“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (CCC, 683)
Jesus is the Word of God who breathes the Holy Spirit allowing us God’s grace to awaken faith in us, offering us a new life in the Holy Trinity.
We recognize that the Holy Spirit always existed with the Father and the Word as the Breath of God, long before the creation of the world. It is through the Holy Spirit that we can begin to understand the Nature of God and his thoughts. The Holy Spirit reveals God to us. In the Nicene Creed, we profess that the Spirit “has spoken through the profits” (CCC p50) and that “with the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified”. It was the Holy Spirit who shared the coming of the Christ, giving hope to generations of faithful. Abraham was afforded the gift of generations of children through God’s promise, his own faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. The result of Abraham’s faith was the fulfillment of prophecy, Christ himself.
Mary, in her answer to God, yes, receives the Holy Spirit by God’s grace. Through Mary, as the perfect vessel – the ark of the covenant, the Holy Spirit can fulfill the plan that the Father had always intended for his creation. “Through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the Son of God. By the Holy Spirit’s power and her faith, her virginity became uniquely fruitful” (CCC, 723). It is through Mary that we enter more fully into communion with Christ.
Mary is the perfect disciple, full of grace and always free of sin. She is the perfect witness and a symbol of perfection as the suffering mother. She teaches us how to accept suffering and death and to recognize the beatification of what is to come. She is the “model of faith and charity” (CCC, 967).
The Holy Spirit worked through John the Baptist, who leapt in his mother’s womb at the approach of Mary carrying Jesus in her own womb, ‘beginning the restoration to man of the “divine likeness,”’ (CCC, 720) which would be recognized in the person of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is further revealed to us at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. Here, the Holy Spirit is anointing Jesus and glorifying him providing Jesus with the means to call upon the Holy Spirit to enter his faithful believers.
There are many symbols associated with the Holy Spirit. “Water, signifies the Holy Spirit’s action in Baptism.” (CCC, 694). It also signifies “birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit.” (CCC, 696)
Anointing with oil has become synonymous with the Holy Spirit during Baptism and again at Confirmation. “The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of healing and saving.” (CCC, 695)
Fire signifies “the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions.” “The Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself” (CCC, 696), providing them with the many gifts necessary to evangelize.
Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are provided with the opportunity to be forgiven for our sins. In (NASB) John 20, the disciples are told “if you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them”. The ability to forgive sins is a gift from Jesus to his disciples and his Church in general, governed by the Holy Spirit.
It is during Pentecost that we see the completion of “the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit”. (CCC, 737)
For the Holy Spirit to fully enter the disciples, we learn in the Gospel of John, that Jesus must first return to the Father.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you”. (NASB, John 14:26)
“When the helper comes, whom I will send to you from the father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify about me.” (NASB, John 15:26)
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (NASB, John 16:7)
“The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifest the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may “bear much fruit” (CCC, 737)
Today, we have the chance to help others to understand the great gift our Lord has given to us. We are offered the path for redemption and renewal through the workings of the Holy Spirit in our own lives. We are tasked with carrying out the mission of the apostles and sharing the Good News through the way we live our own lives and interact with others.
USCCB. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition. Washington, D.C. Libreria Editrice
Vaticana, 2013 Print.