The Holy Spirit

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The Holy Spirit  (1903) 
by Pope Leo XIII
As translated in the 1903 The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII

THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Encyclical Letter Divinum Illud, May 4, 1897.

That divine office which Jesus Christ received from His Father for the welfare of mankind, and most per- fectly fulfilled, had for its final object to put men in pos- session of the eternal life of glory, and proximately dur- ing the course of ages to secure to them the life of divine grace, which is destined e\'entually to blossom into the life of heaven. Wherefore Our Saviour never ceases to in- vite, with infinite affection, all men, of every race and tongue, into the bosom of His Church: Come ye all to Me, I am the Life, I am the Good Shepherd. Nevertheless, according to His inscrutable counsels, He did not will to entirely complete and finish this office Himself on earth, but as He had received it from the Father, so He trans- mitted it for its completion to the Holy Ghost. It is consohng to recall those assurances which Christ gave to the body of His disciples a little before He left the earth: It is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, tJie Paraclete will not come to you: hut if I go, I will send Him to you} In these words He gave as the chief reason of His departure and His return to the Father the advantage which would most certainly accrue to His followers from the coming of the Holy Ghost, and at the same time He made it clear that the Holy Ghost is equally sent by — and therefore proceeds from — HimseK and the Father; that He would complete, in His office of Intercessor, Consoler, and Teacher, the work which Christ Himself had begun in His mortal

  • John xvi. 7.

422


THE HOLY SPIRIT. 423

life. For, in the redemption of the world, the completion of the work was by divine Providence reserved to the manifold power of that Spirit who, in the creation, adorned the heavens * and filled the whole world?

Now We have earnestly striven, by the help of His grace, to follow the example of Christ Our Saviour, the Prince of pastors, and the Bishop of our souls, by dili- gently carrying on His office, entrusted by Him to the apostles and chiefly to Peter, "whose dignity faileth not, even in his unworthy successor." ^ In pursuance of this object We have endeavored to direct all that we have attempted and persistently carried out during a long pontificate towards two chief ends: in the first place, to- wards the restoration, both in rulers and peoples, of the principles of the Christian life in civil and domestic society, since there is no true life for men except from Christ; and, secondly, to promote the reunion of those who have fallen away from the Catholic Church either by heresy or by schism, since it is most undoubtedly the will of Christ that all should be united in one flock under one Shepherd. But now that We are looking forward to the approach of the closing days of Our life. Our soul is deeply moved to dedicate to the Holy Ghost, who is the nfe-gi\dng Love, all the work We have done during Our pontiflcate, that He may bring it to maturity and fniitfulness. In order better and more fully to carry out this Our intention. We have resolved to address you at the approaching sacred season of Pentecost concerning the indwelling and mi- raculous power of the Holy Ghost ; and the extent and effi- ciency of His action, both in the whole body of the Church and in the individual souls of its members, through the glorious abundance of His divine graces. We earnestly desire that, as a result, faith may be aroused in your minds concerning the mystery of the adorable Trinity, and espe-

' Job xxvi. 13.

  • Wisdom i. 7.

' St. Leo the Great, Sermon ii., on the Anniversary of his Election.


424 THE HOLY SPIRIT.

cially that piety may increase and be inflamed towards the Holy Ghost, to whom especially all of us owe the grace of following the paths of truth and virtue, for, as St. Basil said, "Who denieth that the dispensations concerning man, which have been made by the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, according to the goodness of God, have been fulfilled through the grace of the Spirit?" *

Before We enter upon this subject, it will be both desir- able and useful to say a few words about the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. This dogma is called by the Doctors of the Church "the substance of the New Testament," that is to say, the greatest of all mysteries, since it is the fountain and origin of them all. In order to know and contemplate this mystery, the angels were created in heaven and men upon earth. In order to teach more fully this mystery, which was but foreshadowed in the Old Testament, God Himself came down from the angels unto men: No man hath seen God at any titne; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him? Who- soever then writes or speaks of the Trinity must keep before His eyes the prudent warning of the Angelic Doctor: "When we speak of the Trinity, we must do so with cau- tion and modesty, for, as St. Augustine saith, nowhere else are more dangerous errors made, or is research more difficult, or discovery more fruitful" ^ The danger that arises is lest the divine persons be confounded one with the other in faith or worship, or lest the one nature in them be separated: for "This is the Catholc faith, that we should adore one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity." Therefore Our predecessor Innocent XII. absolutely refused the petition of those who desired a special festival in honor of God the Father. For, although the separate mysteries connected with the Incarnate Word are celebrated on cer- tain fixed days, yet there is no special feast on which the Word is honored according to His divine nature alone.

1 Of the Holy Ghost, c. xvi., v. 39. => John i. 18.

' Summ. Th. la., q. xxxi. De Tiin. 1. i., c. 3.


THE HOLY SPIRIT. 425

And even the Feast of Pentecost was instituted in the earhest times, not simply to honor the Holy Ghost in Him- self, but to commemorate His coming, or His external mission. And all this has been wisely ordained, lest from distinguishing the persons men should be led to distinguish the divine essence. Moreover the Church, in order to pre- serve in her children the purity of faith, instituted the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, which Jolin XXII. afterwards extended to the Universal Church. He also permitted altars and churches to be dedicated to the Blessed Trinity, and with the divine approval, sanctioned the Order for the Ransom of Captives, which is specially devoted to the Blessed Trinity and bears its name. Many facts confirm its truths. The worsh ip paid to the saints and angels, to the Mother of God, and to Christ Himself, finally redounds to the honor of the Blessed Trinity, In prayers addressed to one person, there is also mention of the others; in the litanies, after the individual persons have been separately invoked, a common invocation of all is added; all psalms and hymns conclude with the doxology to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; blessings, sacred rites, and sacra- ments are either accompanied or concluded by the invoca- tion of the Blessed Trinity. This was already foreshadowed by the Apostle in those words : For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things: to Him be glory forever,- thereby signifying both the trinity of persons and the unity of nature: for as this is one and the same in each of the per- sons, so to each is equally owing supreme glory, as to one and the same God. St. Augustine commenting upon this testimony wTites: "The words of the Apostle, of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are not to be taken indiscriminately ; of Him refers to the Father, by Him to the Son, in Him to the Holy Ghost. "^ The Church is accustomed most fittingly to attribute to the Father those works of the divinity in which power excels, to the Son those in which wisdom excels, and those in which love excels to the Holy Ghost.

» Rom. xi 36. * De Trin. L vi., c. 10 j L L, c. 6.


426 THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Not that all perfections and external operations are not common to the divine persons; for "the operations of the Trinity are indivisible, even as the essence of the Trinity is indivisible"^ because as the three divine per- sons "are inseparable, so do they act inseparably." ^ But by a certain comparison, and a kind of affinity between the operations and the properties of the persons, these operations are attributed or, as it is said, "appropriated" to one person rather than to the others. "Just as we make use of the traces of similarity or likeness which we find in creatures for the manifestation of the divine per- sons, so do we use their essential attributes; and this manifestation of the persons by their essential attributes is called appropriation." ^ In this manner the Father, who is "the principal of the whole Godhead," * is also the efficient cause of all things, of the Incarnation of the Word, and the sanctification of souls; "of Him are all things," of Him referring to the Father. But the Son^ the Word, the Image of God, is also the exemplary cause, whence all creatures borrow their form and beauty, their order and harmony. He is for us the way, the truth, and the life: the reconciler of man with God. "By Him are all things," by Him referring to the Son. The Holy Ghost is the ultimate cause of all things, since, as the will and all other things finally rest in their end, so He, who is the divine goodness and the mutual love of the Father and Son, completes and perfects, by His strong yet gentle power, the secret work of man's eternal salvation, "In Him are all things," in Him referring to the Holy Ghost.

THE HOLY GHOST AND THE INCARNATION.

Having thus paid the due tribute of faith and worship owing to the Blessed Trinity, and which ought to be more

» St. Aug. De Trin., 1. i., cc. 4, 5

!*St. Aug., ib.

'St. Th. la., q. xxxix., a. 7.

  • St. Aug. De Tiin. L iv., c. 2a


THE HOLY SPIRIT. 427

and more inculcated upon the Christian people, We now turn to the exposition of the power of the Holy Ghost. And, first of all, we must look to Christ, the Founder of the Church and Redeemer of our race. Among the ex- ternal operations of God, the highest of all is the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, in which the splendor of the divine perfections shines forth so brightly that nothing more sublime can even be imagined, nothing else could have been more salutary to the human race. Now this work, although belonging to the whole Trinity, is still appropriated especially to the Holy Ghost, so that the gospels thus speak of the Blessed Virgin: She was found with child of the Holy Ghost,^ and that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost} And this is rightly attributed to Him who is the Love of the Father and the Son, since this great mystery of piety ^ proceeds from the infinite love of God towards man, as St. John tells us: God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son.^ Moreover, human nature was thereby elevated to a personal union with the Word; and this dignity is given, not on account of any merits, but entirely and absolutely through grace, and therefore, as it were, through the special gift of the Holy Ghost. On this point St. Augustine wTites: "The manner in which Christ was bom of the Holy Ghost indi- cates to us the grace of God, by which humanity, with no antecedent merits, at the first moment of its existence, was united with the Word of God by so intimate a per- sonal union that He who was the Son of man was also the Son of God, and He who was the Son of God was also the Son of man." * By the operation of the Holy Spirit, not only was the conception of Christ accomplished, but also the sanctification of His soul, which, in Holy Scrip- ture is called His anointing.^ Wherefore all His actions were performed in the Holy Ghost, ^ and especially the sac-

  • Matt. i. 18, 20. * Enchir.,c. xl.; St. Th. 3a., q. xxxii., a. 1.

' 1 Tim. iii. 16. ' Acts x. 38.

' John iii. 16. * St. Basil de Sp. S., c. xvi.


428 THE HOLY SPIRIT.

rifice of Himself: Christ, through the Holy Ghost, offered Himself without spot to God} Considering this no one can be surprised that all the gifts of the Holy Ghost inun- dated the soul of Christ. In Him resided the absolute fulness of grace, in the greatest and most efficacious man- ner possible; in Him were all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, graces gratis datm, virtues, and all other gifts foretold in the prophecies of Isaias,^ and also signified in that miraculous dove which appeared at the Jordan, when Christ, by His Baptism, consecrated its waters for a new sacrament. On this the words of St. Augustine may appropriately be quoted: "It would be absurd to say that Christ received the Holy Ghost when He was already thirty years of age, for He came to His Baptism without sin, and therefore not without the Holy Ghost. At this time, then (that is at His Baptism), He was pleased to prefigure His Church, in which those especially who are baptized receive the Holy Ghost. " ^ Therefore, by the conspicuous appa- rition of the Holy Ghost over Christ and by His invisible power in His soul, the twofold mission of the Spirit is fore- shadowed, namely, His outward and visible mission in the Church, and His secret indwelling in the souls of the just.

THE HOLY GHOST AND THE CHURCH.

The Church which, already conceived, came forth from the side of the second Adam in His sleep on the cross, first showed herself before the eyes of men on the great day of Pentecost. On that day the Holy Ghost began to manifest His gifts in the mystic body of Christ, by that miraculous outpouring already foreseen by the prophet Joel,^ for the Paraclete "sat upon the apostles as though new spiritual crowns were placed upon their heads in tongues of fire." ^ Then the apostles "descended from

1 Heb. ix. 14. « De Trin. 1. xv., c. 26.

»Isa. iv. 1; xi. 23. < Joel ii. 28, 29

»S. Cyril Hier. Catech. 17.


THE HOLY SPIRIT. 429

the mountain," as St. John Chrysostom writes, "not bearing in their hands tables of stone hke Moses, but carry- ing the Spirit in their mind, and pouring forth the treasure and the fountain of doctrines and graces."^ Thus was fully accomplished that last promise of Christ to His apostles of sending the Holy Ghost, who was to complete and, as it were, to seal the deposit of doctrine committed to them under His inspiration. / have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now; but when He, the Spirit of Truth, shall come. He will teach you all truth.^ For He who is the Spirit of Truth, inasmuch as He pro- ceedeth both from the Father, who is the eternally True, and from the Son, who is the substantial Truth, receiveth from each both His essence and the fulness of all truth. This truth He communicates to His Church, guarding her by His all-powerful help from ever falling into error, and aiding her to foster daily more and more the germs of divine doctrine and to make them fruitful for the welfare of the peoples. And since the welfare of the peoples, for which the Church was established, abso- lutely requires that this office should be continued for all time, the Holy Ghost perpetually supphes life and strength to preserve and increase the Church. / urill ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete, that He may abide loith you forever, the Spirit of Truth?

By Him the bishops are constituted, and by their ministry are multiplied not only the children, but also the fathers — that is to say, the priests — to rule and feed the Church by that blood wherewith Christ has redeemed her. The Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops to nde the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.* And both bishops and priests, by the miraculous gift of the Spirit, have the power of absolving sins, accord- ing to those words of Christ to the apostles: Receive ye the Holy Ghost ; whose sins you shall forgive they are for^

1 In Matt. Horn. I., 2 Cor. iii. 3. ^ John xiv. 16, 17.

2 John xvi. 12, 13. * Acts xx. 28


430 THE HOLY SPIRIT.

given them, and whose you shall retain they are retained} That the Church is a divine institution is most clearly proved by the splendor and glory of those gifts and graces with which she is adorned, and whose author and giver is the Holy Ghost. Let it suffice to state that, as Christ is the Head of the Church, so is the Holy Ghost her soul. "What the soul is in our body, that is the Holy Ghost in Christ's body, the Church." ^ This being so, no further and fuller "manifestation and revelation of the divine Spirit" may be imagined or expected; for that which now takes place in the Church is the most perfect possible, and will last until that day when the Church herself, having passed through her militant career, shall be taken up into the joy of the saints triumphing in heaven.

THE HOLY GHOST IN THE SOULS OF THE JUST.

The manner and extent of the action of the Holy Ghost in individual souls is no less wonderful, although somewhat more difficult to understand, inasmuch as it is entirely invisible. This outpouring of the Spirit is so abundant, that Christ Himself, from whose gift it proceeds, compares it to an overflowing river, according to those words of St. John: "He that believeth in Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his midst shall flow rivers of living water"; to which testimony the Evangelist adds the explanation: Now this He said of the Spirit which they should receive who believed in Him.^ It is indeed true that in those of the just who lived before Christ, the Holy Ghost resided by grace, as we read in the Scriptures concerning the prophets, Zacharj^, John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna; so that on Pentecost the Holy Ghost did not communicate Himself in such a way "as then for the first time to begin to dwell in the saints, but by pouring Himself forth more abundantly: crowning, not beginning His gifts; not

» lohn XX. 22, 23. ' St. Aug. Serm. 187, de Temp.

Uohn vii. 38, 39.


THE HOLY SPIRIT. 431

commencing a new work, but giving more abundantly." ^ But if they also were numbered among the children of God, they were in a state like that of servants, for as long as the heir is a child he differeth nothing from a servant, but is under tutors and governors.^ Moreover, not only was their justice derived from the merits of Christ who was to come, but the communication of the Holy Ghost after Christ was much more abundant, just as the price surpasses in value the earnest and the reality excels the image. Wherefore St. John declares: As yet the spirit was not given, hecawse Jesus was not yet glorified.^ So soon, therefore, as Christ, "ascending on high," entered into possession of the glory of His Kingdom which He had won with so much labor, He munificently opened out the treasures of the Holy Ghost: He gave gifts to men* For that giving or sending forth of the Holy Ghost after Christ's glorification was to be such as had never been before; not that there had been none before, but it had not been of the same kind.^

Human nature is by necessity the servant of God: "The creature is a servant, we are the servants of God by nature."^ On account, however, of original sin, our whole nature had fallen into such guilt and dishonor that we had become enemies to God. We were by nature the children of wrath. There was no power which could raise us and dehver us from this ruin and eternal destruc- tion. But God, the Creator of mankind and infinitely merciful, did this through His only-begotten Son, by whose benefit it was brought about that man was restored to that rank and dignity whence he had fallen, and was adorned with still more abundant graces. No one can

' St. Leo the Great, Horn, iii, de Pentec. " Gal. iv. 1, 2. 2 John vii. 39.

  • Eph. iv. 8.

« St. Aug., de Trin., 1. iv. c. 20.

• St. Cyr. Alex., Thesaur. L v., c. 5. 'Eph. ii. 3.


432 THE HOLY SPIRIT.

express the greatness of this work of divine grace in the souls of men. Wherefore, both in Holy Scripture and in the writings of the fathers, men are styled regenerated, new creatures, partakers of the divine nature, children of God, god-like, and similar epithets. Now these great blessings are justly attributed as especially belonging to the Holy Ghost. He is "the Spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba, Father." He fills our hearts with the sweetness of paternal love: The Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God} This truth accords with the similitude observed by the Angelic Doctor between both operations of the Holy Ghost; for through Him "Christ was conceived in holiness to be by nature the Son of God," and "others are sanctified to be the sons of God by adoption." ^ This spiritual gen- eration proceeds from love in a much more noble manner than the natural: namely, from the uncreated Love.

The beginnings of this regeneration and renovation of man are by Baptism. In the sacrament, when the unclean spirit has been expelled from the soul, the Holy Ghost enters in and makes it like to Himself. That which is horn of the Spirit, is spirit.^ The same Spirit gives Himself more abundantly in Confirmation, strengthening and con- firming Christian life; from which proceeded the victory of the martyrs and the triumph of the virgins over tempta- tions and corruptions. We have said that the Holy Ghost gives Himself: the charity of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us* For He not only brings to us His divine gifts, but is the Author of them and is Himself the supreme gift, who, proceeding from the mutual love of the Father and the Son, is justly believed to be and is called "Gift of God most high." To show the nature and efficacy of this gift it is well to recall the explanation given by the Doctors of the Church of the words of Holy Scripture. They say that God is

> Rom. viii. 15, 16. ^ John iii. 6.

'St. Th, 3a, q. xxxii., a. 1. < Rom. v. 5.


IHE EOLY SPmiT. 433

ajad easts in all tihrngs, ^br Hwj povier, in 90 far as all Hiiia^ aze sttabjeet to Hfe pow^r; by His preseoiee, iFi ^ManiM* as all itMii^ we nakied aiad (^leai to His €T'@; Isrf His eseeaaee, ixaasasaiaeii as He is pneseot it^ all as tihe ea^xise cf idifir ban^" * Brait God 'us, in maiu not oaibr as in io- ammate iMi^B, but beeaiose He is more foUr knfjwm amd loved by Mm, saasee ctch by nature "we spontan^' " - '" lore, dearev and seek aflo" the good- Moreorer Gc. - ..^ grace icsdes in I3ae jiislt sool as in a temple, in a most ^filfr"i«*«^ and peemfiar manner. From tMs prooeeds ihsX mnom <rf affiectiflmi hf wWda Ifce fionl adheres most clisely to God, moip so tiban iiae frJcuMi fe naaited t : -^

and bdoved fiaend, and eoJqjFS God an ^l^ :— i^d

sweetnesB. l^ov t2ak vondofol umiasi, -wMfdi is _^ . . , zjly ealled ^'issdam^m^ £Siezii^ caaiy in degise or stste from lliat wk£h. wlaicli God bea:di£s ^Jbe faJtrcti R In Ikeareai, ail- tfaoa^ it is most eertainbr ptodaaeed by ItiMe piceseaaee of liie ndaole Blessed Tnnity— IFe wsil cnne to Him amd maht cmr dboie m£k Hirn^ — ne^^eitibclesB is aitlsiiLMirled In a peeofisr manrngr to tlbe Ht^- GSiosl. F(Qr, idiikt tzae^ of divine power and wiaiiom s^jpear eveai in t^ iti^ed man, dhazity, idaidi, a£ it -were^ k the ^pedal naaik of tlie Qofy GSaost, K ^lazed in <B!ily by llae ji^iL ImlaassooB^ wifli Itlds, the same Sfuit m called boly, i^gr He^ itine tTirw il, and SQQKcme Love, moves sgiqIs aradleaM^ tlsantosan^ettftr, wiBidi ultimate^ eosi^stB in Hae love d God. TVlierefoire Hie Apostle, whtsa eaffii^ las liie temi^ <of God, ^oes m&t erpiressly vntpmtirm tlie Fa3t2aer, or Hae Smi, cr Hhe Holy Giiost: Kmurn je not Iftol fsmr «MaB&esr« 4asr« Ike UmB^ ef tike Hioiy Ghogtj mho ix im, yam, idkMt ^pv. hmie fmm Gsd f ' Tlie falne£S of divine ^fts k in naany frays a coEseqnience of llie indwEffing ctf idae Hdhf G3m;^ in the sonlb of the justu For, ^ St. Thramas teacftieE, ""mhen the Holy GSiost proceedeth as, love. He {woeeededi in the dha.ra.ct.er of llie first £5ft: "whaiee AtagpStine saiiii that thronih

  • 1 Car. Ti 15.


434 THE HOLY SPIRIT.

the gift which is the Holy Ghost, many other special gifts are distributed among the members of Christ." * Among these gifts are those secret warnings and invita- tions which from time to time are excited in our minds and hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, Without these there is no beginning of a good life, no progress, no arriving at eternal salvation. And since these words and admonitions are uttered in the soul in an exceedingly secret manner, they are sometimes aptly compared in holy writ to the breathing of a coming breeze, and the Angelic Doctor likens them to the movements of the heart which are wholly hidden in the living body. "Thy heart has a certain hidden power, and therefore the Holy Ghost, who invisibly vivifies and unites the Church, is compared to the heart." ^ More than this, the just man, that is to say he who lives the life of divine grace, and acts by the fitting virtues as by means of faculties, has need of those seven gifts which are properly attributed to the Holy Ghost. By means of them the soul is furnished and strengthened so as to be able to obey more easily and promptly His voice and impulse. Wherefore these gifts are of such efficacy that they lead the just man to the highest degree of sanctity; and of such excellence that they continue to exist even in heaven, though in a more perfect way. By means of these gifts the soul is excited and encouraged to seek after and attain the evangelical beati- tudes which, like the flowers that come forth in the spring-time, are the signs and harbingers of eternal beati- tude. Lastly there are those blessed fruits, enumerated by the Apostle,^ which the Spirit, even in this mortal life, produces and shows forth in the just; fruits filled with all sweetness and joy, inasmuch as they proceed from the Spirit, "who is in the Trinity the sweetness of both Father and Son, filling all creatures with infinite

1 Summ. Th., la, q. xxxviii., a. 2. St. Aug. de Trin., 1. xv., c. 19.

2 Summ. Th., 3a, q. vii., a. 1, ad 3. »Gal. V. 22.


THE HOLY SPIRIT. 435

fulness and profusion." * The divine Spirit, proceed- ing from the Father and the Word in eternal light of sanctity, HimseK both Love and Gift, after having mani- fested Himself through the veils of figures in the Old Testa- ment, poured forth all His fulness upon Christ and upon His mystic Body, the Church; and called back by His presence and grace men who were going away in wicked- ness and corruption with such salutarj' effect that, being no longer of the earth earthy, they relished and desired quite other things, becoming of heaven heavenly. y

These sublime truths, which so clearly show forth the infinite goodness of the Holy Ghost towards us, cer- tainly demand that we should direct towards Him the highest homage of our love and devotion. Christians may do this most effectually if they will daily strive to know Him, to love Him, and to implore Him more earnestly; for which reason may this Our exhortation, flowing spontaneously from a paternal heart, reach their ears. Perchance there are still to be found among them, even nowadays, some who, if asked, as were those of old by St. Paul the Apostle, whether they have received the Holy Ghost, might answer in like man- ner: We have not so much as heard whether there be a Holy Ghost? At least there are certainly many who are very deficient in their knowledge of Him. They frequently use His name in their religious practices, but their faith is involved in much darkness. Wherefore all preachers and those having care of souls should remember that it is their duty to instruct their people more diligently and more fully about the Holy Ghost — avoiding, however, difficult and subtle controversies, and eschewing the dan- gerous folly of those who rashly endeavor to pry into divine mysteries. What should be chiefly dwelt upon and clearly explained is the multitude and greatness of the benefits which have been bestowed, and are constantly bestowed, upon us by this divine Giver, so that errors

  • St. Aug. de Trin. 1. \\., c. 9. ' Acts xix. 2.


436 THE HOLY SPIRIT.

and ignorance concerning matters of such moment may be entirely dispelled, as unworthy of "the children of light." We urge this not only because it affects a mys- tery by which we are directly guided to eternal life, and which must therefore be firmly believed, but also because the more clearly and fully the good is known the more earnestly it is loved. Now we owe to the Holy Ghost, as we mentioned in the second place, love, because He is God: Thou shall love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength} He is also to be loved because He is the substantial, eternal, primal Love, and nothing is more lovable than love. And this all the more because he has overwhelmed us with the greatest benefits, which both testify to the benevolence of the Giver and claim the gratitude of the receiver. This love has a twofold and most conspicuous utility. In the first place it will excite us to acquire daily a clearer knowledge about the Holy Ghost; for, as the Angelic Doctor says, "the lover is not content with the superficial knowledge of the beloved, but striveth to inquire intimately into all that appertains to the beloved, and thus to penetrate into the interior; as is said of the Holy Ghost, who is the love of God, that He searcheth even the profound things of God. " ^ In the second place it will obtain for us a still more abundant supply of heavenly gifts; for whilst a narrow heart contracteth the hand of the giver, a grateful and mindful heart causeth it to expand. Yet we must strive that this love should be of such a nature as not to consist merely in dry speculations or external observances, but rather to run forward towards action, and especially to fly from sin, which is in a more special manner offensive to the Holy Spirit. For whatever we are, that we are by the divine goodness; and this good- ness is specially attributed to the Holy Ghost. The sin-

  • De\it. vi. 5.

'1 Cor. ii. 10; Summ. Theol., la, 2si., q. 28, a. 2.


THE HOLY SPIRIT. 437

ner offends this his Benefactor, abusing His gifts; and taking advantage of His goodness becomes more hardened in sin day by day. Again, since He is the Spirit of Truth, whosoever faileth by weakness or ignorance may per- haps have some excuse before Ahnighty God; but he who resists the truth through mahce and turns away from it, sins most grievously against the Holy Ghost. In our days this sin has become so frequent that those dark times seem to have come which were foretold by St. Paul, in which men, blinded by the just judgment of God, should take falsehood for truth, and should believe in "the prince of this world," who is a liar and the father thereof, as a teacher of truth: God shall send them the operation of error, to helier>e lying} In the last times some sJiall depart from the faith; giving heed to the spirits of error and the doctrines of devils."^ But since the Holy Ghost, as We have said, dwells in us as in His temple, We must repeat the warning of the Apostle: Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed.^ Nor is it enough to fly from sin; every Christian ought to shine with the splendor of virtue so as to be pleasing to so great and so beneficent a guest: and first of all with chastity and hoU- ness, for chaste and holy things befit the temple. Hence the words of the Apostle: Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you f But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are * — a terrible, indeed, but a just warning.

Lastly, we ought to pray to and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help. The more a man is deficient in wisdom, weak in strength, borne down with trouble, prone to sin, so ought he the more to fly to Him who is the never-ceasing fount of fight, strength, consolation, and hofiness. And chiefly that first requisite of man, the forgiveness of sins, must be sought for from Him: "It is the special character

1 2 Thess. ii. 10. ^ gph. iv. 30.

2 1 Tim. iv. 1. « 1 Cor. iii 16. 17.


438 THE HOLY ^SPIRIT.

of the Holy Ghost that He is the Gift of the Father and the Son. Now the remission of sins is given by the Holy Ghost as by the Gift of God. '! * Concerning this Spirit the words of the hturgy are very expUcit: "For He is the remission of all sins. " ^ How He should be invoked is clearly taught by the Church, who addresses Him in humble supplication, calling upon Him by the sweetest of names: " Come, Father of the poor! Come, Giver of gifts! Come, Light of our hearts! O best of Consolers, sweet Guest of the soul, our refreshment!" ' She earnestly implores Him to wash, heal, water our minds and hearts, and to give us who trust in Him "the merit of virtue, the acquirement of salvation, and joy everlasting." Nor can it be in any way doubted that He will listen to such prayer, since we read the words written by His own in- spiration: The Spirit Himself asketh for ws imth unspeak- able groanings} Lastly, we ought confidently and contin- ually to beg of Him to illuminate us daily more and more with His hght and inflame us with His charity: for, thus inspired with faith and love, we may press onward ear- nestly towards our eternal reward, since He is the pledge of our inheritance?

Such, Venerable Brethren, are the teachings and ex- hortations which We have seen good to utter, in order to stimulate devotion to the Holy Ghost. We have no doubt that, chiefly by means of your zeal and earnestness, they will bear abundant fruit among Christian peoples. We Ourselves shall never in the future fail to labor towards so important an end; and it is even Our intention, in whatever ways may appear suitable, to further cultivate and extend this admirable work of piety. Meanwhile, as two years ago, in Our Letter Provida Matris, We recom-

  • Summ. 111. 3a, q. iii. a. 8, ad 3m.
  • Roman Missal, Tuesday after Pentecost.

3 Hymn, Veni Sanctl Spiritus.

  • Rom. viii. 26.

«Eph. i. 14-


THE HOLY SPIRIT. 439

mended to Catholics special prayers at the Feast of Pente- cost, for the reunion of Christendom, so now We desire to make certain further decrees on the same subject.

Wherefore, We decree and command that throughout the whole Cathohc Church, this year and in every sub- sequent year, a novena shall take place before Whit- Sunday, in all parish churches, and also, if the local or- dinaries think fit, in other churches and oratories. To all who take part in this novena and duly pray for Our intention, We grant for each day an indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines; moreover, a plenary in- dulgence on any of the days of the novena, or on Whit- Sunday itself, or on any day during the octave; provided they shall have received the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and devoutly prayed for Our inten- tion. We will that those who are legitimately prevented from attending the novena, or who are in places where the devotions cannot, in the judgment of the ordinary, be conveniently carried out in church, shall equally enjoy the same benefits, provided they make the novena pri- vately and observe the other conditions. Moreover We are pleased to grant, in perpetuity, from the Treasury of the Church, that whosoever, daily during the octave of Pentecost up to Trinity Sunday inclusive, offer again pubhcly or privately any prayers, according to their devotion, to the Holy Ghost, and satisfy the above con- ditions, shall a second time gain each of the same indul- gences. All these indulgences We also permit to be appUed as suffrages for the souls in purgatory.

And now Our mind and heart turn back to those hopes with which We began, and for the accomplishment of which We earnestly pray, and will continue to pray, to the Holy Ghost. Unite, then. Venerable Brethren, your prayers with Ours, and at your exhortation let all Chris- tian peoples add their prayers also, invoking the powerful and ever-acceptable intercession of the Blessed Virgin. You know well the intimate and wonderful relations


440 THE HOLY SPIRIT.

existing between her and the Holy Ghost, so that she is justly called His spouse. The intercession of the Blessed Virgin was of great avail both in the mystery of the In- carnation and in the coming of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles. May she continue to strengthen our prayers with her suffrages, that, in the midst of all the stress and trouble of the nations, those divine prodigies may be happily revived by the Holy Ghost, which were foretold in the words of David: Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall he created, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth}

As a pledge of divine favor and a testimony of Our affection, Venerable Brethren, to you, to your clergy and people, We gladly impart in the Lord the Apostolic Bene- diction.

»Ps. ciii. 30.