Lord and Giver of Life

                                                                      

Dominum et Vivificantem

 

Lord and Giver of Life

 

 

 

"Without Your Aid, nothing is in man."

 

(Cf. Veni, Sancte Spiritus)

 

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(This 140-page encyclical is abridged in length. No words have been changed. Bold emphasis provided by Holy Hill Cross Website)

(The entire encyclical is available on the Vatican Website at this address: http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0142/_INDEX.HTM)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1. The Church professes Her Faith in the Holy Spirit as the Lord, the Giver of Life.  The Nicene Creed of the Holy Mass was formulated and promulgated by two General Councils, (Nicea-325A.D.; Constantinople-381A.D.) and is the prayer by which we profess belief in the Third Person of The Most Holy Trinity; The Holy Spirit of the One, Uncreated, Triune God. Our Lord Jesus Christ, at the Feast of Tabernacles said:

 

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the

Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow Rivers of Living Water.'" (Jn7:37-38

 

St. John follows with this explanation: "This He said about the Spirit, which those who believed in Him were to receive." (Jn7:37-39) Also, with the Samaritan woman Jesus speaks of "a Spring of Water welling up to Eternal Life."(Jn4:14) With Nicodemus He speaks of the need for a new Birth "of Water and the Spirit" to "enter the Kingdom of God."(Jn3:5) Drawing on the experience of Pentecost and Her own apostolic history, the Church proclaims that The Holy Spirit as the Giver of Life is the One in Whom the inscrutable Triune God communicates Himself to human beings, constituting in them the Source of Eternal Life.

 

2. Pope Paul VI emphasized that: "devotion to The Holy Spirit (is) precisely indispensable as a complement to the teaching of the (Second Vatican) Council."(GenAud6/73) In the quest for Christian unity, The Holy Spirit points out the ways leading to the union of Christians, as the Supreme Source of this unity. The Holy Spirit of God is a "fresh discovery of God" in His transcendent reality as Infinite Spirit. Jesus presents Him to the Samaritan woman in the need to adore Him in Spirit and Truth." (Jn4:24) In the Holy Spirit we find "in Him the secret of Love and the Power of a 'new creation'." (Cf.Rom8:22;Ga116:15) The Holy Spirit is precisely the Giver of Life. The words of Christ about the Holy Spirit are the inexhaustible Source of the "Water, welling up to Eternal Life". (Jn4:14) The Church "is compelled by the Holy Spirit to do Her part towards the full realization of the will of God, Who has established Christ as the Source of salvation for the whole world."(LG,17)

 

 

PART ONE

 

THE SPIRIT OF THE FATHER AND THE SON, GIVEN TO THE CHURCH

 

 

 

I.  JESUS' PROMISE AND REVELATION AT THE LAST SUPPER

 

3. When the time for Jesus to leave this world had almost come, He told the Apostles:

 

"Whatever you ask in My Name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son...I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ewer, even the Spirit of Truth."    (Jn14:13.16f.)

 

It is precisely this Spirit of Truth Whom Jesus calls the Paraclete---and parakletos means "counselor", and also "intercessor", or "advocate".  And He says that the Paraclete is "another" Counselor, the second one, since He, Jesus Himself, is the first Counselor; (lJn2:1) being the first Bearer and Giver of the Good News. The Holy Spirit comes after Him and because of Him, in order to continue in the world, through the Church, the work of the Good News of salvation.

 

4. A little while after this prediction in the Gospel of John just mentioned, Jesus adds: "But the Counselor, 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 have said to you."(Jn14:26) The Holy Spirit will be the Counselor of the Apostles and the Church, always present in their midst---even though invisible---as the Teacher of the same Good News that Christ proclaimed. The words "He will teach" and "bring to remembrance" means not only that He is, in His Own particular way, will continue to inspire the spreading of the Gospel of Salvation but also that He will help people to understand the correct meaning of the content of Christ's Message; these words mean that He will insure continuity and identity of understanding in the midst of changing conditions and circumstances. The Holy Spirit, then, will ensure that in the Church there will always continue the same truth which the Apostles heard from their Master.

 

5. Jesus goes on: "When the Counselor comes, Whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to Me."  The supreme and most complete revelation of God to humanity is Jesus Christ Himself, and the Witness of The Spirit inspires, guarantees and convalidates the faithful transmission of this revelation in the preaching and writing of the Apostles, while the witness of the apostles ensures its human expression in the Church and in the history of humanity.

 

6. The next words in St. John's Gospel are: "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come." (Jn16:12)  This "guiding into all the Truth", referring to what the apostles "cannot bear now", is connected with Christ's self-emptying through His Passion and Death on the Cross (the scandal of the Cross). It is also connected with everything that Christ "did and taught" (Actsl:l) in the mystery of Christ. Taken as a whole, this "guiding unto all the truth" demands faith, since it is Faith that introduces man into the rea1ity of the Mystery of Christ. This is the work of the Spirit of Truth. The Holy Spirit of the Most Holy Trinity is man's Supreme Guide and the Light of the human spirit.

 

7. The Holy Spirit-Paraclete unceasingly continues the historical presence on earth of the Redeemer and His saving Work. The glory of Christ shines forth in the words of John: "He (the Spirit of Truth) will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you." The supreme and complete self-revelation of God continues to be manifested in the Church by the Invisible Counselor, the Spirit of Truth. The intimacy of the Holy Spirit with Christ is expressed in the Words "He will take". To clearly express the Divine and Trinitarian Unity of the Source, Jesus adds: "All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and declare it to you."(Jn16:14-15) By the fact of "taking" what belongs to Jesus Christ ("Mine"). The Holy Spirit will draw from "what is the Father's". In the light of the Words "He will take", Jesus reveals the distinctness of the Three Divine Persons when He said: "I will send Him to you". (Jn16:7)

 

 

II. FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT

 

 8. In the Gospel of John, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are clearly called Persons: the First distinct from the Second and the Third, and Each of Them from one another.

 

In His Last Supper discourse, Jesus reveals the bonds which unite the Father, the Son and the Paraclete to one another. Thus "the Holy Spirit...proceeds from the Father"(JnI5;26) and the Father "gives" the Spirit.(JnI4:16). The Father "sends" the Spirit in the Name of the Son, (JnI4:26) the Spirit "bears witness" to the Son.(JnI5:26) The Son asks the Father to send the Spirit-Counselor.(Jn14:16) but likewise affirms and promises, in relation to His own "departure" through the Cross: "If I go. I will send Him to you."(Jn16:7)

 

Thus, the Father sends the Holy Spirit in the Power of His Fatherhood, as He has sent the Son;(Cf.Jn3:16f34/6:57/17:3.18.23) but at the same time He sends The Holy Spirit in the Power of the Redemption accomplished by Christ---and in this sense the Ho1y Spirit is sent a1so by the Son: "I will send Him to you."(JnI6:7) The Holy Spirit comes because Jesus departed the earth through the Cross; because of the Redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, through the will and action of the Father.

 

9. Jesus' farewell discourse at the last supper reaches the highest point of the revelation of the Most Holy Trinity. The words of the Sacrament of Baptism ("---baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"; (Mt28:19) express the life-giving power of the Sacrament which brings about sharing in the life of the Triune God. Baptism gives Sanctifying Grace as a Supernatural Gift to man. Through grace man is called and made "capable" of sharing in the inscrutable Life of God. (Cf.2Peter1:4)

 

10. In His Intimate life, God "is love"; (Cf.lJn4:8.16) the essential love shared by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This love is Divine Personal love. Personal love is the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Therefore, The Holy Spirit "searches even the depths of God" (Cf.lCor2:10) as Uncreated love-Gift. It can be said that in the Holy Spirit the intimate life of the Triune God becomes totally Gift, an exchange of mutual love between the Divine Persons, and that through the Holy Spirit God exists in the mode of Gift. It is the Holy Spirit Who is the personal expression of this Self-Giving, of this Being-love. (Cf.St.ThAquinas/Summa.la.qq.37-38) The Holy Spirit is Person-Love. The Holy Spirit is Person-Gift. This is the inexhaustible treasure of the reality of the knowledge of Person in God. The Holy Spirit, consubstantial with the Father and the Son in Divinity, is Love and uncreated Gift from which all giving of gifts derives its Source. The Holy Spirit gives creatures the Gift of Life through Creation, and the Gift of Grace to human beings through the economy of Christ's Gift of Salvation. As the apostle Paul writes: "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which (Who) has been given to us." (Rom5:5)

 

III. THE SALVIFIC SELF-GIVING OF GOD IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

11. In particular reference to the "Self-Giving" of the Holy Spirit of The One Triune God, St. John's Gospel reveals the most profound "logic" of the saving mystery of Jesus Christ. This "logic" is an extension of the ineffable Communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This "logic" leads to the Redemption accomplished by the Son. His Cross and Resurrection, in its entire salvific power, is transmitted to the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son: The One Who "will take what is Mine." (JnI6:14) Jesus Christ's departure (ascension) is an indispensable condition for the sending and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  What began at the Ascension is the salvific Self-giving of God, in  His Holy Spirit.

 

12. With Jesus Christ's Ascension began the "new salvific self-giving of God, in the Holy Spirit." The first and original beginning of God's salvific self-giving is identified with the Mystery of Creation. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the Spirit of God 'was moving over the face of the waters'".(Genl:l) This giving of existence from God was the beginning of God's salvific Self-Communication to His creatures, especially man, who has been created in the Image and likeness of God: "let Us make man in Our Image, after Our Likeness." (Gen1:26)

 

 

13. The coming of the Counselor is the new beginning, because between the first beginning and the whole of human history, from the fall of Adam onwards, sin has intervened.  Sin is a contradiction to the Presence of the Holy Spirit of God in creation. Above all, sin is a contradiction to God's salvific Self-Communication to man in the Holy Spirit of God. St. Paul writes that because of sin: "creation...was subjected to futility...; has been groaning in travail together until now" and "waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God." (Rom8:19-22)

 

14. Therefore, Jesus Christ says in the Upper Room: "It is to your advantage I go away.  If I go, I will send Him to you." (Jn16:7) The "departure" of Christ through the Cross has the Power of Redemption---and this also means a new Presence of the Spirit of God in Creation and God's Self-Communication to man in the Holy Spirit. "And that you are children is proven by the fact that God has sent into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, Who cries: Abba, Father!" (GaL4:6,cf.Rom8:15) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father. At the same time, He is the Spirit of the Son; He is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (Cf.Gala4:6,Philip1:19,Rom8:11) With the sending of the Holy Spirit "into our hearts", there begins the fulfillment of that for which "creation waits with eager longing", as we read in Romans. The Holy Spirit comes at the price of Christ's "departure" which causes sorrow in the hearts of the Apostles(Cf.Jn16:6); and this sorrow reached its culmination in Christ's Passion and Death on Good Friday. But, "this sorrow will turn into joy" (Cf.Jn16:20), for Christ will add to this Redemptive "departure" the glory of His Resurrection and Ascension to His Father. At the price of the Cross which brings about the Redemption in the Power of the Paschal Mystery, the Holy Spirit comes in order to remain from the day of Pentecost onward with the Apostles, with the Church and in the Church, and through the Church, in the world.

 

IV. THE MESSIAH, ANOINTED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

15."Messiah" literally means "Christ", that is, "Anointed One", and in the history of salvation it means "the One anointed with the Holy Spirit". "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power".(Acts10:37) In Isaiah, the "fifth Gospel", or the "Gospel of the Old Testament", the prophet says: "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of its roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and Fear of the Lord. And His delight shall be the Fear of the Lord."(Is11:1-3) With the revelation of the figure of the Messiah there begins, so to speak, the path towards the full revelation of the Holy Spirit in the Unity of the Trinitarian mystery.

 

16. It is the Messiah bringing His New Covenant Who is this Path. He is that single Great Personage anointed by God Himself. He possess the fullness of the Spirit of God. "Now the Lord God has sent Me and His Spirit."(Is61;1) "Behold my Servant, Whom I uphold, My Chosen, in Whom My soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon Him."(Is42:1,Jn3:21-22) Simeon, upon whom "rested the Holy Spirit" sensed this at the moment of Jesus' presentation in the Temple, when he perceived in the Child Jesus "salvation, prepared in the presence of all peoples" at the price of the Cross which He would have to embrace with His Mother.(Cf.Lk2:25-35)

 

18. Jesus confirms His being anointed with the Holy Spirit in the Synagogue at Nazareth when He read from the prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me." (Is61:1) Having read this, He turned to those present and said: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."(Lk4:16;21)

 

V. JESUS OF NAZARETH, "EXALTED" IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

19. Jesus' mission in the Holy Spirit is revealed by John the Baptist: "I baptize you with water; He Who is mightier than I is coming..... He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Lk3;16,Mt3:11,Mk1:7,Jn1;33)  And also, upon the arrival of Jesus for His baptism: "Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world." (Jn1:29) This testimony is corroborated by another testimony of a higher order: "...the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form, as a dove". (Lk3:21,Mt3:16,Mk1:10) At the same time "a voice from heaven said 'This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.'" (Mt3:17) Therefore, Christ is exalted before the eyes of Israel as the Messiah. The apparition of the Holy Spirit as a dove, and the voice of God The Father at the baptism of Jesus confirms the exaltation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah in a Trinitarian Theophany.

 

21. The "theophany" at the baptism of Jesus came from Heaven, that is from 'above' or 'from outside'. When the seventy-two disciples return (Lk10:17-20), Jesus rejoices "in the Holy--Spirit": "I praise Thee, Father.... no one knows Who the Son is except the Father, and Who The Father is except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." Jesus' rejoicing is from within, that is to say, from the depths of Who Jesus is.

 

VI. THE RISEN CHRIST SAYS: "RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT"

 

24. Jesus completes the expression of His infinite Love for us in the Paschal Mystery of His Death and Resurrection, on the day of the Resurrection. St. Paul writes: "On this day Jesus of Nazareth, "descended from David according to the flesh, is designated Son of God in Power according to the Spirit of Holiness by His Resurrection from the dead." (Rom1:3) It can be said, therefore, that the messianic "raising up" of Christ in the Holy Spirit reaches its zenith in the Resurrection in which He reveals Himself also as the Son of God, "full of Power." In fact, the Risen Christ does two things: He fulfills God's promise already expressed through the Prophet's words: "A new heart I will give you, and a new Spirit I will put within you,...My Spirit". (Ex36:26,Jn37:39,19:34) Secondly, He fulfills His own promise: "If I go, I will send Him to you". (Jn16:7) "Him" is the Spirit of Truth, the paraclete sent by the risen Christ to transform us into His own risen image. (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Joannis Evangelium,V) "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut Jesus came and stood among them and said to them: 'Peace be with you....receive the Holy Spirit.'" (Jn20:19-22) The Birth, Death and Resurrection, the Triduum Sacrum of Jesus, Whom the Father Consecrated with the Anointing of the Holy Spirit and sent into the world, reach their fulfillment with the giving of Christ's Gift to us of the Holy Spirit. Christ, Who "gave up His Spirit on the Cross"(Cf.Jn19"30), as the Son of Man and the Lamb of God, once risen goes to the Apostles "to breathe on them" with that Power spoken of in the Letter to the Romans. (Cf.Roml:4) The Lord's coming fills those present with joy: "Your sorrow will turn into joy"(Cf.Jn16:20), as He had promised them before His Passion. Above all, Christ fulfills the principle prediction of His Last Supper discourse: The Risen Christ, as it were beginning a New Creation, "brings" to the Apostles the Holy Spirit.  Thus, the sending of the Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit are joined together." The mission of the Son, in a certain sense, finds its "fulfillment" in the Redemption. The mission of the Holy Spirit "draws from" the Redemption. The Redemption is totally carried out by the Son as the Anionted One, Who came and acted in the Power of the Holy Spirit, offering Himself on the Cross. And this Redemption is, at the same time constantly carried out in human hearts, in the history of the world, by the Holy Spirit. There is no sending of the Holy Spirit without the Cross and the Resurrection.

 

VII. THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE ERA OF THE CHURCH

 

25. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was sent to sanctify the Church forever, so that believers might have access to the Father through Christ in One Spirit. (Cf.Eph2:18). He is the Spirit of Life (Cf.Jn4:14,7:38), the One through Whom the Father restores life to those who are dead through sin, until one day He will raise in Christ their mortal bodies. (Cf.Rom8:10) On Pentecost, after receiving the Holy Spirit, the Apostles went out from the Upper Room into Jerusalem in order to bear witness to Christ in the Power of the Holy Spirit. In this way the prediction is fulfilled: "He will bear witness to Me, and you also are witnesses because you have been with Me from the beginning" (Jn15:26). The time of the Church began when the promises and predictions that so explicitly referred to the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, began to be fulfilled in complete Power and clarity upon the Apostles. With the coming of the Holy Spirit they felt capable of fulfilling the mission entrusted to them. They felt full of strength. It is precisely this that the Holy Spirit worked in them, and this is continually at work in the Church, through their successors. For the Grace of the Holy Spirit which the Apostles gave to their collaborators through the imposition of hands continues to be transmitted in Episcopal Ordination, the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The Sacrament of Confirmation ensures that all who are reborn of water (Baptism) and the Holy Spirit (Confirmation) are strengthened by this Gift (The Grace of the Holy Spirit). In a certain way, the Grace of Pentecost is perpetuated in the Church, for the Holy Spirit guides the Church into the fullness of Truth. (lTim3:15,Cf.Jn16:13) The Holy Spirit furnishes and directs the Church with various gifts, both hierarchial and charismatic, and adorns Her with the Fruits of His Grace.(Cf.Eph4:11, 12; lCor12:4; Ga15:22) By the Power of the Gospel He makes the Church grow, perpetually renews Her, and leads Her to perfect union with Her Spouse, Jesus Christ. (LG4)

 

26. This continues down the centuries and generations. The Second Vatican Council was an "ecclesiological" Council: a Council on the theme of the Church. The Council is permeated by the truth about the Holy Spirit, as the Soul of the Church. The Second Vatican Council contains precisely all that "the Holy Spirit says to the Churches." (Cf.Rev2:29,3:6.13.22) The Council has given a confirmation of the Presence of the Holy Spirit--the Counselor. Cf.Jn12:31.14.30,16:11) The testing and bringing together of the salvific Fruits of the Holy Spirit bestowed in the Council is something indispensable. For this purpose one must learn how to "discern" them carefully from everything that may instead come originally from the "prince of this world". This discernment is especially necessary in view of the fact that the Council opened itself widely to the contemporary world. In the Pastoral Constitution we read: "For theirs (disciples of Christ) is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father. This community (the Council) is truly and intimately linked with mankind and its history. The Church truly knows that only God, Whom She serves, meets the deepest longings of the human heart, which is never fully satisfied by what the world has to offer. "God's Holy Spirit directs the unfolding of time and renews the face of the earth." (Gaudium et Spes,l)

 

 

PART TWO

 

 

THE SPIRIT WHO CONVINCES THE WORLD CONCERNING SIN

 

 

 

I. SIN, RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUDGMENT

 

27.  In His Last Supper discourse, Jesus added to His announcement of the coming of the Holy Spirit: "And when He comes, He will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment". (Jn16:7) The same Counselor and Spirit of Truth Who has been promised as the One Who will "teach", "bring to remembrance", "bear witness" and "guide unto all the Truth" is the same One Who "will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment". Jesus adds an explanation: " ....concerning sin because they do not believe in Me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no more; concerning judgment because the ruler of this world is judged". (Jn16:8-11) "Convincing the world" or showing the world, is proper to the action of the Holy Spirit. "Sin" means the disbelief and rejection of Jesus' mission, so much so that He was condemned to death. "Righteousness" means the Justice the Father will restore to Jesus in His Resurrection and Ascension to heaven. "Judgment" means that the Spirit of Truth will show the guilt of the "world", meaning the guilt of the "prince of this world", Satan, the one who from the beginning has been exploiting the work of creation against salvation. The Holy Spirit convinces (shows) the world concerning judgment only in order to continue in the world the salvific work of Jesus Christ. (Obviously those who follow the "prince of this world" will join him, Satan, in judgment.)

 

28.  In His coming, the Holy Spirit takes from the Son the work of Redemption.  He convinces or shows the world

the sin of Satan to contrast it with the definitive salvation in God, which has as its Center the crucified and glorified Jesus Christ (The Paschal Mystery of Christ). This "salvific economy" of God, in a certain sense removes man from judgment. In showing "judgment", that is the damnation of Satan, The Holy Spirit opens up vast horizons between sin and righteousness. The Holy Spirit is convincing us of our choice: the cross of Christ or sin.

 

29.  All the Words uttered by the Redeemer in the Upper Room on the eve of His Passion become part of the era of the Church. Christ's Words about the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete and Spirit of Truth become part of the Church in an ever new way, in every generation, in every age.  This is confirmed by the teaching of the second Vatican Council, which, by opening itself to the Light of the Spirit of Truth is seen as the authentic depository of the predictions and promises made by Christ in His farewell discourse. Jesus speaks in a particular way concerning the Holy Spirit Who would "convince the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment".

 

II. THE TESTIMONY OF THE DAY OF PENTECOST

 

30. "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance".(Acts2;4) St. Irenaeus concludes the "utterance" in "other tongues" as "bringing back to unity the scattered races and offering to the Father the first-fruits of all the nations".(Adv.Haeresis III)  In St. Peter's first discourse in Jerusalem (Acts2:22-24), he boldly tells the assembled crowd representing many nations (each man understanding him), that "...you crucified and killed (Christ) by the hands of lawless men".  The Holy Spirit, through St. Peter's lips clearly "convinces the world concerning sin".

 

31. In "convincing the world of sin", Peter also calls for conversion: "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit".(Acts2:37) Conversion requires convincing of sin.  It includes the interior judgment of the conscience, thus being a proof of the action of the Holy Spirit of Truth in man's inmost being.  "Convincing concerning sin" dispenses a two-fold gift from the Holy Spirit: truth of conscience and certainty of redemption.  The Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit; the Counselor.  Redemption is one of the gifts of the "convincing of sin" because the death of the Son of God conquers human death. (Cf.1CorI5:55)

 

32.   The Holy Spirit also "convinces" the world not only of the sin of the death of Christ, but He also "convinces" of every sin committed in every place, at every time for all of human history. The Holy Spirit shows the true dimension of evil in relation to the cross of Christ.  In this relationship  is hidden the "mysterium iniquitatis", the "mystery of iniquity". Man does not know the entire dimension of evil apart from the cross of Christ.  Man absolutely cannot be "convinced" of evil except by the Holy Spirit.  Sin, shown in relation to the Cross of Christ, is at the same time identified in the full dimension of the mystery of Godliness, or "mysterium pietatis", or "pietatis sanctorum."(Cf.1Tim3:17)  Man is also ignorant of the "holiness of God", and cannot be "convinced" of this dimension either except by the Holy Spirit, the One Who searches the depths of God. (ICor2:10) It is not enough to search the human conscience; for we have to penetrate the inner mystery of God: to the Father, in the Son, through the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit Who "searches" the "depths of God", and draws God's response to man's sin. With God's response to man's sin, there closes the process of "convincing concerning sin", as the event of Pentecost shows. God's response is His call to repentance, Baptism, and conversion.

 

III. THE WITNESS CONCERNING THE BEGINNING: THE ORIGINAL REALITY OF SIN

 

33. This is the dimension of sin that we find in the witness concerning 'the beginning' in the book of Genesis.(Cf.Genl:3) The 'original reality of sin' is the sin that constitutes the principle and root of all the others, and never ceases to be active. However, the "mysterium iniquitatis", and the "mysterium pietatis" become particularly clear in the 'original reality of sin'. This is expressed by St. Paul when he contrasts the 'disobedience of the first Adam' with the 'obedience of Christ, the second Adam'. Christ was "obedient unto death".(Cf.Rom5:19,Phi12:8) Sin, in its original reality takes place in man's will---and conscience---first of all as disobedience.  Disobedience is the opposition of the will of man to the Will of God. This 'original' disobedience presupposes a rejection, or, at least a turning-away from the Truth contained in the Word of God.  This Word is the same Word Who "creates the world", Who was "in the beginning with God", Who "was God", and "the world was made through Him". He is the Word Who is also the Eternal Law, the Source of every law which regulates the world, especially human acts. Therefore, on the eve of His Passion, Jesus Christ speaks of the sin of those who "do not believe in Him". In this, there is an echo of the 'original reality' of sin; the rejection, the disobedience to the One Who is the "First-Born of all creation". For "in Him and through Him and for Him all things were created."(Cf.Coll:15-18) In the light of this truth we understand that "disobedience" in the mystery of the beginning presupposes the "non-faith" of those who "have not believed". The rejection of the Word of the Father is disobedience: an effect of the temptation which comes from the "father of lies". (Cf.Jn8:44) The root of human sin is the lie which is a radical rejection of the Truth contained in the Word of the Father, through Whom is expressed the omnipotence and also the love "of God the Father, Creator of Heaven and earth".

 

34.  "The Spirit of God" is the "Spirit Who searches the depths of the Father and of the Word-Son" in the mystery of creation. He is not only the direct Witness of Their Mutual Love from which creation derives, but He Himself is this Love.  The Holy Spirit gives the gift to man which is the "image and likeness" to God. This means not only rationality and freedom as properties of human nature, but also, the capacity of having a personal relationship with God, as "I" and "You". God gives man the capacity of having a covenant. . The Gift of The Holy Spirit ultimately means a call to friendship.  The Second Vatican Council teaches: "The invisible God out of the abundance of His Love speaks to man as friends and lives among them, so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself." (Dei Verbum,2)

 

35. The Holy Spirit "knows even the depths of God", and, from the beginning, "knows the secrets of man".(Cf.1Cor2:10)  The Holy Spirit is the only One Who constantly guides towards "righteousness" in the presence of original sin, the source of sin which never ceases to be active.  This "righteousness" is revealed to man through Christ's "obedience unto death" on the Cross.(Cf.Phi12:8) Only The Holy Spirit can "convince" concerning the sin of the human beginning which consists in untruthfulness and the rejection of the Gift of the Love of God which is the Gift of Himself, Who is God..

 

38. In spite of all the witness of creation and of the salvific economy inherent in it, the spirit of darkness (Cf.Eph6:12,Lk22:53) is capable of showing God as an enemy of His own creature, and in the first place as an enemy of man; as a source of danger and threat to man. In this way, Satan manages to sow in man's soul the seed of opposition to the One Who "from the beginning" would be considered as man's enemy, and not as Father.  Man is challenged to become the adversary of God!  Because of the influence of the "father of lies", throughout the history of humanity there will be a constant pressure on man to reject God, even to the point of hating Him: love of self to the point of contempt for God."  (St.Augustine,DeCivitateDei)  Man will be inclined to see in God a limitation of himself, and not the Source of freedom and goodness. Atheistic ideologies seek to "root out" religion and claim for man what is God's, even to the point of declaring the "death" of God; when, "without God, the creature would disappear. When God is forgotten, the creature grows unintelligible." (Gaudium et Spes,36)

 

IV. THE SPIRIT WHO TRANSFORMS SUFFERING INTO SALVIFIC LOVE

 

39. "Convincing concerning sin" also means revealing suffering. The Church teaches that sin is an offence against God.  At the rejection ("sin") of the Holy Spirit Who is Love and Gift, the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit react so deeply as to say: "I am sorry that I have made them".(Gen6:5-7) More often, Sacred Scripture speaks to us of a Father Who feels compassion for man. This inscrutable and indescribable Fatherly pain will bring about the wonderful economy of Redemptive Love in Jesus Christ, so that through the "mysterium pietatis" love can reveal itself as stronger than sin. Why? So that the Gift of the Holy Spirit may prevail!  The Holy Spirit enters into human and cosmic suffering with a new outpouring of love which will redeem the world!  And on the lips of Jesus the Redeemer, in Whose Humanity the "suffering" of God is concretized, there will be heard a Word which manifests the Eternal Love full of mercy: "Misereor", meaning "I have compassion."(Cf.Mt15;32,Mk8:2) The Holy Spirit's outpouring of Love when He enters into human suffering is told to us in Sacred Scripture: "For we are saved by hope", and, "we hope for that which we see not, (and) we wait for it with patience", and, "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmity, for we know not what we should pray for but the Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings". (Rom8:20-22) Therefore sin is conquered through the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Who eventually causes the Holy Spirit of God to descend upon us. The Lamb of God Who has become even "unto death" the obedient Servant, by making up for man's disobedience, accomplishes the Redemption of the world.

 

40. "Jesus Christ, Who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, (to) purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God."(Heb9:13) Thus, the Holy Spirit is present in the whole of Christ's life and also in the Redemptive Sacrifice of the Incarnate Word. Jesus Christ, in His own Humanity opened Himself totally to the action of the Holy Spirit-Paraclete, Who from suffering enables eternal salvific Love to spring forth. Christ "was heard for His Godly fear. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered".(Heb5:7) Humanity, subjected  to sin in the descendents of the first Adam, in Jesus Christ became  perfectly subjected to God and united to Him, and, at the same time filled with compassion towards men.

Thus, there is a new humanity, given to us by Jesus Christ.

 

41. The Old Testament speaks of "fire from heaven" which burned the offerings of men. (Cf.Lev9:24; lK18:38,2Chr7:1)  By analogy we say that the Holy Spirit is the "fire from heaven" which works in the Mystery of the Cross. Proceeding from the Father, He brings to the Father the Sacrifice of the Son, incorporating it into the Divine reality of the Trinitarian Communion. God's Love is at work; that Love which brings man back again to share in the Life that is God Himself. The Holy Spirit consumes the Sacrifice of the Cross. Christ, in being obedient "even to death on a Cross", "receives" the Holy Spirit in such a way that afterwards He alone, with God the Father, can give the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, to the Church, and to humanity: "When the Paraclete cometh, Whom I will send  you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, Who prodeedeth from the Father."(Jn15:26) Jesus said in the Upper Room: "Receive the Holy Spirit; if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven".(Jn20:22) John the Baptist foretold: "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire".(Mt3:11) With these Words of Jesus, the Holy  Spirit is revealed and made present as the love that works in the depth of the Paschal Mystery, as the Source of the salvific power of the Cross of Christ, and as the gift of New and Eternal Life. The Roman liturgy speaks to this before Communion: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, by the Will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit your death (has) brought life to the world..". And in the Third Eucharistic Prayer, asks God that the Holy Spirit may "make us an everlasting gift to you".

 

 V. THE BLOOD THAT PURIFIES THE CONSCIENCE

 

42.  The Holy Spirit becomes present in the Paschal Mystery of Christ, proceeding forth from the Father, being sent by the Eternal Word as the One Who continues the salvific work rooted in the salvific work of the Cross. Through the Apostles and the Church, the Holy Spirit remains the transcendent principal Agent of the accomplishment of this work in the human spirit and in the history of the world: the invisible and omnipresent Paraclete! The Spirit of God Who "breathes where He wills". (Jn3:8) When Jesus appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection He said: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained". (Jn20:22) But this Power granted to men presupposes and includes the saving action of the Holy Spirit. He is the "light of hearts" (VeniSancteSpiritus), the Light of consciences. In "convincing concerning sin", the Holy Spirit makes man realize his own evil, and, at the same time directs him towards what is good. Thanks to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, every kind of human sin can be reached by God's saving Power. St. Bonaventure says: "..by virtue of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, all evils are destroyed and all good things are produced". Thus the conversion of the human heart, indispensable for the forgiveness of sins, is brought about by the Holy Spirit. Without true conversion with inner contrition, and a firm purpose of amendment, sins remain "unforgiven" in the traditions of the Old and New Covenants, and in the first Words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark: "Repent, and believe in the Gospel". (Mkl:15) The Holy Spirit confirms Jesus' Words by "convincing concerning sin" in virtue of the Redemption accomplished by the Blood of the Son of Man. Christ's Redemptive Act opens to the Holy Spirit the door of man's conscience, since "Blood purifies the conscience".  (Cf.Heb9:14) The Holy Spirit, the Counselor, proceeds with the conversion of the human heart.

 

43.  Vatican Council II says "the most secret core and sanctuary of a man, where he is alone with God, whose  voice echoes in his depths", is his conscience. The capacity to command what is good and to forbid evil is placed in man by the Creator, and is man's main personal characteristic. At the same time, man detects a law which holds him to obedience. This call to obedience is the "Voice of God echoing" in man's "secret sanctuary", his conscience. The conscience is the voice of God even when man recognizes in it nothing more than the principle of moral order. It is not possible to doubt moral order even when there is no direct reference to the Creator.  The Gospel's "convincing concerning sin" thus can be accomplished in no other way by the Holy Spirit than through the conscience. If the conscience is upright, it serves "to resolve according to truth" the moral problems which arise. The upright conscience, first of all, identifies Good and Evil by their proper names. What is evil opposes life itself, violates the integrity of the human person, and insults human dignity. These evils poison human society, and are a supreme dishonor to the Creator. In addition, these evils do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury they inflict. The Council describes all this as "a dramatic struggle between Good and Evil, between Light and Darkness", which characterizes "all of human life, whether individual or collective". (Gaudium Et Spes)

 

44. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, coming into contact as the Voice of the human conscience, demonstrates the roots of sin. "The Truth is, that, the imbalances under which the modern world labors are linked with that more basic imbalance rooted in the heart of man. The creature experiences his limitations in a multitude of ways. On the other hand, man feels himself to be boundless in his desires and summoned to a higher life. Man is constantly forced to choose among attractions; accepting some and renouncing some. Indeed, as a weak and sinful being, he often does what he would not, and fails to do what he would." (Cf.GaudiumEtSpes) (Cf.Rom7:14-15.19) In the middle of all this, the Holy Spirit speaks to the conscience and brings about conversion of the human heart always in relation to the Cross of Christ. Thus Christianity, guided by the Counselor, rejects any fatalism regarding sin. "A monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man, and will continue until the very last day. But, the Lord Himself came to free and strengthen man. By relying on the Holy Spirit, the Voice of his conscience, "is obliged to wrestle constantly if he is to cling to what is good. He cannot achieve his interior integrity without valiant efforts and God's grace".

 

45. Conversion restores Truth and Love in man's very heart. Recognizing evil in ourselves sometimes demands a great effort. Conscience not only commands and forbids, but judges. Conscience, being the Voice of the Holy Spirit, judges in the Light of interior dictates and prohibitions. It is also the source of remorse, and man suffers interiorly because of the evil he has committed. The Holy Spirit permits the human conscience to share in the suffering of the Cross of Christ. Then human suffering becomes particularly profound, but also particularly salvific. Then, by means of an act of perfect contrition, the authentic conversion of the heart is accomplished by the Holy Spirit of Truth.  Thus the Church calls the Holy Spirit the "Light of consciences" Who penetrates and fills "the depths of the human heart."  Through conversion of the heart through the Holy Spirit, a person becomes open to forgiveness and the remission of sins. In conversion-forgiveness, the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit is accomplished.   The Holy Spirit comes by the virtue of the Sacrifice of the Cross. For He comes by "the Blood of Christ...(and) purifies your conscience from dead works to serve the Living  God." (Cf.Heb9:14)  Thus continuously are Jesus' Words to His disciples in the Upper Room fulfilled: Jesus is sending "another Counselor", and "you know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you."  (Jn14:17)

 

VI. THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

 46. The words of Jesus concerning "unforgiveness" are disturbing. The Words of the Gospel of Christ are: "Whoever says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come".(Mt12:31) "All sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin".(Mk3:2B)  "Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven".(Lk12:10) Thus the Gospels reveal the sin called "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit". This sin is "unforgivable by its very nature, insofar as it excludes the elements through which the forgiveness of sin takes place." (St.Th.Aquin.SummaII)  Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists in the refusal to accept the salvation which God offers to man through the Holy Spirit, working through the Power of the Cross.  This refusal rejects "convincing concerning sin", the "coming" of the Holy Spirit through the Redemptive Paschal Mystery, and finally the Blood of Christ which "purifies the conscience from dead works". The result of such a purification is the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, whoever rejects the Spirit and the Blood remains in "dead works", in sin. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists precisely in the radical refusal to accept this forgiveness.  The "non-forgiveness" is because of the "non-repentance" of the reprobate. The reprobate sinner refuses the mission of the Holy Spirit which is to draw infinitely from the Sources of Redemption in the always open door to the pathway of salvation. The Holy Spirit has Infinite Power to save because Jesus said: "He will take what is Mine." The reprobate sinner closes himself up in sin and claims to have a "right" to persist in evil; in any sin at all, and thus rejects Redemption. This is a state of spiritual ruin because blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not allow one to escape from one's self-imposed imprisonment to open oneself to the Divine Sources of the purification of consciences and of the remission of sins.

 

47. The free choice to remain in a state of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is what the Gospels call "hardness of heart". (Ps8O/81:13;Jer7:24.Mk3:5)  In our times this attitude of mind and heart is reflected in the loss of the sense of sin.  Pope Pius XII said: "The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin".  (1946USCateCong) Loss of the sense of sin goes hand in hand with the loss of the sense of God.   It follows that if there is no sense of God, then there is no sense of offense against God. . The Church constantly implores from God the Grace that the integrity of human consciences will not be lost. The integrity and sensitivity of the conscience is profoundly linked to the intimate action of the Holy Spirit of Truth.  Hence, St. Paul exhorts: "Do not quench the Spirit";    (Thess5:19) and "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit".   (Eph4:30)

 

48.  In the righteousness of Christ Jesus in the Father, as a reflection of the holiness of the Most Holy Trinity, in the righteousness of the Gospel, and the righteousness of the Redemption, in the righteousness of the Sermon on the Mount, in the righteousness of the Cross of Jesus Christ, in the righteousness of the Blood of the Lamb of God: In this righteousness, the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son, Who "convinces the world concerning sin", reveals Himself and makes Himself present as the Spirit of Eternal Life..

 

 

PART III

 

 

THE SPIRIT WHO GIVES LIFE

 

 

 

I. REASON FOR THE JUBILEE OF THE YEAR 2000: CHRIST WHO WAS CONCEIVED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT. 

 

49. When the "fullness" of time came. God sent to us His Only Begotten Son. In the term "fullness of time" is contained the measurement of human history by God Himself. At this time "God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have Eternal Life."(Jn3:16) In Christ, God the Father sent "He Who is, Who was, and Who is to come"; the "Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End". (Rev1:8,22:13)  Jesus Christ was "born of a woman...so that we might receive adoption as sons".(GaL4:4) This Incarnation of the Son came about "by the Power of the Holy Spirit". The Mother of God bore the "Child of the Holy Spirit". (Mt1:18) He was called Jesus, which means "Jeshua"(Hebrew), "Saviour", for "He will save His people from their sins." (Mt1:20) The Apostles' Creed says: "He was conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary". The Nicene-Constantanopolitan Creed says: "By the Power of the Holy Spirit He became Incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man." He is the same Substance as the Father: "God from God; Light from Light; True God from True God".

 

50. The Conception and Birth of Jesus Christ are in fact the greatest work accomplished by the Holy Spirit in

the history of creation and salvation: The Supreme Grace, the "Grace of Union", the Source of every other Grace. (Summa Theol.IIIa)  In the Incarnation, the "fullness of time" is matched by a "fullness" of the Self-Communication of the Triune God in the Holy Spirit.  The mystery of the "Hypostatic Union" is brought about the union of the Divine Nature and the Human Nature in Christ, the One Person of the Word-Son.  The Incarnation happens when Mary, the Mother of God utters Her "Fiat": "Be it done unto me according to Your Word". (Lk1:38) At that instant, Mary conceives the Son of Man, Who is the Son of God. "The Word became Flesh". (Jn1:14) The Incarnation also has a cosmic dimension. Christ, the "First-Born of all creation" (Col.1:15) unites Himself, in some way, with the entire reality of man; with "all flesh", the whole of creation. (Cf.Gen9:11;Deut5:26; Job34:15;Is40;6,42:10,Ps145/144:21;Lk3;6; lPet1;24)

 

51. All this is accomplished by the Holy Spirit, Who with His Power overshadowed the virginal body of Mary, bringing about in her the beginning of her divine motherhood, at the same time made her heart perfectly obedient to the Self-Communication of God, which surpassed every human idea and faculty. "Blessed is she who believed!" Thus Mary is greeted by her cousin Elizabeth, herself "full of the Holy Spirit". (Lk1:45,41) Mary thus entered the history of salvation through the obedience of Faith. And Faith, in its deepest sense, is the openness of the human heart to God's Self-Communication in the Holy Spirit. (Remember when Jesus appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room saying: "Receive ye the Holy Spirit.") St. Paul writes: "The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom ."  (2Cor3:17) When the Triune God opens Himself to man in the Holy Spirit, this opening of God reveals and also gives to the human creature the fullness of freedom. This Freedom was manifested precisely through the Faith of Mary through the "obedience of Faith".

 

II. REASON FOR THE JUBILEE: GRACE HAS BEEN MADE MANIFEST

 

52. The Work of the Holy Spirit "Who gives Life", reaches Its highest point by giving Life to Life's fullest form: man as Christ.  In His humanity, Jesus is endowed with personhood by the Word, in the hypostatic union. The Eternal Word becomes the "First-Born of all Creation", the "First-Born of many brethren".(Rom8:29) "The Word became Flesh; in Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of Men".(Jn1:14,4) "As many as received Him, He gave them Power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in His Name".(Jn1:12) This "rebirth" happens when God the Father "sends the Spirit of His Son into our hearts", whereby we cry as adopted sons: "Abba, Father!"(Cf.Ga14:6; Rom5:5,2Cor1:22,Rom8:15). Sanctifying Grace is the Principle of man's new Divine Supernatural Life. And Jesus, in the Redemption, is Grace and brings Grace, because He sends the Holy Spirit to us.  The Source of Sanctifying Grace is the Holy Spirit: "When you send forth Your Spirit, they shall be created; and You shall renew the face of the Earth". (Cf.Ps104/103:30) Creation is thus completed by the Holy Spirit in the Incarnation; for "creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."(Rom8:19) The "sons of God" are those "foreknown and predestined to be conformed to the Image of His Son".(Rom8:29) The source of this is a supernatural "adoption" by the Holy Spirit, Who is Love and Gift. As such, He is given to man, and in the superabundance of the Uncreated Gift there begins in man heart the created gift, whereby he becomes "partaker of the divine nature."Cf.2Pe1:4) Thus, human life acquires a Divine, Supernatural dimension. There is granted a New Life, in which "man has access to the Father in the Holy Spirit". (Cf.Eph.2:18) The Uncreated Spirit, the Holy Spirit, gives Sanctifying Grace with It's supernatural vitality. Thus the created human spirit becomes

"partaker of Divine Nature"(Cf.2Pet1:4).

 

53. As the Holy Spirit was active at the beginning of Creation (Gen1:2), He has been active in the Old Covenant (Eph1:3-14). The Holy Spirit will be with us as Guarantor of the Promises of Christ: "In Him (Christ), you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance, until we acquire possession of it."  The Vatican Council reminds us of the Holy Spirit's activity "outside the visible body of the Church". (GaudiumEtSpes/LG)  In speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus describes the activity of the Holy Spirit as: "the wind blows where it wills". (Cf.Jn3:8) The Council speaks precisely of "all people of good will in whose hearts Grace works in an unseen way, by the Power of the Holy Spirit. For since Christ died for all, and since  the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this Paschal Mystery". (GaudEtSpes/LG)

 

54. To the Samaritan woman, Jesus said: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth". (Jn4:24) The Triune God is wholly transcendent, He is absolute Spirit. He is present in the world, penetrating it and giving it life from within. "God is Spirit".(Jn4:24) God, the Holy Spirit is present in the intimacy of man's being, in his mind, conscience and heart. St. Augustine in his 'Confessions' said that God the Holy Spirit is "closer than my inmost being". God made Jesus Christ the visible form of God's Presence.(Cf.Titus2:11) But this appearing of God's Grace in Jesus Christ has been accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Source of God's salvific activity in the world. The Holy Spirit, the "hidden God" (Is45:15), Who as Love and Gift "fills the universe"(Cf.Wis1:7). The Church's entire life, (thusly also ours) means going to meet the Invisible God, the 'hidden God', a meeting with the Holy Spirit, "Who gives Life".

 

III. THE HOLY SPIRIT IN MAN'S INNER CONFLICT: "FOR THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH ARE AGAINST THE SPIRIT, AND THE DESIRES OF THE SPIRIT ARE AGAINST THE FLESH.

 

55. The history of salvation shows that God's coming close and making Himself intimately present to man, that marvelous "condescension" of the Spirit, meets with resistance and opposition in our human reality. Simeon's prophecy illustrates: "...is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, for a sign of contradiction." (Lk2:35) Opposition to God originates in the "visible materialism" of the world contrasting with God Who is "invisible and absolute Spirit." Therefore St. Paul says: "do not gratify the desires of the flesh... for the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit... and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh... these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would." (Ga15:16) This struggle belongs to the heritage of, is a consequence of, and a confirmation of...sin. "To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is Life and Peace." (R08:6) This is an exhortation to live in the Truth.  Possess an upright conscience, and, at the same time, profess faith in the Spirit of Truth (The Paraclete), as the One Who gives Life. "So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, (R08:10) rather we are debtors to Christ, Who in His Paschal Mystery has effected our justfication, obtaining for us the Holy Spirit.  "Indeed we have been bought  a great price." (Cf.lCor6:20) If we welcome the Gift of the Holy Spirit we will win the battle between the flesh and the Spirit. This battle is the conflict between moral good and evil in the heart of man. We will win when we pray for and welcome the action of the Holy Spirit in the order of  grace. Man's limited and sinful psychological and ethical reality will be overcome by the mystery of God's Gift of the Holy Spirit, that unceasing self-giving of Divine Life in the Holy Spirit.

 

56. The external dimension of resistance to the Holy Spirit, the external Sign of Contradiction (Lk2:35), takes

concrete form in the contents of cultures and civilizations as a philosophical system, an ideology or an "action program" for the shaping of human behavior. It reaches its clearest expression in materialism, which is still recognized as the essential core of Marxism.  Marxist materialism excludes the Presence of God, Who is Spirit. It does not accept God's existence, being a system that is essentially and systematically atheistic. The key principle of personal and social action, which excludes the presence and action of God, is characteristically atheistic; being a true and proper materialism.  The Second Vatican Council devoted significant pages to this phenomenon of atheism. (GaudiumEtSpes19,20,21)

 

57. St. Paul's contrast between the "Spirit" and the "flesh" also includes the contrast between "life" and "death". One must say at once that materialism, as a system of thought, in all its forms, means the acceptance of death as the definitive end of human existence. At any rate, even independently of the measure of human hopes or despairs, and of the illusions or deceptions deriving from the development of materialistic systems of thought and life, there remains the Christian certainty that the Holy Spirit blow where He wills, and that we possess "the first fruits of the Spirit". Even thought we suffer, "we groan inwardly as we wait for...the redemption of our bodies." (Cf.Ro8;23) God Who is Spirit, God, our Father "sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh."(Ro8:3) Jesus, after He rose from the dead, appeared in the midst of His apostles and breathed on them and said: "Receive the Holy Spirit." This "breath" continues forever, for "the Spirit helps us in our weakness". (R08:26)

 

II. THE HOLY SPIRIT STRENGTHENS THE "INNER MAN"

 

58. In the Resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, reveals Himself as He Who gives life: "He Who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through His Spirit Who dwells in you."(R08:11) The Church also proclaims Life in the name of the resurrected Christ, and Him Who gives this Life: The Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life. The explanation is this:..."although your bodies are/were dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness".(Ro8:10) This righteousness is accomplished by the crucified and risen Christ. This righteousness of Jesus' is the cause of the eventual giving of Life to our "mortal bodies" by the Holy Spirit, Who lives in us. This is why we groan inwardly as we wait for ....the Redemption of our bodies". (Cf.Ro8:23) United with the Holy Spirit, the Church is supremely aware of the reality of the "inner man", because the "inner man" is spiritual and incorruptible.  At this level the Holy Spirit grafts the "root of immortality" Cf.Wis15:3), from which new Life springs.  This is man's life in God , the "way of the Church", in the Holy Spirit.  St. Paul prays to the Almighty Father for us: "I bow my knees before the Father that He may grant you...to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man".(Cf.Eph3:14-16)  Under the influence of the Holy Spirit this inner, "spiritual" man matures and grows strong. Thanks to divine Self-communication, the human spirit which "knows the secrets of man", meets the "Spirit Who searches everything, even the depths of God". (Cf.lCor2:10)  In the Holy Spirit, Who is the Eternal Gift, the Triune God opens Himself to man, to the human spirit. The hidden Breath of the Divine Spirit enables the human spirit to open in its turn before the saving and Self-Opening of God. Through the Gift of grace, which comes from the Holy Spirit, man enters a "new life", is brought into the supernatural reality of the Divine Life Itself and becomes a "dwelling place of the Holy Spirit", a living temple of God.  (Cf.R08:9.1Cor6:19)  In the communion of grace with the Most Holy Trinity, man is raised up to the supernatural level of Divine Life. Man lives in God and by God; he lives "according to the Spirit", and "sets his mind on the things of the Spirit."

 

59. Man's intimate relationship with God in the Holy Spirit enables him to understand that God's Image and Likeness, which man is, from his very beginning, is fully realized. This intimate Truth is continually rediscovered in the Light of Christ.  In this Light of Christ, man realizes "full self-discovery through a sincere gift of himself to others. The Second Vatican Council writes that this Christ-like charity creates this Divine Likeness which "shows that on earth man...is the only creature that God wishes for Himself. (GaudEtSpes24.25) This Truth of man's being comes about only by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Triune God, giving Himself in the Holy Spirit as  Gift to man, transforms the human world from within, inside the minds and heart of man. The world of man itself, made to share in this Divine Gift, from becoming more inhuman, becomes "ever more human, ever more profoundly human". (lbid38.40) Through the Gift and Love of the Holy Spirit, the Eternal Power of the opening of the Triune God to man and the world is accomplished, so that God becomes "All in all". (Cf.1Cor15;28) Jesus Himself prayed for this "when He prayed to the Father, 'that all may be one....as We are One.' (Jesus' prayer)...implied a certain likeness between the Union of the Divine Persons and the union of the children of God in Truth and Charity. (Jn17:21.22.GaudEtSpes24) This can be said to sum up the whole of Christian anthropology, which is the way of the Church which passes through The Way; the mystery of Christ.  Truly, "the Glory of God is the living man; yet man's life is the Vision of God".(St.lrenaeus) Thus man lives a Divine Life by the indwelling and dispensing of the Holy Spirit. "The Holy Spirit...manifold in His Virtues, extends Himself without undergoing any diminishing, is present in each subject capable of receiving Him as if he

 were the only one (soul), and gives Grace which is sufficient for all."  (St.Basil.DeSpiritoSancto)

 

60. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, The Paraclete, individuals discover this Divine dimension of their beings, and are able to free themselves from the various determinisms  which derive mainly from the materialistic base, as previously discussed. In our age, these factors have penetrated into man's inmost being, into that sanctuary of the conscience, where the Holy Spirit continuously radiates the Light and Strength of New Life in Christ, in the "freedom of the children of God". It can be said that in many cases, social factors, instead of fostering development of, ultimately derive the human spirit of the of the truth of its being and life, over which the Holy Spirit keeps vigil.  These "social factors", being not of the Holy Spirit, but of the "material", subject the human spirit to "the prince of this world". The Great Jubilee of 2000 contains a message of liberation by the Power of the Holy Spirit.  St. Paul: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is. there is freedom." (2Cor3:17) By their obedience to the Holy Spirit, Christians witness to man's authentic dignity, thus contributing to the Holy Spirit's renewal of the face of the earth. (GaudEtSpes53-59) Jesus Christ has been at work His Holy Spirit since the Coming of the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth. Jesus, in His Spirit, arouses, animates and purifies the noble longings by which the human family strives to make life more humane and render the earth submissive to this humaneness. All of the Mystery of this Gift to man, which results in man's greatness, is shown by the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, "through Whom are all things and through Whom we exist". (lCor8:6)

 

V. THE CHURCH AS THE SACRAMENT OF INTIMATE UNION WITH GOD

 

61. As the end of the second Millennium approaches, (which is) an event which should recall to everyone and as it were make present anew the coming of the Word in the fullness of time, the Church once more means to ponder the very essence of Her Divine-human constitution and of that mission which enables Her to share in the Messianic mission of Christ, according to the teaching and the ever valid plan of the Second Vatican Council. Following this, we go back to the Upper Room, where Jesus Christ reveals the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth,  and where He speaks of His own "departure" through the Cross as the necessary condition for the Holy Spirit's coming: "It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." (Jn16:7) In the light of that prediction, we also grasp the full meaning of what Jesus says, also at the Last Supper, about His new coming. His exact Words are: "I will not leave you desolate; I will come to   you." (Jn14;18) And at the moment of his final farewell before He ascends into Heaven, He will repeat even more explicitly: "Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mt28:20) This new "coming" of Christ by the  Power of the Holy Spirit, is accomplished in the Sacramental reality of the Church. Christ is Present and acts in the Church in such an intimate way as to make It His Own Body.  As such the Church lives, works and grows "to the close of the age", through the Power of the Holy Spirit.

 

62. The most complete sacramental reality and expression of the "departure" of Christ through His Paschal Mystery and His "Coming" through the Paraclete, the Counselor, is the Eucharist.  In every Celebration of the Eucharist, Christ's "Coming" and His Salvific Presence is sacramentally realized in the sacrifice and in Communion, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, as part of Christ's Own mission.  (Eucharistic Prayer II: "Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them Holy, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ".) Through the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit accomplishes that "strengthening of the inner man, (Eph3:16) by the action of the Paraclete-Counselor. Through the Eucharist, individuals and communities learn to discover the divine sense of human life, as spoken of by the Council: "that sense whereby Jesus Christ fully reveals man to man himself", suggesting a certain likeness between the Union of the Divine Persons, and the Union of God's children in Truth and Charity". (GaudEtSpes24) Through Truth and Charity man learns to "find himself...through a...gift of himself, through Communion with God and (communion) with others, his brothers and sisters.(Ibid) This is evidenced in Sacred Scripture, as early Christians "devoted themselves to the breaking of bread and the prayers". (Cf.Acts2:42)  In this way they formed a community united by the teaching of the apostles.  They recognized that their Risen Lord Who had ascended to Heaven came into their midst anew in that Eucharistic Community of the Church, and by means of it. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church from the beginning expressed and confirmed Her identity through the Eucharist.  And so it has been, in every Christian generation, down to our own time, down to this present period, when we await the end of the second Christian Millennium.  All believers in Christ, following the example of the Apostles, must strive to conform their thinking and action to the Will of the Holy Spirit, Who is the Principal of the Church's unity, so that all who have been Baptized in the One Spirit in order to make up One Body, may be brethren joined in the celebration of the Eucharist, bonded in Christ and  bonded in Love.  (Cf.VatII, SacrosanctConcilium47)

 

63. In the Second Vatican Council, through Christ's Eucharistic Presence, the Church is able to discover ever more deeply Her own essential mystery.  As a Sacrament, the Church is a development from the Paschal Mystery Christ's "departure", which lives by His ever new coming by the Power of the Holy Spirit.  Christ's Eucharistic Presence and the essential mystery of the Church is within the mission of the Paraclete-Spirit of Truth. While it is through creation that God is He in Whom we all "live and move and have our being", (ActsI7:28) in its turn, the power of Redemption endures and develops in the history of man and the world in a double "rhythm" as it were, the Source of which is found in the Eternal Father. There is the rhythm of the mission of the Son, Who came into the world, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Power of the Holy Spirit. There is also the rhythm of the mission of the Holy Spirit, Who came through the "departure" of the Son. He came as Counselor and Spirit of Truth, and He continues to come.  Within the indivisible Presence of the Holy Spirit, the Son comes, and is continuously Present in the Mystery of the Church, at times concealing Himself and at times revealing Himself in Her history, and always directing Her steps.  This happens through the Power of the Holy Spirit in a Sacramental  way, drawing this Power from Christ's Incarnation and Redemption.  By the will of God the Church fulfills Her salvific ministry through the Sacraments.  The Sacraments give Life.  Jesus Christ together with His Holy Spirit

is Present and acting. 

 

64. As in the Words of the Gospels which take shape in minds and hearts, in all of this, it is The Holy Spirit Who give Life. The Church is, therefore, through the Holy Spirit, a sign and instrument of Intimate Communion with God. Through the Word of God and the Sacraments, Jesus Christ, as His Holy Spirit, dwells in our intimate self; our heart and soul.  Christ's Redemption gives all of this for all humanity. Through Christ's Redemption, the "condescension" of infinite Trinitarian Love is brought to us.  Infinite Trinitarian Love is the Holy Spirit of God.

 

VI. THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE SAY: "COME!"

 

65. The Breath of Divine Life, the Holy Spirit, makes Himself felt in prayer.  Prayer is also the revelation of the abyss of the human heart; a depth which comes from God and which only the Holy Spirit of God can fill.  "For we do not know how to pray as we ought, but  the Holy Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words." (R08:26) "Thus he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the Saints according to the Will of God". (Cf.Origen,DeOratione)

 

66. In the midst of the spiritual decadence, desertion, disappointment and hope of these times of ours, the Church remains faithful to the mystery of her birth with Mary, the Mother of Christ.  The Church perseveres in prayer with Mary.  The Blessed Virgin brought forth the Son Whom God placed as the first-born among the faithful. (Cf.R08:29)  In their birth and development, she cooperates with a Maternal Love. Mary is, through Christ's singular graces intimately united with the Church. She is a model of the Church.  Through Mary, the Church becomes Herself a Mother, and keeps the fidelity She has pledged with Her Spouse. By the Power of the Holy Spirit the Church preserves with virginal purity, integral faith, a firm hope, and a sincere Charity.  (Cf.LG63,64)  United with the Virgin Mother, the Church prays unceasingly as the Bride to Her Divine Spouse: "The Spirit and the Bride say to the Lord Jesus Christ: "Come!" Cf.Rev22:17) This is the eschatological hope, the hope of  fulfillment in God, and participation in the life of the Holy Trinity that the Holy Spirit is the Guardian and Animator of, in the Heart of the Church. The calling of the Holy Spirit and the Bride of Christ: "Lord Jesus, Come!, is the prayer destined to give fullness of meaning to the celebration of the Great Jubilee. This prayer is directed towards a precise moment in history, the "fullness of time", marked by the Jubilee of the Year 2000, prepared for with the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Spouse, The Holy Spirit of the Triune God.  Without the Source of Truth and love, Man cannot live.  The Holy Spirit of the Most Holy Trinity is the Source of Truth and Love for man, the Source of Peace and Joy that: "No one will be able to take away".  (JnI6:22)

 

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 18 May, the Solemnity of Pentecost,

in the year 1986, the eighth of my Pontificate.

 

 

John Paul II

 

 

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