Many would sadly have to admit that the Holy Spirit is the forgotten Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. The Blessed Trinity is composed of three separate and distinct but equal Persons: The Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Three Divine Persons in One God. After the Feast of Pentecost in the Church Liturgical Year, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity—the most sublime Mystery of the Catholic faith.
Given the sad fact that many do not know who the Holy Spirit really is, we would like to offer ten concrete suggestions on how we can augment our knowledge, our devotion, and our love for the “Forgotten Person of the most Blessed Trinity.” In a very real sense our conversion, sanctification, growth in holiness, and final perseverance depends in large part on our union with the Holy Spirit. Such is that the case that Pope Saint John XXIII asserted the following: “The saints are the spiritual Masterpieces of the Holy Spirit.” Our prayer and hope will be that you will end your life being one of those “Masterpieces of the Holy Spirit.” In fact Jesus commands it: “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.” (1 Peter 1: 16)
TEN WAYS TO GET TO KNOW AND LOVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. PRAYER. We offer to you a short prayer that the author composed several years ago combining Mary and the Holy Spirit: “Come Holy Spirit, come through the Heart of Mary.” Say this prayer frequently during the course of the day and graces will descend upon you like rain on the parched desert!
2. THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. During the entirety of the Easter Season—that lasts 50 days—the Church offers us the reading and meditation of the book that follows the four Gospels: The Acts of the Apostles.
3. SAINT LUKE. The inspiration of this book is the same Holy Spirit; the human author is the great Saint Luke. This wonderful book, the action book of the Bible, is also known as the “Gospel of the Holy Spirit.” On numerous occasions we encounter the Person, the Presence, and the Power of the Holy Spirit. Starting with Chapter Two, we contemplate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles, and the Birthday of the Catholic Church. By reading, meditating, pondering, and contemplating the Chapters, events and verses of the Acts of the Apostles, you will get to know better and better the Person of the Holy Spirit—a Biblical perspective. Also, you will perceive His action on the early Church, and how He can still act on each and every one of us!
4. READ BOOKS ON THE HOLY SPIRIT. Of course, the Bible, the Word of God, has preference and prominence in our growth in faith. However, that should not exclude us reading and studying good literature. We would like to offer the following works:
- In the School of the Holy Spirit by Jacques Philippe.
- The Sanctifier by the Archbishop of Mexico, Luis Martinez.
- The Holy Ghost, Our Greatest Friend by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P. This is a small but substantial booklet on the Holy Spirit, Tan Publishers.
- The Spiritual Life by Adolphe Tanquerey, who explains in a masterly manner, the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- Dominum et Vivificantem (Lord and Giver of Life). The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World, Pope Saint John Paul II, 18 May 1986.
This will be enough literature on the Holy Spirit to keep you busy for at least a fortnight!
5. SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Memorize and get to know the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Do you know them? A little help: Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord.
6. VENI CREATOR SPIRITUS. Learn and sing the Gregorian hymn—the real classic: Veni Creator Spritus. The great Doctor of the Church, Saint Augustine, reminds us that to sing well is to pray twice.
7. THE ART OF SPEAKING/COMMUNICATING. Before giving a talk, lecture, or catechesis always pray to the Holy Spirit for His Divine Light and guidance. My own personal experience, having given thousands of talks in more than three decades as a priest, I always initiate my talks, conferences, and presentations by praying to Mary, then to the Holy Spirit. Next, to the angels and saints so that the words that issue from my heart and mouth will be a source of inspiration, knowledge and inspiration for my listeners. Try it! Even before converting individually, the Holy Spirit communicates fire—light and love!
8. LITANY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Litanies are great! The Litany is an extraordinary prayer tool that serves as a double means of sanctification. The Litany is a prayer, as well as an efficacious catechetical device. A Litany consists of a list and sequence of short phrases explaining in detail the virtues or perfections of that Person. Litanies are many: to Mary, Saint Joseph, Jesus, the Angels, the saints, but also to the Holy Spirit. Many of these short invocations are Biblical, poetic, symbolic, and Mystical. Therefore, by praying the Litany of the Holy Spirit, you are both getting to know various dimensions, attributes, and noble qualities of the Holy Spirit, but also getting to know Who He is!!!
9. RECOGNIZE YOUR DIGNITY: THE CHURCH AND SACRAMENTS. Recognize the Presence of the Holy Spirit in your own personal life. Indeed, many actually have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in their very souls. When and how? In the very moment of Baptism, the Holy Spirit enters our very soul. Actually, the Blessed Trinity becomes the Guest of our soul. In all truth, the Sacrament of Baptism transforms us into Sons and Daughters of God the Father, Brothers or Sisters to Jesus Christ, and Intimate Friends of the Holy Spirit, as well as Living Tabernacles of the Blessed Trinity. For that reason, Pope Saint Leo the Great, in his Christmas homily exhorts us in these words: “Christians, recognize your great dignity.” Confirmation fortifies the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, challenging us to both spread the faith and defend our Catholic faith. Indeed we become Soldiers of Christ the King and Mary the Queen!
10. MARY AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. There at Pentecost (Acts 2), the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary after a novena (nine days!!!) of prayer and penance. The powerful wind-like earthquake and the tongues of fire transformed these weak, ignorant and cowardly men into valiant soldiers of Christ, ready to shed their life’s blood for the sake of the Name and Person of Jesus Christ. The Blessed Virgin Mary can heighten our knowledge, love and awareness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In fact, related to the Blessed Trinity, Mary is the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit—the living Tabernacle of the Blessed Trinity. Lift your eyes, mind, heart and soul to Mary and she will facilitate your union in knowledge and love for the Holy Spirit. Saint Louis de Montfort asserts: “Those who love Mary, the Holy Spirit flings Himself into their souls.” May Our Lady precipitate an abundant down pouring of the Holy Spirit in your mind, heart, soul, and life and help you to become a saint—a Masterpiece of the Holy Spirit. Amen.