Holy Spirit, the Paraclete --- how to understand?


#1

I found a novena to the Holy Spirit the other day and thought about praying it, but then realized I have a hard time understanding the Third Person of the Trinity.

In my mind, I see Him as a personification and not a Person. God the Father — He is the Father, Creator. God the Son — He became human and is our Savior, sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty. God the Holy Spirit — ???. Does He have characteristics that can be related in human terms? He is represented as a dove, fire, etc…

Is He the Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis?

The only other spiritual text I’ve personally encountered about the Holy Spirit is that He weeps before God…and He is grieved when we sin.

It seems fitting to have a proper understanding of the Holy Spirit before praying to Him.

Could someone offer advice or point to Scripture or other text for accurate understanding?

Thank you


#2

I love that you are seeking to further know God by furthering your understanding of the Holy Spirit. Truly, the greatest mystery to try to understand is the Holy Trinity.

The Holy Spirit is the “breath” of God that goes forth in power to accomplish His will. The Son is the Word of God. You could view the second and third Persons of the Trinity as God’s “Hands”, so to speak (ccc 704). The Spirit and the Son have a joint mission in our creation and salvation. According to the Catechism, God never sends His Word without also sending His “Breath”. As with each Person of the Trinity, the Son and Spirit are distinct, yet inseparable. Christ Jesus is the One who we see, but the Holy Spirit is the One who reveals Him. Here is the section on the Holy Spirit from the Catechism. Lots of good stuff here.

Another thought I had is that the Holy Spirit is often “underrated” because we can’t see Him. There is a focus on Christ Jesus because of the work Jesus accomplished and because Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We can’t pay too much attention to Jesus, but we can pay too little attention to the Holy Spirit (in my opinion). Without the work of the Holy Spirit, we would not be saved. It is He who applies the merits of Jesus Christ. No Holy Spirit, no salvation.


#3

The Holy Spirit acts on our souls. Grace is an action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the sanctifier of our souls, guide of the Church and preparer of Mary for receipt of the Incarnate God.

The book The Paraclete by O. M. Cap Fiege contains a section in the beginning describing all the Holy Spirit is and does.

bks8.books.google.com/books?id=D7X2ugAACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&imgtk=AFLRE70Y0USKZX4X2YCw9mmKXnw-c-Rc4o-aHAfqVJoTGYyjt7CebPgg83U-WXgtgR6iqIU93E3FNPEs-YfWVveZkhek73gGnECb93bcO6I76I6DcBxEC2DZ9MNE9wkl2k7XTKzeYzBQ

-Tim-


#4

I love that you are seeking to further know God by furthering your understanding of the Holy Spirit. Truly, the greatest mystery is the Holy Trinity.

The Holy Spirit is the "breath" of God that goes forth in power to accomplish His will. The Son is the Word of God. You could view the second and third Persons of the Trinity as God's "Hands"(ccc 704). One could say God "works" through the Holy Spirt and the Son. The Spirit and the Son have a joint mission in our creation and salvation. According to the Catechism, God never sends His Word without also sending His "Breath". The Father and Son and Spirit are distinct, yet inseparable. They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: "It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds."(ccc 254) Christ Jesus is the One who we see, but the Holy Spirit is the One who reveals Him. Here is the section on the Holy Spirit from the Catechism. Lots of good stuff here.

Another thought I have is that the Holy Spirit is a bit of an unsung Hero because we can't see Him. Conversely, we can see Jesus, Who He was, what He taught, how He healed, and of course, we know His Sacrifice. We can't pay too much attention to Jesus, but we can pay too little attention to the Holy Spirit (in my opinion). Without the work of the Holy Spirit, we would not be saved. It is He who applies the merits of Jesus Christ. No Holy Spirit, no salvation. Same with creation for that matter.


#5

Jesus Christ entrusted the means of salvation to His Church and the means of salvation are applied to you by the Holy Spirit

God the Holy Spirit sanctifies you.

God the Holy Spirit abides within you.

The Holy Spirit is the bond of union between you and God

The Holy Spirit casts off no one

The Holy Spirit is the fount of life and strength

The Holy Spirit is your comforter

Jesus Christ was given by the Holy Spirit

The world was prepared for the coming of the Redeemer by the Holy Spirit

The Mother of the Redeemer was prepared by the Holy Spirit

The mystery of the Incarnation was accomplished by the Holy Spirit

The manhood of Jesus was endowed with the gifts of the the Holy Spirit

The divinity of Jesus Christ was manifested by the Holy Spirit

Jesus Christ was guided in all His actinos by the Holy Spirit

Jesus Christ is still on earth through the operation of the Holy Spirit

The Church owes her existence to the Holy Spirit

The Church extended and preserved by the Holy Spirit.

The Church sanctified and glorified by the Holy Spirit.

To the Holy Spirit you owe the gift of Divine Adoption

The Holy Spirit makes you like unto Jesus, the Son of God

The Holy Spirit is your stay and support

To the Holy Spirit you owe the gift of prayer

The Holy Spirit imparts strength to do penance

Without the aid of the Holy Spirit you cannot do good nor evil.

The outward means of salvation, administered by the Church made efficacious by the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit enables you to respet and obey law and authority

Extraordinary means of salvation made efficacious by the Holy Spirit

The action of the Holy Spirit is not confined to the visible Church

The action of the Holy Spirit is not abosolutely dpendent on the Sacraments

Obedience to the Church is a sure test of being led by the Spirit of God

Modesty is a mark of the true servant of the Holy Spirit

The call to the priesthood is a special grace of the Holy Spirit

The office of the priesthood is a communication of the office of the Holy Spirit

The priest is another Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit

The call to the religious state is a special gift of the Holy Spirit

Religious orders are the special work of the Holy Spirit

-Tim-


#6

[quote="EIF5A, post:1, topic:341469"]
I found a novena to the Holy Spirit the other day and thought about praying it, but then realized I have a hard time understanding the Third Person of the Trinity.

In my mind, I see Him as a personification and not a Person. God the Father --- He is the Father, Creator. God the Son --- He became human and is our Savior, sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty. God the Holy Spirit --- ???. Does He have characteristics that can be related in human terms? He is represented as a dove, fire, etc...

[/quote]

You are not alone in having more difficulty understanding the Holy Spirit than the other two Persons of the Trinity. I would say most of us Christians have the same problem, precisely because, as you noted, there is no human image that we can give to Him. But Scripture does give us some attributes and activities of the Holy Spirit that we can relate to. If you take these and then apply them to a "Being", a Divine living Person, it may help you to gain a sense of who the Holy Spirit is - and arouse in you a desire to be close and united with Him.

Think of a Divine Being **
who is **life
; and wishes to pour that eternal life in our souls (John 3:6; 4:14; 7:38)
who is love and pours that love into us (Romans 5:5)
who is joy; a joy that can make your spirit leap when you experience Him (Luke 1:41; Acts 13:52)
who is truth; and wants to share it with us (John 14:26; 16:13)

and
Isaiah 11:2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom **and **understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the** fear of the LORD**.

and
Gal. 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

Is He the Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis?

Yes.

It seems fitting to have a proper understanding of the Holy Spirit before praying to Him.

You do not have to have an understanding of the Holy Spirit in order to pray to Him. As a matter of fact, you could make that the petition of your novena -- asking Him to increase your understanding of Him.

Could someone offer advice or point to Scripture or other text for accurate understanding?

Thank you

I would suggest reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church section on the Holy Spirit (#683-741)
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1Y.HTM
Also, you'll find many more Scripture references in the text and footnotes.


#7

You will do well to simply locate your catechism and read the sections pertaining to the Holy Spirit. First, know what the Church believes and teaches. It builds from there, under the guidance of that same Spirit.


#8

[quote="EIF5A, post:1, topic:341469"]
God the Holy Spirit --- ???. Does He have characteristics that can be related in human terms? He is represented as a dove, fire, etc...

[/quote]

Here are some personal reflections, which I pray may be of assistance.

If we define God with any eternally good attribute, there will be 3 distinct persons of being that eternally good attribute. For example, God is always loving.
The first person of always loving is the person who is always loving.
The second person of always loving is the person, who although is always loving, is perceived as not always loving. Hence, incarnate/assumed as acting outside of divine nature.
The third person of always loving is the person who becomes always loving. This person was revealed by Jesus when He "shared the means to always want to be patient and kind, even in the face of unjust cruelty, to the point of death," also known as, embracing unjust crucifixion for sinners.

Recognize that you have the God-given potential to become one in spirit with the third person, therefore, it is best to first become one with the Spirit of Christ in His Passion and Crucifixion.

Is He the Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis?

The Spirit that hovered over the waters is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, as well as the Holy Spirit. Since we can become always loving by learning from the Holy Spirit, the Son, and the Father, our spirit in union with the Holy Spirit can have hovered over the waters. If you would like to perceive hovering over the waters mentioned in Genesis, ponder the following:
In consideration of God, as the creator of everything: if you were the person, who created everything, what would your greatest creation be and why would you create it? If you would follow Jesus, you would create friends for eternal joy with unbreakable peace for your friends and you. Now to get to the perception of hovering above the waters, begin to ponder what must happen in order to fulfill this greatest possible creation.

Could someone offer advice or point to Scripture or other text for accurate understanding?

The best Scriptural support I can currently offer is the Biblical distinction between God/Elohim, LORD God/Yahweh Elohim, and Lord/Yahweh. From my readings in the first few chapters of Genesis, Elohim is always loving because He gives unconditionally, without rules.
Yahweh Elohim has one rule: not to do evil. Although this is always loving, some perceive the consequences of doing evil as not always loving.
Yahweh has many more rules.


#9

[quote="jochoa, post:8, topic:341469"]
The best Scriptural support I can currently offer is the Biblical distinction between God/Elohim, LORD God/Yahweh Elohim, and Lord/Yahweh. From my readings in the first few chapters of Genesis, Elohim is always loving because He gives unconditionally, without rules.
Yahweh Elohim has one rule: not to do evil. Although this is always loving, some perceive the punishments from doing evil as not always loving.
Yahweh has many more rules.

[/quote]

And throughout much of the Bible, I perceive changes or variations in the emotions of Yahweh as opposed to more consistency with Yahweh Elohim or Elohim. Therefore, I perceive a process, or becoming always loving.

Thanks for your time, consideration, and excellent questions! May the peace and joy of living for Jesus Christ be with you always!


#10

[quote="EIF5A, post:1, topic:341469"]
I found a novena to the Holy Spirit the other day and thought about praying it, but then realized I have a hard time understanding the Third Person of the Trinity.

In my mind, I see Him as a personification and not a Person. God the Father --- He is the Father, Creator. God the Son --- He became human and is our Savior, sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty. God the Holy Spirit --- ???. Does He have characteristics that can be related in human terms? He is represented as a dove, fire, etc...

Is He the Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis?

The only other spiritual text I've personally encountered about the Holy Spirit is that He weeps before God...and He is grieved when we sin.

It seems fitting to have a proper understanding of the Holy Spirit before praying to Him.

Could someone offer advice or point to Scripture or other text for accurate understanding?

Thank you

[/quote]

You're not the only one struggling to understand who the Holy Spirit is. He is definitely the most unfamiliar person of the Trinity to me.

I believe it was the Holy Spirit that came upon me to reconvert/rediscover my Catholic faith, and that he saved me from attempting suicide. The love that the Holy Spirit has shown me is truly a blessing, even though I am a terrible sinner and continue to be one.

I think the Holy Spirit is an interesting person of the Trinity. Jesus taught about the existence of the Holy Spirit and taught that the Holy Spirit was on the same level as the Father and the Son. While the Holy Spirit may not have outright human characteristics, he does let us know when his presence is felt: for example, when he was present at Jesus' baptism or during the Transfiguration. He is there, even if our human eyes can't see him directly as we would see a person. The Apostles, knew for example, when they were received with the Holy Spirit

I do believe that the Catholic Church emphasizes that the Holy Spirit did play a part in creation. I have not actually looked it up yet in the Catechism myself yet,

I plan on doing a study of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. If you're interested in word studies, I suggest using a concordance.

If you want some info on the Holy Spirit, I suggest doing the novena and reading the short catechism on the Holy Spirit in the book, "My Novena to the Holy Spirit" by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, SVD.


#11

=EIF5A;11278761]I found a novena to the Holy Spirit the other day and thought about praying it, but then realized I have a hard time understanding the Third Person of the Trinity.

In my mind, I see Him as a personification and not a Person. God the Father --- He is the Father, Creator. God the Son --- He became human and is our Savior, sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty. God the Holy Spirit --- ???. Does He have characteristics that can be related in human terms? He is represented as a dove, fire, etc...

Is He the Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis?

The only other spiritual text I've personally encountered about the Holy Spirit is that He weeps before God...and He is grieved when we sin.

It seems fitting to have a proper understanding of the Holy Spirit before praying to Him.

Could someone offer advice or point to Scripture or other text for accurate understanding?

Thank you

WELCOME HOME!

Maybe this will help your understanding?

God the Father = Creator

God the Son [Jesus] = Savior

God the Holy Spirit = Sanctifier

However these are is a REAL sense "human logic terms" to AID OUR understanding of what can't be fully grasped.:)

The Father, Son and Holy Spiritare "Co-Equal & Co-Eternal"

They HAVE One Perfect Divine Nature with "each of then holds in its entireilty} [THE DEVINE MYSTERY:rolleyes:

What each thinks they ALL think

What each desires: they ALL desire

What each Does: they ALL do

[COLOR="Blue"]Mt. 3: 13-17 "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan, unto John, to be baptized by him. But John stayed him, saying: I ought to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now. For so it becometh us to fulfill all justice. Then he suffered him.

And Jesus [THE SON] being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him: and he saw the Spirit of God [THE HOLY SPIRIT] descending as a dove, and coming upon him. And behold a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son,[THE FATHER] in whom I am well pleased."

Mt. 28:18-20 "And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."

God Bless you!
Thanks for asking.
Patrick [PJM] Here on CAF


#12

[quote="EIF5A, post:1, topic:341469"]
I found a novena to the Holy Spirit the other day and thought about praying it, but then realized I have a hard time understanding the Third Person of the Trinity.

In my mind, I see Him as a personification and not a Person. God the Father --- He is the Father, Creator. God the Son --- He became human and is our Savior, sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty. God the Holy Spirit --- ???. Does He have characteristics that can be related in human terms? He is represented as a dove, fire, etc...

Is He the Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis?

The only other spiritual text I've personally encountered about the Holy Spirit is that He weeps before God...and He is grieved when we sin.

It seems fitting to have a proper understanding of the Holy Spirit before praying to Him.

Could someone offer advice or point to Scripture or other text for accurate understanding?

Thank you

[/quote]

Perhaps this will help

The Trinity is not a solitude...the Trinity is a family

God is the Lover who eternally loves the Son
Jesus is the Beloved who eternally returns the love to the Father
And the Love that flows between them(proceeds from the Father and the Son) is the Holy Spirit....this is imaged in Rev 22:1...River of the water of life images the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture and flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Our families are an imperfect image of the Trinity
Husband loves his wife
Wife loves her husband
And the love they share is so real that 9months later they are giving their love a name!

Pope John Paul II Theology of the Body expands on their beautiful understanding of the Trinity....This made the Holy Spirit personal for me....I hope it helps. Scott Hahn's book on "First Comes Love" is excellent and so is his CD on the Trinity


#13

I think we have to have an understanding of "Who the Holy Spirit Is? and not just what he does....
God is Father....what he does is create
God is Son...what he does is redeem
God is Holy Spirit...what he does is sanctify


#14

If the Holy Spirit is Love between the Father and the Son, how do I pray to Him? Does He hear like the other Two Persons? How do I pray to a "concept"? How does Love grieve when we sin?


#15

=EIF5A;11286202]If the Holy Spirit is Love between the Father and the Son, how do I pray to Him? Does He hear like the other Two Persons? How do I pray to a "concept"? How does Love grieve when we sin?

PLEASE READ post #10 and you'll know the answer:)


#16

He's not a concept.

Look, the love between friends creates a spirit of happiness that you can almost touch; and everybody does things that they can't do alone. The love between man and woman actually does result in human beings born, which no human can do alone. The filial and parental love between the Father and the Son produces the Holy Spirit, a real Person. He does things. He is continually in action. He's not just a concept, any more than you or I. Heck, the Holy Spirit is realer than I am!

I think the problem here is that you have probably felt the Holy Spirit's burning love within you, or seen it in action in other people, but not recognized Him. The best thing you can do is ask Him to reveal Himself to you, and then you will know Him by experience.

He has a real sense of humor, though, so be prepared to meet Him in some weird ways! He may mess with you a little. :) But don't be afraid. He is kind.


#17

[quote="Mintaka, post:16, topic:341469"]

He has a real sense of humor, though, so be prepared to meet Him in some weird ways! He may mess with you a little. :) But don't be afraid. He is kind.

[/quote]

I've always wondered if God plays pranks on humans. Not to be mean --- but to teach us humility and also to say, "Look at those silly humans!"


#18

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