The Catechism of St Thomas Aquinas
on The Holy Spirit
THE EIGHTH ARTICLE: "I Believe in the Holy Ghost"
As we have said, the Word of God is the Son of God,
just as in a way the Word of Man is the Concept of His Intellect. But sometimes Man has a
Word which is Dead. This is when, for instance, he Conceives what he Ought to do, but he
has not the Will to do it; or when one Believes, but does not Practice; then his
Faith is said to be Dead, as St James points out. The
Word of God, however, is Alive: "For the Word of God is
Living". It is necessary, therefore, that in God there be
Will and Love. Thus, St Augustine says: "The
Word of God which we Plan to Speak is Knowledge with Love". Now, as the Word of God
is the Son of God, God's Love is the
Holy Ghost. Hence, it is that one Possesses the Holy Ghost
when he Loves God: "The Charity of God is Poured forth in our Hearts,
by the Holy Ghost Who is Given to us".
Teaching of the Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed taken from the Sacrifice of the Mass
. . . . and His Kingdom will have no End.
We Believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,
the Giver of Life,
Who Proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son He is Worshiped and Glorified.
He has Spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in One Holy Catholic . . . . .
There are some who held False Opinions concerning the Holy
Ghost. They said, for instance, that He was only the Servant and Minister of
God. Hence, to remove these Errors the Holy Fathers
added Five (5) Phrases concerning the Holy Ghost.
(1) "The Holy Ghost, the Lord" -- The
First Phrase is, that although there are other Spirits, such as the
Angels Who are Ministers of God
(Art they not all Ministering Spirits?), nevertheless the Holy
Ghost is the Lord. "God is a Spirit"
and, "Now the Lord is a Spirit" and also, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is Liberty". Reason is that He makes us
Love God and Cease to Love the
World. Thus, the Creed says: "In the Holy Ghost, the Lord".
(2) "And Life-Giver" -- The
Second Phrase is there because the Soul's Life is to be United to
God, inasmuch as God is the
Life of the Soul, and as Truly as the
Soul is the Life of the
Body. Now, the Holy Ghost Unites the
Soul to God through
Love, because He is the
Love of God, and therefore He
gives Life. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth". Therefore,
it is said: "and Life-Giver".
Summary of Origins
Father Possesses Two (2)
Internal Divine Processions
|God the Father
(not Made, not Created)
The Son of God,
Second Person of the Holy Trinity
|God the Father
& God the Son
(As One Principle)
(not Made, not Created, not Generated)
The Holy Spirit,
Third Person of the Holy Trinity
(3) "Who Proceeds from the Father and the Son" -- The
Third Phrase is that the Holy Ghost is
One (1) in Substance with the Father and the
Son; because as the Son is the
Word of the Father, so the
Holy Spirit is the Love both of
the Father and the Son, and, therefore,
He Proceeds from Them both. Moreover,
just as the Word of God is of the same Substance as the
Father, so also is Love [Holy
Ghost] of the same Substance as Father and the
Son. Hence, it is said: "Who Proceedeth from the Father and
the Son". From this it is seen that the Holy Spirit is not a Creature.
(4) "Who . . . is Adored and Glorified." -- The
Fourth Phrase is that the Holy Ghost as
regards Adoration is Equal-to the Father
and the Son: "The True Adorers shall Adore the Father in
Spirit and Truth". "Teach ye all Nations; Baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Ghost". Hence, it is said: "Who together with the Father and the Son is
(5) "Who Spoke by the Prophets". -- The
Fifth Phrase, wherein the Holy Ghost is
declared Equal to God, is that the Holy Prophets spoke on behalf of
God. It is clear that, if the Holy Ghost
were not God, then it would not be said that the Prophets had Spoken of
God on His Behalf. Thus, says St Peter:
"The Holy Men of God Spoke, Inspired by the Holy Ghost". Also: "The
Lord God hath sent Me, and His Spirit". And so it is said: "Who Spoke by the Prophets".
In all this Two (2) Errors are
Condemned. The Manicheans said that the Old
Testament was not from God. But this is False
because the Holy Spirit spoke through the Prophets. Likewise, the
Error of Priscillian and
Montanus was that they Believed that the Prophets did not speak by the Holy
Ghost, but were somewhat beside themselves.
Benefits from the Holy Ghost
Many Benefits come to us from the Holy Ghost.
He Cleanses us from our Sins. The Reason is
that one must Repair that which one has Made. Now, the Soul is Created by the
Holy Spirit, because God has made All Things
through Him; for God, by
Loving His Goodness, Created everything: "Thou Lovest all things that are, and hatest
none of the things which Thou hast made". Thus, Dionysius says: "Divine Love did not permit Him to be
without Offspring". It is necessary, therefore, that the Hearts of Men,
Destroyed by Sin, be made
Anew by the Holy Ghost: "Thou shalt send
forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be Created; and Thou shalt Renew the Face of the Earth". Nor is it any wonder that the
Spirit Cleanses, since all Sins are Taken-away
by Love: "Many Sins are Forgiven her, because she hath Loved
Much". "Charity covereth all Sins". And likewise: "Charity
covereth a Multitude of Sins".
The Holy Spirit Enlightens the
Intellect, since all that we know, we know through the
Holy Ghost: "But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My Name,
He will Teach you all things and bring all things to your Mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you". Also:
"His Unction Teacheth you all things".
He Assists us and, to a Certain Extent, Compels us to keep the
Commandments. No one can keep the Commandments unless he
Loves God: "If
any one Love Me, he will keep My Word". Thus, the Holy Spirit makes us
Love God: "And I
give you a New Heart and put a New Spirit within you; and I will take away the Stony Heart out of your Flesh and will give you a Heart
of Flesh. And I will put My Spirit in the midst of you; and I will Cause you to Walk in My Commandments and to keep My Judgments and
He Strengthens in us the
Hope of Eternal Life, because
He is the Pledge to us of this our Destiny: "You were Signed with the Holy Spirit of Promise
Who is the Pledge of our Inheritance". He is, as it were, the Surety of our
Eternal Life. The Reason is that Eternal Life
is Due to Man inasmuch as He is become the Son of God; and this is brought about in that
He is made Like unto Christ; and this, in turn, follows from His having the
Spirit of Christ, and this is the Holy Ghost:
"For you have not Received the Spirit of Bondage again in Fear; but you have Received the Spirit of Adoption
of Sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). For the Spirit Himself giveth Testimony to our Spirit that we are the Sons of God.
And also: "Because you are Sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your Hearts, crying: Abba,
He Counsels us when we are in Doubt, and
Teaches us what is the Will of God: "He that hath an ear let
him hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches". Likewise: "I may hear Him as a Master".