The Holy Spirit
Presence of God – O Holy Spirit, teach me to know You, to want You, to love You, and to prepare myself to second Your action in my soul.
The approach of Pentecost reminds us to turn our mind and heart to the Holy Spirit; with His help, we want to know Him better so as to love Him more ardently, invoke Him more fervently, and dispose ourselves in the best manner possible for the furtherance of His action in our soul.
The catechism teaches us that there are three Persons, equal and distinct, in God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Ab aeterno the Father, knowing Himself, generates His Word, the perfect, substantial Idea in whom the Father is expressed and to whom He communicates all His goodness, lovableness, divine nature, and essence. The Father and the Word, mutually beholding Their infinite goodness and beauty, love each other from all eternity, and the expression of this unitive love is a third Person, the Holy Spirit. As the Word is generated by the Father by way of knowledge, so the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son by way of love. The Holy Spirit is, therefore, the terminus, and the effusion of the reciprocal love of the Father and the Son, an effusion so substantial and perfect that it is a Person, the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, to whom the Father and the Son, by the sublime fruitfulness of their love, communicate their very own nature and essence, without losing any of it Themselves. Because the Holy Spirit is the effusion of divine love, He is called “Spirit,” according to the Latin sense of the word which means air, respiration, the vital breath. In us, respiration is a sign of life; in God, the Holy Spirit is the expression, the effusion of the life and love of the Father and the Son, but a substantial personal effusion, which is a Person. It is in this sense that the third Person of the Blessed Trinity is called the “Spirit of the Father and the Son,” and also “the Spirit of love in God,” that is, the “breath” of love of the Father and the Son, the “breath” of divine love. It was in this sense that the Fathers of the Church called the Holy Spirit “osculum Patris et Filii,” the kiss of the Father and the Son, a “sweet, but secret kiss,” according to the tender expression of St. Bernard.
Let us invoke the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love, so that He may come to enkindle in our hearts the flame of charity.
“O marvelous union in heaven, marvelous on earth, marvelous and most secret, perfect bond of the divine nature, by which the Holy Spirit, the bond of love, in an ineffable manner, unites the divine Persons! Oh, how He unites in perfect unity the Holy Trinity: unity of essence, of substance, and of love! You, O Holy Spirit, are its sweet bond! O divine Spirit, with the same bond by which You join and bind eternally the Father and Son in perfect union, You also unite the soul with God, in a way similar to that divine union. You do so by freeing its faculties so perfectly that because of its close union with God, it neither wishes nor is able to wish, to recall, know, or desire anything but divine charity. Oh! how happy would the soul be, if, like the blessed in heaven, it could nevermore be freed from such a close and blessed bond!
“O Holy Spirit, You come to us by a loving operation of grace … like an overflowing fountain in the soul, wherein the soul is submerged. As two rivers join and unite their waters so that the smaller one loses its name and takes that of the larger, so do You, O divine Spirit, come into the soul to unite Yourself to it. But it is necessary that the soul, which is the lesser, lose its name and leave it to You, O Holy Spirit, that it may be transformed in You, so as to become one spirit with You.
“Holy Spirit, I see You coming down into the soul like the sun which, finding no obstacle, no impediment, illumines everything; I see You descending like a fiery thunderbolt which, in falling, goes to the lowest place it finds and there it reposes, never stopping on the way nor resting on the mountainous or high places but rather in the center of the earth. Thus You, O Holy Spirit, when You come down from heaven with the fiery dart of Your divine love, You do not repose in proud hearts or in arrogant spirits, but You make Your abode in souls that are humble and contemptible in their own eyes” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).
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Art: Holy Spirit Detail from “Chair of Saint Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica”, 03 05 2008, Sergey Smirnov, CCA-SA, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.