Thoughts on the Holy Spirit

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Pentecost, Mary Prays for the Coming-of the Holy Spirit in the "Upper Room" - by RESTOUT, Jean - from Musée du Louvre, Paris

 

The Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles
in the Form-of Tongues-of-Fire
 

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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Fear of
the Lord

Under-
standing

Fortitude

Piety

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Wisdom

Counsel

Knowledge

 

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Thoughts on the Holy Spirit

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by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

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Introduction

The Risen Christ, Appears-to and Instructs the Faithful Eleven (11) Apostles in the "Upstairs Room", while they were Awaiting the Coming-of the Holy Spirit - by DUCCIO di Buoninsegna - from Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

 

The Risen Christ, appeared-to the Apostles, while they were 'Awaiting' the Coming-of the Holy Spirit. His Visits were Distinguished-by many Remarkable Wonders and Gifts, Principally-by the Gift of the same Holy Spirit. This Gift is a Result-of our Redemption-by Christ. Jesus Himself made this known to us, when He said to His Disciples, that 'IF' He did not Die, He could not 'Send' us the Holy Spirit: "If I Fail to go, the Paraclete will never come to you, whereas if I go, I will Send Him to you" (John 16:7).

We know by Faith, that the Holy Spirit is the Love that the Father and the Eternal Word have for each other. Therefore, the Gift of Love, which the Lord Infuses-into our Souls, and which is the Greatest-of all Gifts, is particularly Attributed-to the Holy Spirit. As Saint Paul says, "The Love of God has been Poured-out in our Hearts, through the Holy Spirit, Who has been Given-to us" (Romans 5:5).

god_is_luv_ani.gif (9754 bytes) Here, we will consider the Great Value of Divine Love, in order that we may Desire-to Obtain it, and Endeavor-by Prayer, to be made Partakers-of it, since God has Promised it to him who Asks-for it, with Humility. "The Heavenly Father [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who Ask Him" (Luke 11:13).

 

Love is a Fire that Inflames the Heart

 

Supernatural Order
(If you are in the State of Sanctifying Grace,
the Holy Ghost dwells 'in-you'
in a very Special and Personal way.)

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Natural
Order

Supernatural
Order

Natural
Body
(Subordinate-Partner)

Natural
Soul
(Dominant Partner)

Supernatural Grace/
Infused Virtues
and Gifts of the
Holy Ghost

Man is born a Rational Creature, with Body and Soul, into the Natural Order.
God first elevates Man to the Supernatural Order via the Sacrament of Baptism, which infuses Sanctifying Grace into the Essence of the Soul. The other Six (6) Sacraments can then Elevate the Soul even Higher.
Mortal Sin destroys/kills Man's entire Supernatural Order/Life. Man is no-longer a Temple of God. God is gone & resides no-longer in the Soul.
Only God can raise the Soul back-to-life from the Dead, via the Sacrament of Penance.

 

 

God had 'Ordered', in the Old Law, that there should be a Fire kept continually-Burning, on His Altar: "The Fire on the Altar is to be kept-burning" (Leviticus 6:5). Saint Gregory says that the Altars-of God are our Hearts, where He Desires-that the Fire-of His Divine Love should always be Burning. Therefore, the Eternal Father, not Satisfied-with having given us His Son, Jesus Christ, to Save us by His Death, also gave us the Holy Spirit, that He might Dwell-in our Souls, and keep them Constantly on-Fire with Love. Jesus Himself, Declared-that He had Come-into the World, to-Inflame our Hearts, with this Holy Fire, and that He Desired nothing more, than-to See it 'Kindled': "I have come to Light a Fire, on the Earth. How I Wish the Blaze were Ignited"! (Luke 12:49). Forgetting the Injuries and Ingratitude, He received-from Men on this Earth, when He had Ascended-into Heaven, He Sent-down upon us, the Holy Spirit.

Most Loving Redeemer, You Love us as-well, in Your Sufferings and Shame, as in Your Kingdom-of-Glory! This is why the Holy Spirit chose-to appear-in the Supper Room, under the Form-of Tongues-of-Fire. The Church, therefore, Teaches us to Pray: "May the Holy Spirit Inflame us with that Fire, which our Lord Jesus Christ came to bring on the Earth, and which He Wished to be Ignited". This was the Holy Fire which 'Inflamed' the Saints to do such Great Things for God:

to Love their Enemies,
to Desire Contempt,
to Deprive themselves of all Earthly Goods,
and to Joyfully accept even Torments and Death.

Love cannot Remain-idle, and never says, "This is Enough". The Soul that Loves God, desires to do everything in-order-to 'Please' Him, and to 'Attract' His Affections. This Holy Fire is Ignited-by Mental Prayer. Therefore, if we Desire-to Burn-with Love-for God, let us Love Prayer; that is the Furnace in-which this Divine Love is Enkindled.

 

Love is a Light that Enlightens the Soul

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Body/Inferior Will/
Psychosomatic Powers
Passions/Emotions/
Sensory Appetite/
Memory/Imagination
(Subordinate-Partner)

Soul/Intellect/
Superior Will/
Reason/Grace/
Mind/Truth/
Heart/Conscience
(Dominant Partner)

Passions reside-in the Body.
Reason resides-in the Soul of a Person.
Satan can directly Attack the Faculties of the Body, already Weakened-by Original Sin, but not directly our Soul.
Strength is Manifested in our Control of the Will of the Soul, against Evil Inclinations-of the Body. Love is an Act-of the Will.
Pray! Pray! Pray! Seek God's Light, Love, Truth, and Illumination.

 

One of the Greatest Evils, which the Sin-of Adam has produced-in us, is that Darkening-of our Reason, which is why the Passions can Cloud our Mind. How Miserable is any Soul, which 'Allows' itself to be Ruled-by Passion! Passion is, as it were, a Mist, a Veil, which Prevents our Seeing the Truth. How can he 'Avoid' Evil, who does not Know what is Evil? Besides, this Darkness 'Increases' in-Proportion-to our Sins. But the Holy Spirit, Who is called "Most-Blessed-Light", not only 'Inflames' our Hearts to Love Him, He also 'Dispels' our Darkness, and 'Shows' us:

the Vanity-of Earthly Things,
the Value-of Eternal Goods,
the Importance-of Salvation,
the Worth-of Grace,
the Goodness-of God,
the Infinite Love which He Deserves, and
the Immense Love which He Bears us.

"The Natural Man does not accept what is Taught by the Spirit of God" (1Corinthians 2:14). A Man, who is Absorbed-in the Pleasures-of the World, knows little-of these Truths, and therefore he Loves what he ought-to Hate, and Hates what he ought-to Love. Saint Teresa said that God is not Loved, because He is not 'Known'. Therefore, the Saints were always 'Seeking' Light from God: "Send-forth Your Light; Illuminate my Darkness; Open my Eyes". Yes, because without Light, we cannot 'Avoid' Pitfalls, nor 'Find' God.

 

Love is a Fountain that Satisfies

samarian_woman.gif (70602 bytes) Love is also called "a Living Fountain, Fire, and Charity". Christ said to the Samaritan Woman: "Whoever Drinks the Water I give him, will never be Thirsty" (John 4:14). Love is the Water, which 'Satisfies' our Thirst; he who Loves God with his Whole Heart, does not 'Seek' or 'Desire' anything-else, because in God he finds every-Good. Therefore, Satisfied-with God, he often Joyfully Exclaims, "My God and my All"!

My God, You are my Whole Good. But, the Almighty complains that many Souls go-about 'Seeking' Fleeting-pleasures from Creatures, and 'Leave' Him, Who is the Infinite (∞) Good, and Source-of all Joy: "They have Forsaken Me, the Source of Living Waters; they have dug themselves Cisterns, broken Cisterns, that hold no Water" (Jeremiah 2:13). Therefore, God, Who Loves us and Desires to see us Happy, Cries-out and Makes known to all: "If anyone Thirsts, let him come to Me; let him Drink" (John 7:37). He who wants to be Happy, let him come-to Me. I will give him the Holy Spirit, Who will make him Happy, both in this Life and the next.

The 'Water' He speaks-of, is the Holy Spirit, the 'Substantial' Love, which Jesus Christ, Promised-to Send us from Heaven, after His Ascension. Here, He was Referring-to the Spirit, Whom those that come-to Believe-in Him, were to-Receive. There was, of course, no Spirit as yet, since Jesus had not yet been Glorified (John 7:39). The "Key", which opens the Channels-of this Blessed Water, is Holy Prayer, which Obtains every Good for us, to Fulfill the Promise, "Ask, and you shall Receive". We are Blind, Poor, and Weak; but Prayer, Obtains-for us Light, Strength, and Abundance-of Grace. He who Prays, Receives all he Wants. God 'Wants' to give us His Graces; but He also 'Wants' us to Pray-for them.

 

Love is a Dew that Enriches

Holy Church teaches us to Pray: "May the Infusion-of the Holy Spirit, Cleanse our Hearts, and Enrich them by the Interior Sprinkling-of His Dew". Love 'Enriches' the Good Desires, the Holy Purposes, and the Good Works of our Souls: these are the Flowers and Fruits which the Grace of the Holy Spirit 'Produces'. Love is called Dew, because it 'Cools' the Heart of Bad Passions, and of Temptations. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is called Refreshment and Pleasing Coolness, in the Heat.

This Dew Falls-on our Hearts, in-Time-of Prayer. A Quarter-of-an-Hour's Prayer is Sufficient-to Appease every Passion-of-Hatred or of Immoderate Love, however Strong it may be: "He brings me into the Banquet Hall and His Emblem over me, is Love" (Song 2:4). Meditation is where Love is Set-in-order, so that we Love our Neighbor as-ourselves, and God above-everything. He who Loves God, Loves Prayer. He who does not Love Prayer, will find it Morally Impossible to 'Overcome' his Passions.

Christ Spiritually Sprinkles the Souls of the Faithful, Church Militant and Church Suffering, with His Redemptive Blood (Dew) during the Prayers-of every Mass. Saint Mary-Magdalen-de-Pazzi says of this Spiritual Sprinkling (Dew):  .  .  .  . 

"This Blood, when applied to the Soul, Imparts-to it as much Dignity as if it were Decked-in a Costly Robe. It imparts such Brilliance and Splendor that couldst thou behold the Effulgence-of thy Soul, when Sprinkled-with that Blood, thou wouldst Fall-down to Adore it".

 

Love is a Pause that Refreshes

Love is also called "in-Labor, Rest; in-Mourning, Comfort". Love is a Pause-that-Refreshes, because the Principal Work of Love is to Unite the Will-of the Lover, with that of the Beloved. To a Soul that Loves God: in every Affront it 'Receives', in every Sorrow it 'Endures', in every Loss which Happens-to it; the Knowledge that it is the Will-of its Beloved, for it to-Suffer these Trials, is enough-to Comfort it. It finds Peace and Contentment in all Tribulations, merely by saying: "This is the Will of my God; this is that Peace which Surpasses all the Pleasures of Sense, 'God's Own Peace, which is beyond all Understanding'" (Philippians 4:7).

In this Life, everyone must carry his Cross. But, as Saint Teresa says, the Cross is Heavy, for him who Drags it, not for him who Embraces it. Our Lord knows how to Strike, and how to Heal: "He Wounds, but He Binds up", as Job said (5:18). The Holy Spirit renders even Disgraces and Torments, Sweet and Pleasant: "Father, it is True. You have Graciously Willed it so" (Matthew 11:26). Thus we ought to say in all Adversities, "So be it, Lord, because it is Your Will". And when the Fear of any Temporal Evil that may Befall us, 'Alarms' us, let us always say: "Do what You Wish, my God; whatever You do, I Accept it". And it is a Good Practice to thus 'Offer' oneself Constantly during the Day to God, as Saint Teresa did.

 

Love Gives Us Strength

Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence -
by Valentin de Boulogne -
from Museo del Prado, Madrid
(Click to enlarge)
 

"Stern as Death, is Love" (Song 8:6). As there is no 'Created' Strength, which can 'Resist' Death, so there is no Difficulty for a Loving Soul, which Love cannot 'Overcome'. When there is a Question-of Pleasing its Beloved, Love 'Conquers' all. "Nothing is so-Hard, that the Fire-of-Love cannot Conquer it". This is the most Certain Way, to Know if a Soul really Loves God: if it is as Faithful in Love, when things are going Badly, as when they are Prospering.

Saint Francis-de-Sales said that, "God is quite as Kind, when He Chastises, as when He Consoles us, because He does all for Love". Indeed, it is when He Strikes us Most, in this Life, that He Loves us Most. Saint John-Chrysostom considered Saint Paul more-Fortunate in-Chains, than Caught-up into the Third Heaven. The Holy Martyrs, in the Midst-of their Torments, Rejoiced and Thanked the Lord for the Greatest Favor that could Fall-to their Lot, that of Suffering for His Love. And other Saints, where there were no Tyrants to Afflict them, became their own Executioners, by the Penances which they Inflicted upon themselves, in-order-to Please God. Saint Augustine says, "For that which Men Love, either no Labor is felt, or the Labor itself is Loved".

 

Love Causes God to Dwell in Our Souls

Supernatural Order
(Resides in the Essence of the Soul)

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Natural
Order

Supernatural
Order

Natural
Body
(Subordinate-Partner)

Natural
Soul
(Dominant Partner)

Supernatural Grace/Infused Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Man is born a Rational Creature, with Body and Soul, into the Natural Order.
God first elevates Man to the Supernatural Order via the Sacrament of Baptism, which infuses Sanctifying Grace into the Essence of the Soul. The other Six (6) Sacraments can then elevate the Soul even Higher.
Mortal Sin destroys/kills Man's entire Supernatural Order/Life. Man is no-longer a Temple of God. God is gone & resides no-longer in the Soul.
Only God can raise the Soul back-to-life from the Dead, via the Sacrament-of-Penance.

 

The Holy Spirit is called "Sweet Guest of the Soul". This was the Great Promise, made-by Jesus Christ to those who Love Him, when He said: "If you Love Me, and Obey the Commands I give you, I will Ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete — to be with you always: The Spirit-of-Truth remains with you, and will be within you" (John 14:16-17). For the Holy Spirit never 'Leaves' a Soul, if He is not Driven-away from it.

God, then, Dwells-in a Soul that Loves Him. But He declares that He is not Satisfied, unless we Love Him with our Whole Heart. Saint Augustine tells us that the Roman Senate would not admit Jesus Christ into the Number-of their Gods, because they said that He was a Proud God, Who would have none-other Beloved, but Himself. And so it is. He will have no Rivals, in the Heart that Loves Him; and when He sees that He is not the only-Object Loved, He is Jealous, so-to-speak. Saint James writes-of those Creatures, who divide-up the Heart, which He Desires-to have, all to Himself: "Do you suppose it is to no-purpose that Scripture says, 'The Spirit He has Implanted in us, tends toward Jealousy'?" (James 4:5). In short, as Saint Jerome says, Jesus is Jealous. Therefore, the Heavenly Spouse 'Praises' that Soul which, like the Turtledove, Lives-in Solitude, and Hidden-from the World (Song 2:14). Because He does not want the World, to take a part-of that Love which He wants, all to Himself; He also Praises His Spouse, by calling her "an Enclosed Garden" (Song 4:12), a Garden Closed against all Earthly Love. Do we Doubt, that Jesus Deserves our Whole Love? "He gave Himself entirely-to you", says Saint John-Chrysostom; "He left nothing for Himself". He has given you His Blood and His Life; there remains nothing-more for Him to give you.

 

Love Unites Us with God

As the Holy Spirit, Who is Uncreated Love, is the Unbreakable-Bond which Binds the Father to the Eternal Word, He also Unites the Soul with God. "Charity is a Virtue", says Saint Augustine, "Uniting us with God". Saint Laurence-Justinian exclaims: Love, your Bond, has such Strength, that it is able to Bind even God, and Unite Him to our Souls. The Bonds-of the World, are Bonds-of Death; but the Bonds-of God are Bonds-of Life and Salvation, because they Unite us with Him, Who is our True and Only Life. Before the Coming-of Jesus Christ, Men Fled-from God, and Refused-to Unite themselves to their Creator. But a Loving God, has Drawn them to Himself, by the Bonds-of Love, as He Promised-through the Prophet Hosea: "I Drew them with Human Cords, with Bands of Love" (11:4). These Bands are the Benefits, the Lights, the Calls-to His Love, the Promises-of Paradise which He makes-to us, the Gift which He has Bestowed-upon us — Jesus Christ, in the Sacrifice-of-the-Cross and in the Sacrament-of-the-Altar — and, finally, the Gift-of His Holy Spirit. Therefore the Prophet exclaims, "Loose the Bonds from your Neck, O Captive Daughter Zion" (Isaiah 52:2).

Oh my Soul, you who are Created-for Heaven, 'Loose' yourself from the Bonds-of-Earth, and Unite yourself to God, by the Bonds-of Holy Love: "Put on Love, which Binds the rest together and makes them Perfect" (Colossians 3:14). Love is a Bond which Unites with itself, all other Virtues, and makes the Soul Perfect. "Love, and do what you Wish", said Saint Augustine. Love God, and do what you Wish, because he who Loves God, tries to-avoid Displeasing his Beloved, and to do only that, which the Beloved Wishes.

 

Love is a Treasure Containing Every Good

Love is that Treasure, of which the Gospel Speaks. We must Leave All, in-order-to Obtain it, because Love makes us Sharers-in the Friendship-of God. Oh, Man, says Saint Augustine, why, then, do you go about Seeking Good Things? Seek only that One Good, in which all other Good Things are contained. But, we cannot find God, Who is this One (1) Good, if we do not Give-up the Things-of the Earth. Saint Teresa writes, "Detach your Heart from Creatures, and you will Find God". He who 'Finds' God, 'Finds' all that he can Desire: "Take Delight in the Lord, and He will Grant you your Heart's Requests" (Psalm 37:4). The Human Heart, is constantly 'Seeking' Good Things, that will make it Happy; but if it 'Seeks' them from Creatures, it will never be Satisfied, no matter how many it Acquires. If it 'Seeks' God alone, God will 'Satisfy', all its Desires. Who are the Happiest People in this World, if not the Saints? And why? Because they 'Desire' and 'Seek' only God.

A Tyrant offered Money and Jewels to Saint Clement, in-order-to Persuade him to 'Renounce' Jesus Christ. The Saint exclaimed, "Is God to be put into Competition, with a little Dirt? Blessed is he who knows this Treasure of Divine Love, and Strives to Obtain it. He who Obtains it, will get Rid-of everything else, that he may have Nothing-else, but God". Love is a Thief, which Robs us of all Earthly Affections, so that we can say, "And what else do I Desire, but You alone, my Lord?"

 

Conclusion

The more we Love God, the more Holy we become. Saint Francis-Borgia says, Prayer introduces Divine Love into the Human Heart, and Mortification 'Withdraws' the Heart from the World, and makes it Capable-of 'Receiving' this Holy Fire. The more there is of the World, in the Heart, the less-Room there is for Holy Love. The Saints have always Sought-to Mortify themselves, as-much-as Possible. The Saints are Few, but we must Live-with the Few, if we wish to be Saved-with the Few.

In order to become Saints, it is necessary to have the Desire to be Saints; we must have the Desire and the Resolution. Some are always 'Desiring', but they never Begin-to put their Hands-to the Work. "Of these Irresolute Souls", says Saint Teresa, "the Devil has no Fear". On the other-hand, the Saint said, "God is a Friend of Generous Souls". The Devil tries to make it seem like Pride, to Think-of doing Great Things for God. It would indeed be Pride in us, to Think-of doing Great Things for God, if we Thought-of doing them all, by ourselves, Trusting-in our own-Strength. But it is not Pride to Resolve-to become Saints, 'Trusting'-in God and 'Saying', "I can do all Things in Him, Who gives me Strength". We must, therefore, have Courage, make Strong Resolutions, and Begin. Prayer can do Everything. What we cannot-do by our own-Strength, we can-do Easily with the Help-of God, Who has Promised to Give us, whatever we Ask-of Him: "You may Ask what you Will — it will be Done for you" (John 15:7).