Catechism Lesson 3: Who is the Holy Spirit?
The third Person of the Holy Trinity is the Holy Spirit. We understand the Holy Spirit through what is said in the Bible:
- Jesus said: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. (John 14:23)” Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit dwells in a person, then Jesus and the Father dwells in that person.
- In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul said: “The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)” God’s gift of love within a person is made possible through the Holy Spirit.
The Nicene Creed is the statement of belief of the Christian faith; it was adopted and finalized in the first two ecumenical councils: the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD. The Nicene Creed contains what we believe about the Holy Spirit:
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
As the third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit is co-eternal with the Father and the Son. We understand the Holy Spirit as the Giver of life in the sense that the Holy Spirit gives life, both physical and spiritual: (1) physical – the Holy Spirit was involved in creation: “The Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)” (2) spiritual – a man must be born of water and the Holy Spirit in order to have eternal life: “Jesus said: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)”
The following verses in the Bible refer to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the Father: (Matthew 10:20, Romans 8:10-11, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 3:14-16). The following verses in the Bible refer to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the Son (Jesus Christ): (Romans 8:9, Galatians 4:6, Philippians 1:19, 1 Peter 1:11).
St. Peter explains what it means that the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets: “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21)”
Read the biblical account of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47). It fulfilled the promise that Jesus made to the disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to them, and it also gives us an idea of how the Holy Spirit works in people.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
- In John 14:16, with what name did Jesus refer to the Holy Spirit?
- In Romans 8:15, with what name did St. Paul refer to the Holy Spirit?
- What are the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit? See the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1831.
- True or False: The Holy Spirit is not God, but only the spirit of God.
- True or False: Prophecies in the Bible are inspired by the Holy Spirit.