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Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church

Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church

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For many, the Holy Spirit is the most difficult Person of the Trinity to understand. God as Father is revealed by one of our first and most important relationships with our earthly father. God the Son reveals to us the scandalous grace that is the Incarnation. Christ as the Son of the living God is relatively easy to relate to because He became man in order to relate to us. But where does the Holy Spirit fit in?

In the Creed, we profess that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son with whom He is adored and glorified. But how are we as Christians supposed to understand His relation to us?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists eight places in which the Church comes to know the Holy Spirit: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterium of the Church, the sacramental liturgy, prayer, the charisms and ministries of the Church, apostolic and missionary life, and the witness of the saints (CCC 688).

The role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church is investigated by the late Servant of God Archbishop Luis Martinez in his book, True Devotion to the Holy Spirit. Archbishop Martinez was a great Mexican mystic from the twentieth century. In his book, he writes about the relationship between the theological virtues and the Holy Spirit's indwelling in the soul. Of hope, he writes,

“Hope puts us in communion with the strength of the Most High and opens our soul to all the supernatural aids of which the Spirit is the living and inexhaustible source. Hope is the supernatural capacity for receiving the Holy Spirit, who aids and sanctifies, with all the divine streams that spring from this fountain.”

– Archbishop Luis Martinez, True Devotion to the Holy Spirit

Archbishop Martinez says that the Spirit is fire and light, but also the strength that invigorates the faithful in their earthly struggles. Martinez' book sheds light on the mystery of the Holy Spirit and the way He works in souls and in the life of the Church. Understanding the Holy Spirit's work in the soul of believers can help us to understand how He works in the Church as a whole as well.



Art: Christ the King Catholic Church (Ann Arbor, Michigan) – interior Holy Spirit window, Nheyob, 5 August 2013, CCA-SA 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dylan Jedlovec

Dylan Jedlovec was formerly an Operations Administrative Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Finishing up an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Economics from Samford University, Dylan is first and foremost a disciple of Christ and a son of the Church. Dylan has a heart for evangelization on college campuses, and has worked closely with FOCUS as a student missionary and served as President of the Catholic Student Association at Samford. As a member of the University Fellows Program at Samford, Dylan developed a love for the writings of the Saints, particularly the Doctors of the Church, through his studies of the core texts of the Western Intellectual Tradition. This love for the rich intellectual tradition of the faith brought him to the Avila Foundation, where he seeks to further the kingdom through feeding Christ’s sheep. In his free time, Dylan enjoys watching baseball, reading, hiking, running, and lifting weights (although you can’t really tell).

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