Before, during, and now—after Pentecost, I feel so impelled to search out a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit. A year ago, inspired by Venerable Conchita’s words on the Holy Spirit, actually words by Christ to her about the Holy Spirit, I put together a talk on the Holy Spirit: her text, text from the Catholic Catechism, and a wonderful little pamphlet, an adaptation of the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on the gifts, written by Father Peter John Cameron, O.P. published by the Knights of Columbus, 2002. [See the full, printable pamphlet: http://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/cis/cis360.pdf ]
Having worked my way through this teaching with my little Soul Food group, when I came upon Venerable Archbishop Luis Martinez’ book, I glanced through it, but I was still digesting the first material, so I lay it aside. TRUE DEVOTION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT is an abridged translation [269 pp] of Archbishop Martinez original, THE SANCTIFIER [368 pp].
I was moved when I read what Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit to Conchita: “All the good a soul accomplishes, it carries out under His inspiration, in His light, by His grace and His help. And yet He is not invoked, He is not thanked for His direct and intimate action in each soul. If you invoke the Father, if you love Him, it is through the Holy Spirit. If you love Me ardently, if you know Me, if you serve Me, if you imitate Me, if you make yourself but one with My wishes and with My heart, it is through the Holy Spirit” [Diary, Jan. 26, 1915].
Yet the Holy Spirit is hardest for us to understand. We identify with Jesus because He is God and man—He is like us in being man. If you think about it, most Christians feel closer to Christ than to any other person in the Blessed Trinity. The Father, because He is FATHER, most Christians can also identify with—He is probably the second most often invoked member of the Blessed Trinity. But what can we make of the Holy Spirit?
The Church gives us icons: the cloud, pillar of fire, tongues of fire, mighty wind, water, dove. Our Delightful Guest confuses us though we believe in His significance. Ask Catholics what they know about the Holy Spirit and they will cite Pentecost, tongues, the above images, Comforter, Consoler, perhaps Sanctifier, but they don’t really understand much else. This Mystery we have entered so poorly, and because of the obscurity, we stay away. We want the power, but we don’t understand it.
How can we become intimate with the Holy Spirit? Jesus has told Conchita that this is the era of the Holy Spirit—but He is so unknown and unappreciated! I want to touch and to enter into the Holy Spirit in the same intimate way that I have touched the Sacred Heart and entered the Heart of the Father. So this week I picked up Archbishop Martinez’ book TRUE DEVOTION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT where I will begin again, entering, hopefully, at a deeper level than I did a year ago.
I was also inspired by the recent posts on Anthony Mullen’s DIVINE ANTIDOTE [Flame of Love blog]—what wonderful inspirational posts on the gifts and the Holy Spirit. He whet my appetite for more! [See his link on the sidebar.]
As Jesus told Conchita, Martinez also tells us: “Our first intimacy is with the Holy Spirit” [p. 31]. As Scripture tells us, “No one can say Jesus is Lord except in the Holy Spirit” [1 Cor. 12,13]. His ministrations to us are so deep, yet secretive, that we are not even aware of them. He is our first and most basic Gift.
Archbishop Martinez explains: “The Gift of God will come to each one of them [us] as it came to the Virgin Mary, and since, after Love itself, the Gift of divine love is Jesus, the Holy Spirit will bring to each soul the divine fecundity of the Father. In each, the Word will take flesh mystically, and Jesus will sing the poem of His divine mysteries; and each through Him, will go to the Father. Nobody goes to the Father except through Him” [32-33]. The Holy Spirit transforms us into Christ that we may go the Father.
What is the supreme prayer in the heart of the Mass? “It is reserved to the priest, by virtue of his ordination, to proclaim the Eucharist Prayer, which of its nature is the high point of the whole celebration:”
1 Through him, with him, in him,
3 in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
4 all glory and honor is yours,
2 almighty Father,
5 for ever and ever.
How well does this prayer express the heart of our theology! I have come to relish so much this prayer, to think of it as the “Communion of the Father” as He receives us in Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit. But the prayer is possible only in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
In an earlier post, “To Be Jesus Christ” [which, by the way, is the name of another book by Archbishop Martinez!] I remarked: “Before we can be Jesus Crucified, we must be Jesus. How—the kiss of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit made Jesus incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit transforms those whom He anoints into Christ—we are progressively transformed into Jesus. Regarding the Holy Spirit, “my young dove” as Conchita affectionately called Him, “the heart of Jesus is the real nest of the Holy Spirit.” Wherever “the little dove” nests becomes the Heart of Jesus.”
Do you realize that right before the consecration of the bread and wine in the Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest calls on the Holy Spirit? This part of the Mass is called the EPICLESIS:
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says in no. 79 c: In the Epiclesis, by means of particular invocations, the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated, that is, become Christ’s Body and Blood, and that the spotless Victim to be received in Communion be for the salvation of those who will partake of it.
In all forms of the Eucharistic Prayer, the Epiclesis is evident because of the priest’s gesture. From the orans or praying position with his hands outstretched, he lowers his hands and holds them, palms down, over the bread and wine as he makes the invocation. Then he makes a Sign of the Cross over the gifts with his right hand. [http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/article.php?classID=3&subclassID=67&articleID=4217&class=Copyright&subclass=]
Truly, wherever the little dove nests becomes the Heart of Jesus: in Mary, in us, on the altars of the Church. Archbishop Martinez tells us also: “To glorify the Father fully, it is necessary to be transformed into Jesus, because the glorification of the Father is His work, and ‘in order to do the work of Jesus, it is necessary to be Jesus,’ according to the profound words of Monsignor Gay.” [Martinez 34]
Archbishop Martinez explains: “The Holy Spirit takes us to Jesus; He makes us Jesus by transforming us into Him. This is His work; nobody can be conformed to Jesus except in the unity of the Holy Spirit….This is the divine cycle in the sanctification of souls: nobody can go to the Father except through Jesus; nobody can go to Jesus except through the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus, with Jesus, and in Jesus, souls glorify the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever” [emphasis is mine, p. 37].
Spiritual marriage is to be utterly filled with the Holy Spirit, our first Gift, our Delightful Guest who loves us as we love Him: “Each day, our thoughts and our acts get nearer and nearer to love’s source, until the thought of God and His loving presence becomes a divine obsession….If we are to obtain intimate life with the Holy Spirit and to have the sweet presence of the divine Guest, there is only one definitive and efficacious means: it is love” .
“When God wishes to fill a heart with His greatness, all that is created must go out of it. This emptiness is demanded by the Holy Spirit, who aspires to fullness of possession….”. “The delightful Guest of our soul aspires to this union, and the mystery of it is accomplished by the theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity” .
What I learned from Archbishop Martinez, or have entered into more deeply, is that the intimacy I now enjoy with the Trinity comes from the Holy Spirit, that first Gift, the Divine Guest who jealously guards His beloved [me!]—He aspires to fullness of possession. All the sweetness, the joy comes from His presence which, like the most fragrance anointing, overflows heart, mind, and spirit. This takes nothing away from Jesus, the Sacred Heart, the beloved Abba—all is one in the unity of the Spirit! One treasure. One pearl of great price! As I wrote in my Trinitarian spiritual communion: “The Holy Spirit, that little dove Who nests in my heart, groans with the thirst that we be One.” “We” is me plunged into the bosom of the Trinity.
[We will next explore the theological virtues which enable us to TOUCH God.]
TRINITARIAN SPIRITUAL COMMUNION:
As I gaze on my adorable Abba
through your eyes, my Jesus,
I am filled with longing for Him.
The Holy Spirit, that little dove
Who nests in my heart,
groans with the thirst that we be One.
Feed me, my Jesus, lest I die of thirst.
Fill me with the loving gaze
of Your Sacred Heart,
the loving gaze of My Father
who melts me to tears.