The Divine Holy Spirit: the Great Sanctifier of Mankind

On the Solemnity of Pentecost, we are invited to remember the sublime action of God’s Spirit in attaining holiness for the baptized.

Gaudium Press English Edition

Newsdesk (07/06/2022 20:31, Gaudium Press) All of us, in some way, have already had contact with death – either by real means, that is, by witnessing it, or by mere fiction, viewing it. In any case, when we are faced with an inert body, the impact is striking, and the contrast between life and death is striking, since the reality is unmistakable: it is that the soul has separated from the body, and no longer dwells there.

It is death, then, that brings to mind the priceless, singular and august gift that is so opposite to it, life.

This same life, with a certain degree of similarity to the human body, God has established in His Church, by conceiving it as a Mystical Body, whose head is Christ himself, and the baptized faithful, its members.

In this masterpiece of his Creation – the Church – God instilled a vivifying spirit, the active principle of its action, similar to the soul (in the human being), which is nothing less than the Divine Holy Spirit.

And just as, in man, the soul vivifies both head and members, in His Church, it is the Holy Spirit who communicates life – and, a divine life! – to those who are part of this Body, through the Sacrament of Baptism.

Consider, for example, the difference between being adopted by a person of modest means or by a person of wealth. Without a doubt, if we were given a choice, the vast majority of people would opt for the second possibility, because it would mean an increase in social prominence, accompanied by a significant inheritance. However, infinitely more than achieving any dignity or possessing material goods is to be received by God as a son. This supernatural adoption does not take place in the same way as a human one, registered in a notary’s office: while parents cannot give their biological life to their adopted children, “God, on the contrary, gives us a physical and formal participation in His own life”[1] by making the same “divine blood” circulate in our veins.

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In order to correspond to such a high vocation, our poor nature is insufficient. That is why, through Baptism, we have received a body of virtues that we need to cultivate in order to achieve holiness. Moreover, God also gives us His gifts, which, acting on these virtues, help us in the fight against temptations.

The dispenser of heavenly gifts

Now, it is precisely to ask for such gifts that today’s liturgy invites us, through the hymn “Veni Sancte Spiritus”, which pleads:

Spirit of God, send down from Heaven a ray of light. Come, Father of the poor, give to hearts your seven gifts.

In fact, without these gifts, it is not possible for us to practice any of the commandments stably, for we are weak and feeble.

In this vein, the hymn prays that “without the light that beckons, man can do nothing, [for] there is no good in him.” It is fitting, therefore, that the second part of this sequence formulated by the Church to augment the liturgical solemnity of Pentecost should be composed of numerous petitions, since by asking insistently, our own desire is increased and strengthened.

Then:

To the unclean, wash, to the parched, water, to the sick, give healing. Soften what is hard, guide those in the dark, give fervour to the cold. Give to your Church, which waits and desires, your seven gifts. Give in reward to the strong, a holy death, eternal joy. Amen.

We are, therefore, invited to implore the Divine Holy Spirit that He wash the stains of sin that still mar us, that He water our spiritual aridnesses, bend our inflexibilities to His voice, and guide us in the uncertainties of this life, until we reach eternal glory.

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Therefore, we must always have fixed before our supernatural eyes the unique and intransferable role of the Divine Holy Spirit: to be the Paraclete, that is, the Consoler, the One who gives strength, who gives encouragement and instills vigor, despite the vicissitudes of life.

Let us ask, then, with the Psalmist: “Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the whole face of the earth”. (Ps 103:30)

This is what we wish on this Solemnity of Pentecost!

By Jerome Sequeira Vaz

[1] Cf. CLÁ DIAS, João Scognamiglio. The Unpublished on the Gospels: Commentaries on the Sunday Gospels. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012, v. 5, p. 387.

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