Do you not know that you are a temple of the Spirit, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" (ICor 6:19). Therefore: How you can be more pure with your body and soul-thru more pristine food and drink, holy actions instead of impure ones; more prayer, fasting, confession? Remember: you are not your own-you are God's. Get to know and love His ways more than your own: Are you more into materialism of Mammon or the spiritualism of the Holy Spirit? So, now: actually become His temple and "home". Remember-it's immersion in the Spirit or perversion by self or Satan-which are you choosing?

Fruits of the Holy Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control". Review this spiritual list and then remind yourself of these (daily, weekly), and ask the Holy Spirit to help you attain these fruits. The Holy Spirit does not limit His giving-He is infinite. Do you limit your giving to Him, to others, because of ego, self, sins? Open up more to the Spirit's fructifying within you. Holy Spirit as Inner Master of the Spiritual life: you may have gifts, talents and wisdom, but it is by the Holy Spirit that you will grow. He knows you more than you know yourself. He can teach, assist and purify you. How can you rely on Him more? "The Spirit comes to our aid in our weakness-the Spirit intercedes for us with inexpressible longing" (Rm 8:26). We must, then, be captivated by the Spirit, enervated and spiritually elevated by Him to overcome impurities within.

Baptism: we became sons or daughters of God in this Sacrament. Until then, we were not His Children. The Holy Spirit came upon us, infusing us into His Divine Love. So: get your children, or others, baptized. Celebrate your baptismal day with the Holy Spirit.

Confirmation--completes Baptism, and allows the indwelling of Holy Spirit. In giving a retreat I once asked a group, "What are the effects of Baptism?" They answered: "To make us soldiers for Christ…To give us spiritual weapons. To help us do spiritual battle." Yes, today, we definitely need spiritual soldiers--people equipped to carry on Christ's Challenge and Compassion into the world to define and defend the Holy Catholic Church. The Spiritual battles rage around us promoted by secularists, and even some government and Christian officials: abortion, same sex marriages; sodomy and fornication; some Church leaders prizing money, marketing and public image more than Truth, mystical and ascetical teachings and liberating doctrine; homsoexualism; loss and denigration of Ten Commandments…So: Confirm your Baptismal promise and Confirmation by renewing your Faith today. Un-compromisingly. The Spirit will make you bold.

"Divine Moisture" and Mass: "The Holy Spirit is like the sap of the Father's vine which bears fruit on its branches. The most intimate cooperation of the Holy Spirit and the Church is achieved the liturgy...Communion with the Holy Trinity and fraternal communion are inseparably the fruit of the Spirit in the liturgy. The epiclesis (prayer over the gifts of bread and wine) is also a prayer for the full effect of the assembly's communion with the mystery of Christ… The Church therefore asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit to make the lives of the faithful a living sacrifice to God by their spiritual transformation into the image of Christ" (Catechism: # 1108-09).

Pray in conformity with the Holy Spirit "Are we convinced that we do not know how to pray as we ought? Are we asking God for what is good for us? Our Father knows what we need before we ask Him, but He awaits our petition because the dignity of His children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with His Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what He wants" (Catechism: #2736)…Are you asking in the Spirit or in yourself? He, the Sprit, is God, you are human, mortal. Ask for help in your marriage, in your job performance, in your church and all your activities-how can you become more deiform?-more God-like, theandric?

Holy Spirit and Mary: "The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates the fullness of time, the time of the fulfillment of God's promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive Him in Whom the whole fullness of deity would dwell bodily. The divine response to her question, how can this be, since I know not man, was given by the power of the Spirit: The Holy Spirit will come upon you." (Catechism: # 484). Mary is sometimes called the "Spouse of the Holy Spirit". What do you need to do to become a spouse of the Holy Spirit?...Pray: receive God's Spirit more in deeper recesses of your soul to be divinized, like Mary and thereby Magnify Him.

This is the official end of the Easter Season. Ordinary time should be extraordinary time: Make it so with the Help of the Holy Spirit!

Prayer of Intercession for Pentecost O living God, come and make our souls temples of thy Spirit.

Sanctify us, O Lord! ….Baptize thy whole Church with fire, that the divisions soon may cease, and that it may stand before the world as a pillar and buttress of thy truth. Sanctify us, O Lord! ….Grant us all the fruits of thy Holy Spirit: brotherly love, joy, peace, patience, goodwill and faithfulness. Sanctify us, O Lord! ….May the Holy Spirit speak by the voice of thy servants, here and everywhere, as they preach thy word. Sanctify us, O Lord! ….Send thy Holy Spirit, the comforter, to all who face adversity, or who are the victims of men's wickedness. Sanctify us, O Lord! ….Preserve all nations and their leaders from hatred and war, and build up a true community among nations, through the power of thy Spirit. Sanctify us, O Lord! ….Holy Spirit, Lord and source of life, giver of the seven gifts….Sanctify us, O Comforter. Spirit of wisdom and understanding, Spirit of counsel and strength, Sanctify us, O Comforter. Spirit of knowledge and devotion, Spirit of obedience to the Lord. Sanctify us, O Comforter.

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi