What does the church teach about the Holy Spirit being inside of us?

I know we receive the Holy Spirit at baptism, and again at confirmation, and that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit - but does that mean that the Holy Spirit lives inside of us?

This topic came up in a conversation I was having with a protestant and I don’t really know the answer. I know that we receive gifts (fruits) from the Holy Spirit and he can guide us, but does he live inside us after baptism? I can’t say I remember being taught that and the passages I’ve found in the Catechism aren’t helping me with this specific question.

Does anyone know the answer - or where I can look for a clear response? Thank you!


1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: “He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell.

I take this as that the Spirit can not ***indwell ***in us if we are in a state of mortal sin and have not repented.

However, He is still with us and working on us because we are “sealed” or imprinted through the sacraments you mentioned. CCC 698

We know this because if we do sin we feel the need to repent. That’s the Spirit working on us w/o technically dwelling in us.


The answer is yes (CCC 2781). In fact, the Father and the Son dwell in us, too (Jn. 14:23).

See Fr. Hardon’s dictionary definition of INDWELLING.

Ask a priest. But anyway, this from the CCC seems to indicate that if the grace of the Holy Spirit were to fill us, we would not sin.

722 The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily"102 should herself be “full of grace.” She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the “Daughter of Zion”: "Rejoice."103 It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle104 lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.

When we are in a state of grace, yes. But through mortal sin we willingly reject it.

John 14:17 The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you.

CCC 243 …, the Spirit will now be **with and in **the disciples, …

CCC 1294 …By Confirmation Christians, …,share more completely in…and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, …

CCC 1296 …; He (God) has put His seal on us and given us His Spirit **in our hearts **…

CCC 2671 …“Come, Holy Spirit” and every liturgical tradition has developed it in antiphons and hymns. Come, Holy Spirit, **fill the hearts **of your faithful and …

Heavenly King, Consoler Spirit, Spirit of Truth, …, come dwell in us,

ruby9c, I will add that the Holy Ghost is not physically contained inside of us, because God is a spirit, and infinite. A spirit *can *be in a physical place, not by occupying space but by thinking of the place or by acting upon it. God is unique among spirits because he thinks of everything always, and has absolute control over all things. In that sense God is said to be “everywhere”.

God acts upon our souls in many ways, even apart from the indwelling, but the indwelling implies a profound union, and a kind of equality (although we are infinitely less than God, he allows us to partake of his divine nature, so that we can relate with him on a deeper level).

If you find this very mysterious and perhaps a little confusing, you’re not alone. St. Augustine wrestles with it in Book I of the Confessions (see esp. paragraphs 2 & 3).

Thank you all for your replies! There is a lot of good information here that I can study. It is a bit if a difficult concept for me to fully understand, but this will definitely help. I will talk to a priest about it, but wanted to have a better understanding of the Holy Spirit and his relationship with us so that I can fully articulate my question when the time comes.

Great question to ask! All of these answers are worth reading thanks so much. Amazing the life of God within – o beata trinitas

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