04 Creed : I believe in the Holy Spirit

posted 26 Nov 2012, 16:48 by Fr Peter Weatherby   [ updated 26 Nov 2012, 17:22 ]

The Holy Spirit and the Holy Trinity

Who is the Holy Spirit?

It is interesting that while many people do not practice a religion, there is nevertheless an extraordinary interest in "spiritual" things. Spiritual practices, like meditation and yoga, spiritual curiosities, like ghosts and the paranormal, and ideas of personal and spiritual development seem to grow in popularity just as the practice of religion is thought to decline.
Yet often the interest in these things is a
 very narrow and self-centred idea of what is spiritual. It is about an inner-self, and personal fulfilment. In this idea, the Spirit is an internal source of well-being, or good-feeling, of motivation and emotion.
Belief in the Holy Spirit is like this, but is also much more. He is not a power or force, something to be discovered or developed from inside us. He is a person, who with the Father and the Son is "worshipped and glorified". He is not to be found in our hearts, but is "sent into our hearts" as St Paul says (Galatians 4:6) so that might receive new life and live as sons of God.

Symbols of the Holy Spirit

There are many ways in which the Holy Spirit is portrayed or symbolised. He is living water. He is Fire. He is the Oil of anointing. He is Wind and Breath. He is a dark or a shining cloud which reveals the glory of God. He is the laying on of hands. He is the dove, descending from heaven. Each image, in different ways relates to the work of the Spirit and teaches us about him.

Always Active

The Spirit has always been active.
At the very beginning of Creation, as described in Genesis, the breath of God breathes over the water as he creates by his word.
In Moses and the later prophets, those chosen by God speak his words through the inspiration of the Spirit. The prophets also promised there would be a time when the fullness of the Spirit would be given to God's people.
In the Incarnation, the coming of Jesus, the Angel tells Mary that she will conceive "by the power of the Holy Spirit". Jesus often speaks of the Spirit and promises the fulness of the Gift of the Spirit to his followers after his Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven.
On the day of Pentecost, after Jesus' Ascension into Heaven, the Gift of the Spirit is given to the Apostles as they are in prayer, and they go out to preach and call people to Christ in many different languages. So the promises of prophets are fulfilled, and the Age of Spirit begins.
The Holy Spirit is in action in the sacraments, and also in prayer. He gives us gifts - which can become fruits in our lives.

The Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Trinity - One God in Three Persons. The technical language the Church uses is that there is one Being (or Substance) of God in Three Persons.
There is only One God, and the Spirit draws us into the life of God himself.