Reflections on the Holy Spirit,
Third Person of the Holy Trinity

The Paraclete (circa 1750s) - by GIAQUINTO, Corrado - from a Private Collection


Paraclete (Latin <Consolator>; Greek <Parakletos>), an Appellation of the Holy Ghost. Variously translated "Advocate", "Intercessor", "Teacher", "Helper", "Comforter". According to St John, the Mission of the Paraclete is to Abide with the Disciples after Jesus has withdrawn His Visible-Presence from them; to Inwardly Bring-home to them the Teaching Externally given by Christ and thus to Stand as a Witness to the Doctrine and Work of the Savior. There is no reason for limiting to the Apostles themselves the Comforting Influence of the Paraclete. The Paraclete Comforts the Church by Guaranteeing her Inerrancy and Fostering Her Sanctity. He Comforts each Individual Soul in many ways. Every Salutary Condition, Power, and Action, in fact the Whole Range of our Salvation, comes within the Comforter's Mission. Its Extraordinary Effects are styled Gifts, Fruits, Beatitudes. Its Ordinary Working is Sanctification with all it entails, Habitual Grace, Infused Virtues, Adoption, and the Right to the Celestial Inheritance. "The Charity of God", says St Paul, "is Poured-forth in our Hearts by the Holy Ghost Who is given to us". In that Passage the Paraclete is both the Giver and the Gift: the Giver of Grace (<Donum Creatum>) and the Gift of the Father and the Son (<Donum Increatum>). St Paul teaches repeatedly that:

the Holy Ghost dwells in us.

from the Catholic Encyclopedia


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)




(Dominant Partner)

Supernatural Grace/
Infused Virtues
and Gifts of the
Holy Ghost

The Supernatural Order is the Ensemble of Effects exceeding the Powers of the Created Universe, and Gratuitously produced directly by God for the purpose of Raising the Rational Creature above its Natural Sphere to a God-like Life and Destiny.



Reflections on the Paraclete

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by Pope John Paul II

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The Paraclete - The Spirit of Truth

During the General Audience on 17 May 1989, on the Wednesday following the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Holy Father spoke about the Coming of the Holy Spirit.

1. Several times we have quoted Jesus’ Words in His Farewell Discourse to the Apostles in the Upper Room when He Promised the Coming of the Holy Spirit as a New and Definitive Defender and Counselor: "I will Pray to the Father and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you Forever, ... the Spirit of Truth, Whom the World cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him" (John 14:16-17). That "Farewell Discourse", situated in the Solemn Account of the Last Supper (cf. John 13:2), is a Source of Primary Importance for Pneumatology, the Theological Discipline concerning the Holy Spirit. Jesus speaks of Him as the Paraclete Who "Proceeds" from the Father, and Whom the Father "will send" to the Apostles and to the Church "in the Name of the Son" when the Son Himself "will go away", a Departure which will be Effected by the Sacrifice of the Cross.

We must consider the fact that Jesus calls the Paraclete the "Spirit of Truth". At other times also He called Him this (cf. John 15:26; 16:13).

2. We recall that Jesus in that same "Farewell Discourse", in reply to a Question from the Apostle Thomas about His Identity, says of Himself: "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6). From this Twofold (2) Reference to the Truth, made by Jesus to Define both Himself and the Holy Spirit, one deduces that if He calls the Paraclete the "Spirit of Truth", this means that the Holy Spirit is He Who, after Christ's Departure, will Preserve among the Disciples the Truth which He had Announced and Revealed and, indeed, which He Himself is. The Paraclete, in fact, is the Truth, as Christ is the Truth. John says so in his First Letter: "The Spirit is the Witness, because the Spirit is the Truth" (1John 5:7). In that same Letter, John also writes: "We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to Us, and he who is not of God does not listen to Us. By this we know the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error" (1John 4:6). The Son's Mission and that of the Holy Spirit Meet, are Connected and are Mutually Completed in the Affirmation of the Truth and in Victory over Error. Their Fields of Action are the Human Spirit and the History of the World. The Distinction between Truth and Error is the Initial Stage of that Work.

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The Spirit makes Christ always present in the Church

3. To Remain in the Truth and to Act in the Truth is the Essential Task of Christ's Apostles and Disciples, both in the Early Times and in all Succeeding Generations of the Church down the Centuries. From this Point of View, the Announcement of the Spirit of Truth has a Key Importance. Jesus says in the Upper Room: "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). In fact Jesus' Messianic Mission lasted a Short Time, too short to Disclose to the Disciples all the Contents of Revelation. And not only was the Available Time short, but the Preparation and Intelligence of the Hearers were Limited. On several occasions it is Stated that the Apostles themselves “were Utterly Astounded” (cf. Mark 6:52), and “did not Understand” (cf. e.g., Mark 8:21), or even Misunderstood Christ's Words and Deeds (cf. e.g., Matthew 16:6-11).

This explains the Full Significance of the Master's Words: “When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will Guide you into all the Truth” (John 16:13).

4. The First Confirmation of this Promise of Jesus will be had on the Day of Pentecost and the Subsequent Days, as the Acts of the Apostles attest. The Promise is not Limited to the Apostles and their Immediate Companions in Evangelization; it Extends to the Future Generations of Disciples and Confessors of Christ. The Gospel is Destined for All-Nations and for All the Successive Generations which will arise in the Context of Diverse Cultures and of the Manifold Progress of Human Civilization. Viewing the Whole Range of History Jesus says: "The Spirit of Truth Who Proceeds from the Father, He will Bear Witness to Me". "He will Bear Witness", that is to say, He will Show the True Meaning of the Gospel within the Church, so that She may Proclaim It Authentically to the Whole World. Always and Everywhere, even in the Ceaselessly Changing Events of the Life of Humanity, the "Spirit of Truth" will Guide the Church "into all the Truth" (John 16:13).

5. The Relationship between the Revelation Communicated by the Holy Spirit and that of Jesus is very close. It is not a Question of a Different, Disparate Revelation. That can be Deduced from the Actual Words of Christ's Promise: "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" (John 14:26). The "Bringing to Remembrance" is the Function of Memory. By Recalling, one Returns to what has-been, to what has been said and done, thus Renewing the Awareness of Things Past, and, as it were, making them Live Again. In regard to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of a Truth Endowed-with Divine Power, His Mission is not Limited to Recalling the Past as such. "By Recalling" the Words, Creeds, and the Whole Salvific Mystery of Christ, the Spirit of Truth makes Him Continually-Present in the Church and Ensures that He takes on an ever new "Reality" in the Community of Salvation. Thanks to the Action of the Holy Spirit, the Church not only Recalls the Truth, but Remains and Lives in the Truth Received from Her Lord. Also in this way the Words of Christ are Fulfilled: "He (the Holy Spirit) will Bear Witness to Me" (John 15:26). This Witness of the Spirit of Truth is thus Identified with the Presence of the Ever-living Christ, with the Active Power of the Gospel, with the Redemption increasingly put into effect, with a Continual Exposition of Truth and Virtue. In this way the Holy Spirit "Guides" the Church "into all the Truth".

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The Church goes out to meet the Glorious Christ

6. This Truth is Present, at least Implicitly, in the Gospel. What the Holy Spirit will Reveal has already been said by Christ. He Himself Reveals it when, speaking of the Holy Spirit, He emphasizes that the Spirit "will not speak on His own Authority, but whatever He hears He will speak .... He will Glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and Declare it to you" (John 16:13-14). The Christ, Glorified by the Spirit of Truth, is first-of-all the same Christ Who was Crucified, Stripped of everything, and as it were "Emptied" in His Humanity for the Redemption of the World. Precisely by the Work of the Holy Spirit the "Word of the Cross" was to be accepted by the Disciples, to whom the Master Himself had said: "... but you cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). The Shadow of the Cross was looming up before those Poor Men. A Profound Intervention was needed to make their Minds and Hearts capable of Discerning "the Glory of the Redemption", which was Accomplished Precisely in the Cross. A Divine Intervention was required to Convince and Transform Interiorly each one of them, in Preparation especially for the Day of Pentecost, and then for the Apostolic Mission in the World. Jesus informs them that the Holy Spirit "will Glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and Declare it to you". According to Saint Paul, only the Spirit, Who "Searches the Depths of God" (1Corinthians 2:10), knows the Mystery of the Son-Word in His Filial Relationship with the Father and in His Redemptive Relationship with the People of every Age. He alone, the Spirit of Truth, can open Human Minds and Hearts and make them Capable of Accepting the Inscrutable Mystery of God and of His Incarnate Son, Crucified and Risen, Jesus Christ the Lord.

7. Again Jesus says: "The Spirit of Truth ... will Declare to you the things that are to come" (John 16:13. What is the Meaning of this Prophetic and Eschatological Protection in which Jesus places under the Ray of the Holy Spirit the Whole Future of the Church, the Entire Historical Journey It is called-upon to carry-out down the Centuries? It means going to meet the Glorious Christ, towards Whom It reaches-out as expressed in the Invocation Inspired by the Spirit: "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Apocalypse 22:17, 20). The Holy Spirit leads the Church towards a Constant Progress in the Understanding of Revealed Truth. He watches over the Teaching of that Truth, over Its Preservation, and over Its Application to the changing Historical Situations. He Stirs-up and Guides the Development of all that Serves the Knowledge and Spread of that Truth, particularly in Scriptural Exegesis and Theological Research, which can never be Separated-from the Guidance of the Spirit of Truth, nor from the Magisterium of the Church, in which the Spirit is always at Work.

Everything happens in Faith and through Faith under the Action of the Holy Spirit, as was stated in the Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem: "For the Mystery of Christ, taken as a whole, demands Faith, since it is Faith that adequately introduces Man into the Reality of the Revealed Mystery. The ‘Guiding into all the Truth’ is therefore achieved in Faith and through Faith; and this is the Work of the Spirit of Truth and the result of His Action in Man. Here the Holy Spirit is to be Man's Supreme Guide and the Light of the Human Spirit. This holds True for the Apostles, the Eyewitnesses, who must now bring to all People the Proclamation of what Christ did and taught, and especially the Proclamation of His Cross and Resurrection. Taking a longer view, this also holds true for all the Generations of Disciples and Confessors of the Master, since they will have to accept with Faith and Confess with Candor the Mystery of God at Work in Human History, the Revealed Mystery which explains the Definitive Meaning of that History" (n. 6).

8. In this way the "Spirit of Truth" Continually-announces the things that are to come; He Continually-shows to Humanity this Divine Future, which is Above and Beyond every "Temporal" Future, and thus fills with Eternal Value the Future of the World. Thus the Spirit convinces Man, making Him Understand that with all that He is and has, and does, He is called by God in Christ to Salvation. Thus the "Paraclete", the Spirit of Truth, is Man's True "Counselor. Thus He is the True Defender and Advocate. He is the Guarantor of the Gospel in History; under His Influence the Good News is always "the Same" and always "New"; and in an ever New Way He Illumines Man's Path in the Perspective of Heaven with "Words of Eternal Life" (John 6:68).


Short Meditation on the Holy Ghost

by Father John Corapi


Further Meditation on the Holy Ghost


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A Ten (10) minute Homily by Father Leo Clifford
on the Holy Spirit