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The Holy Spirit Is a Someone

The Holy Spirit Is a Someone

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (2 Corinthians 13:13)

Catholic apologist Frank J. Sheed described the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Father and Son:

Father and Son love each other, with infinite intensity. What we could not know, if it were not revealed to us, is that they unite to express their love, and that expression is a third divine Person. . . . Each gives Himself wholly to the outpouring of His love for the Other, holding nothing back—indeed the very thought of holding back is ridiculous; if They give Themselves at all, They can give Themselves only totally—They possess nothing but Their totality! The uttered love of Father and Son is infinite, lacks no perfection that They have, is God, a Person, a Someone[—the Holy Spirit.]

The Holy Spirit has sometimes been called the “neglected” Person of the Trinity, the One who is “lonely.” Perhaps because he is referred to as “Spirit,” we find ourselves unable to imagine him, as we can Jesus. But we must rid ourselves of all such thoughts. Instead, we must embrace the truth that the Holy Spirit is God, a Person who fully shares life with the Father and the Son. Getting that straight prepares the way for us to come to know and love him more.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Many Christians regard love, joy, peace, and the other fruit of the Spirit as feelings, and they are disappointed when they try to stir them up. However, St. Paul presents the fruit of the Spirit not as feelings but primarily as behaviors that replace the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). For example, acts of love correct hateful conduct, peaceful initiatives calm fighting, patient behaviors replace angry outbursts, exercising self-control checks lustful acts, and so on. We receive these behaviors when we ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to conduct ourselves as Jesus would. Then we perform the actions that manifest the fruit of the Spirit. For example, to grow in love, we must do the loving thing in every situation, serving even someone we do not like. The Spirit will honor our repeating of this behavior by producing the fruit of love in us.

We recognize the works of the flesh in our lives and feel doomed to repeat them over and over. But we don’t have to: the Holy Spirit brings us antidotes that we can use to break free of them. May you face evil inclinations and persistent sinful patterns by expecting the Holy Spirit to give you the grace to overcome them, and may you replace them with the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help you to see clearly the works of the flesh in your life and will give you the grace to replace your evil behaviors with the fruit of the Spirit.

This is a selection from Prayers to the Holy Spirit: Power and Light for Your Life by Bert Ghezzi (The Word Among Us Press, 2014). Available at wau.org/books

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