Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
MONDAY, JANUARY 24th Mk 3:22-30 Jesus said: “‘Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whosoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.’ For they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church #14 teaches us about our Triune God—Three Persons in One God—referring to “our baptismal faith in the one God: the almighty Father, the Creator; his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour; and the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier.” How well do we know and how often do we call upon the Holy Spirit? Here are two Bible verses to meditate upon that refer to the Holy Spirit. “By waiting and by calm you shall be saved; in quiet and trust your strength lies.” (Is 20:15) And, “You will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Is 30:21)
Fr. Ed gives an exquisite exposition of this least known, and perhaps to many, most mysterious Person of the Blessed Trinity.
GET TO KNOW THE HOLY SPIRIT—GOD’S GIFT TO YOU! By Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
Common sense teaches us that it is almost impossible to really love a person if we do not know that person. This principle can be applied to our relationship with God, to our relationship with the Blessed Trinity, to our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
GET TO KNOW GOD THE FATHER AND JESUS. In the Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Jesus pointed out to Saint Faustina that one of the ways that she could get closer to God the Father, get to know God the Father better, would be to meditate upon some of His attributes. By attribute is meant, descriptive quality. Omnipotence, Omniscience, Wisdom, Eternal, Infinite, Love—these are a few of the attributes given to God the Father. With respect to Jesus, there are many simply gleaned from the Gospel text: Lord, God, Savior, Way, Truth, Life, Good Shepherd, Bread of Life, Lamb of God, Light of the World, the Alpha and Omega, etc. Following up in this line of thought, let us apply this now to the Person of the Holy Spirit. There are many titles that can be attributed to the Holy Spirit, most especially in the prayer called The Sequence that the Church prays on the Solemnity of Pentecost, as well as in the prayer that the Church calls “Litany of the Holy Spirit.”
TITLES FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT. This brief essay has as its thrust and purpose to highlight ten of the most noteworthy titles given to the Holy Spirit. It is our hope that all will get to know the Holy Spirit better and deeper, speak more often to the Holy Spirit as your Best-Friend, and most important, fall in love with the Person of the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is the Holy Spirit Himself who can teach us to love sincerely!
1. THE SANCTIFIER.
Let us initiate our title description for the Holy Spirit with the title “The Sanctifier”. What this word really means is that the Holy Spirit is the one who makes us holy! Pope Saint John XXIII stated: “The saints are the masterpieces of the Holy Spirit”. Indeed, you are called to become a saint. Therefore, why not entrust your goal and mission to the Person of the Holy Spirit. Pray this simple prayer every day: “Holy Spirit, make me a saint!!!” By way of biographical note, we encourage you to read the spiritual masterpiece of the saintly Bishop of Mexico City, Luis Martinez in his work on the Holy Spirit with the title, you can probably guess it…The Sanctifier!
Life can be tough. The cross at times can be exceedingly heavy and burdensome; trials, contradictions and even persecutions can visit us frequently. With the cross weighing heavy on our shoulders, we all need at times some consolation from a Good-Friend. That consolation can come from none better than the Holy Spirit who is invoked as The Consoler. In the classical prayer to the Holy Spirit we pray: “May we always rejoice in His consolation.” Call on Him and share your burdens with Him; He will bring you comfort and strength.
Not only is the Holy Spirit known as the Consoler, but also as the Counselor! When in doubt, when the heavy cloud of uncertainty descends upon you, when weariness, frustration, and confusion seem to darken your reasoning powers, then it is time to recoil from the battle-field and fervently invoke and pray to the Holy Spirit for light, for counsel, for insight so that you can make the right decision for the honor and glory of God and for the salvation of your immortal soul and the souls of many others. Pray as such: “Holy Spirit, cast out my darkness and give me light!”
4. INTERIOR MASTER OF PRAYER.
Anybody who takes their spiritual life and prayer life seriously, sooner or later will encounter obstacles on the road to progress. This is par for the course in the spiritual life! Therefore, when it seems as if your prayer life is stagnant or even paralyzed, that you are on a spiritual tread-mill going nowhere fast, then it is most certainly the time and moment to invoke the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Even the great Apostle Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, expressed his struggle in prayer with these words: “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with ineffable groans so that we can say Abba-Father.” (Rom 8:26) Indeed the Holy Spirit is the Interior Master of your soul and He is most willing to help you to pray if you ask with an open and docile heart.
5. THE GIFT OF GIFTS.
One of the simplest but most sublime titles that is given to the Holy Spirit in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that of The Gift of Gifts! The nature of the theology of Gift is that it is given freely, free of charge. We simply have to open our hearts to receive it! Simply pray, “Come, Holy Spirit, Come!” If God wants to give The Gift of Gifts to you then why not open up your heart in humble gratitude and receive Him!
6. THE BOND OF LOVE.
In the Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the bond of love between the Father and the Son. In a word, the Holy Spirit is uncreated love. Saint Paul states that charity—supernatural love—is the bond of perfection. Why not, right now, beg the Holy Spirit to set your heart on fire with the love of God and love of neighbor! Saint John of the Cross writes most beautifully: “In the twilight of our existence we will be judged on love.”
7. SWEET GUEST OF THE SOUL.
One of the most poetic and beautiful titles found in the Prayer to the Holy Spirit on Pentecost called the Sequence is the following: “Holy Spirit, Sweet Guest of the Soul.” In essence, its meaning is the following: through Baptism we became living Temples of the Blessed Trinity, and this of course included the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Not only is He a Guest in the most intimate part of our being which is our soul, but still more, He is the SWEET GUEST. As honey is to the tongue, and the fragrance of spring roses to the nostrils, so is the Holy Spirit to the docile, humble, and loving soul. In the midst of the bitter valleys and dark tunnels that we must all traverse, in the depths of our being we can invoke the Holy Spirit as the Sweet Guest of our soul. He will bring a sweetness to our most bitter trials.
8. THE SOUL OF THE CHURCH.
With respect to basic Ecclesiology, the study and knowledge of the Church, the Holy Spirit has a primary and essential role. Jesus is the Head of the Mystical Body, the Church; we are the Members of the Mystical Body, the Church; and the Holy Spirit is the SOUL of the Mystical Body, the Church. By definition the soul is the life-giving principle! Indeed, if we truly want to experience life and life in abundance in the Lord and His Church, we must constantly invoke the Presence of the Holy Spirit. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
9. THE PURIFIER.
One of the most common symbols or images for the Holy Spirit is that of FIRE. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles as FIRE—TONGUES of FIRE. Our God is a devouring fire. In drawing close to this devouring fire that is the Holy Spirit, He desires to burn away in us anything that is not pleasing to God. Saint John of the Cross uses the image of a piece of rusty metal cast into a raging and scathing fire. In time, all the rust falls off and the metal becomes red hot like the fire. So too this consuming fire that is the Holy Spirit works efficaciously to scour, burn, and purify from our soul all our sins and the residual effects of sin. Until we can say with Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)
10. THE MYSTICAL SPOUSE OF MARY.
Finally, the Holy Spirit in His relationship to the Blessed Virgin Mary is that of being her Mystical Spouse. It was through the powerful overshadowing of the Holy Spirit that the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived Jesus within her womb—the sublime accomplishment of the Incarnation of the Son of God. Saint Louis de Montfort makes this consoling connection: “Those who love Mary, the Holy Spirit flings Himself into their souls.”
In conclusion, by praying and meditating upon these ten titles or names or descriptions of the Holy Spirit, we pray that you will get to know this Sweet Guest of your soul, that you will enter into more frequent conversation with your Interior Master, and finally, that you will learn the art of truly loving God with your whole being, as well as your neighbor created in the image and likeness of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit who is “uncreated love”. Come Holy Spirit, come to me through the Heart of Mary.