The Holy Spirit

Authored By: Rev. William G. Most

We already said the most essential things about the Holy Spirit in explaining the first article of the Creed. Let us add a few things here.

He makes holy the souls of the just by His presence. But a Spirit is not present in the sense of taking up space. We say a Spirit is present wherever it causes an effect. In the soul, the Holy Spirit transforms it, making it basically capable of taking in, after death, the infinite streams of knowledge and love that flow within the Holy Trinity. Thus we are really "sharers in the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). This is a dignity so great that any earthly honor is insignificant beside it.

He comes with his Seven Gifts. These make the soul capable of taking in the special lights and inspirations He sends in a much higher way than what is had in ordinary graces. We do not notice much of any effects from these Gifts until we have advanced rather far in the spiritual life, for great docility and purity of heart are needed.

On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down visibly on the Apostles. He gave them the power to speak in strange tongues to the crowds that came to Jerusalem for that Feast. He also transformed them, from selfish and timid men into giants of courage and faith.


Taken from The Basic Catholic Catechism
PART FOUR: The Apostle's Creed VI-VIII
Eighth Article: "I believe in the Holy Spirit"

By William G. Most. (c)Copyright 1990 by William G. Most

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Related Q & A

105. Who is the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit)?

The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

(a) The Holy Ghost is also called the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Love.

106. From whom does the Holy Ghost proceed?

The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.

(a) The Holy Ghost does not proceed from the Father and the Son by spiritual generation. Only the Son proceeds from the Father by generation. This is one of the mysterious truths that we know only from revelation.

107. Is the Holy Ghost equal to the Father and the Son?

The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, because He is God.

(a) Because of the oneness of nature in the Blessed Trinity, the Father is entirely in the Son and in the Holy Ghost; the Son is entirely in the Father and in the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost is entirely in the Father and in the Son. No one of the three divine Persons is outside the other, for none precedes the other in eternity, nor surpasses the other in power, nor exceeds the other in any way. This indwelling of one divine Person in the others is called circumincession.

108. What does the Holy Ghost do for the salvation of mankind?

The Holy Ghost dwells in the Church as the source of its life and sanctifies souls through the gift of grace.

(a) Although the sanctification of mankind, like all other outward works of God, is performed by all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, it is attributed to the Holy Ghost, the third Person. The sanctification of mankind is attributed to the Holy Ghost because He is the love of the Father and the Son and because the sanctification of man by grace shows forth God's boundless love.


The Baltimore Catechism, Lesson 9.